Better things are on the way. It is a simple mindset, but we all need it after…well, we won’t even mention it, let’s look forward to 2021. Will all of our problems magically disappear like the end of a Disney movie? No, of course not. But a new year offers an opportunity to change something you are in control of, your mindset! Further, there are simple actions you can take that will make you feel better and more hopeful this year. For this reason, we put together a list of 4 ways to start the New Year on a positive note. 

“Here’s wishing you the bluest sky  

And hoping something better comes tomorrow 

Hoping all the verses rhyme 

And the very best of choruses to 

Follow all the doubt and sadness 

I know that better things are on the way
– Ray Davis’ Better Things’ 

Luck plays a part in our happiness. For example, sometimes we get lucky and meet the right person at the right time. But like most things in life, being happy and positive takes effort. Better things are on the way, but don’t sit around and wait for them to arrive. Try out these actions to start the New Year off on a positive note. 

Don’t let your goals get you down 

don't let your goals get you down

We all have goals in life. Some of them are more achievable than others —you’ll probably never quarterback in the NFL, but, hey, you do you. Having goals is a good thing. That said, don’t let your goals become so daunting that it causes stress and anxiety. A goal is a destination, and, as anyone who has taken an impromptu road trip knows, you don’t always reach your destination. So why keep the goal? Well, you might learn something important about yourself along the way or find out you don’t want to achieve that goal after all. 

Where the trouble lies is when you are too hard on yourself for not achieving your goals. As long as you continue to learn and grow as a person, achieving your goals isn’t the end all be all. 

To recap, try viewing your goals as destinations that offer rewards and lessons along the way. 

Reignite your curiosity 

get curious in the new year

One word you should eliminate now from your New Year vocabulary is “bored.” In our opinion, unless you’re stuck waiting at the DMV or held in traffic for hours, you shouldn’t ever feel bored. One way to combat boredom is to replace it with curiosity. Recall when you were a kid, and nearly everything was interesting. Why do you think kids ask so many questions? Moreover, a simple toy could result in hours of fun. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you have to stop being curious about the world. 

Here’s one way to get your curiosity engine humming. Write down a list of things you are interested in on a pad of paper. For example, you could list baking shows, K-pop, Harry Styles, fried food, etc. Now next to it, make a list of things about which you are unfamiliar. For instance, such a plan could include astrophysics, poetry, native plants, etc. Commit to knowing more about those things by the end of the year. Too often, we get set in our ways when it comes to our “interests.” But how can you be sure you’re not interested in native plants if you’ve never learned anything about them? Doing so can make other activities more enjoyable. Just think of how impressed your friends will be next time you go for a walk and identify the Daisy fleabane growing near the trail. 

Give yourself something to look forward to 

something to look forward to in the new year

While odds are we’ll have to continue social distancing for the beginning of 2021, make it more bearable by planning a vacation or other activity for later in the year. Doesn’t a trip sound nice? Sure, it probably won’t be feasible until the summer or fall, but marking “vacation” on your calendar is a win, no matter when it happens. 

Giving yourself something to look forward to shouldn’t be limited to vacations. Find a contest to enter in 2021. For example, choose a low-profile short story contest and commit to writing some prose. Do you have to be the next Katherine Mansfield? Of course not, but it will be a fun process. Moreover, you could sign up for an online class. Whether it’s learning a new language or brushing up on history, a weekly class helps break up the week’s monotony. 

Your birthday is always a highlight of the year, but what about everyone else’s birthdays? Instead of relying on Facebook to remind you last minute that it’s your friend’s bday, commit to putting in more effort. Just think of how much more fun the year will be if you’re looking forward to your friend’s birthdays as much as your own. 

Need to look forward to something more immediate? Treat yourself to something nice online! We recommend shopping at a local business online, so your package gets to you quickly! 

Count your blessings 

count your blessings in the new year

We can all spend the start of 2021 reminiscing about how bad the previous year was, or we could move forward and count our blessings. Look, we understand that it’s hard to stop thinking about what’s going wrong. Such thoughts often creep up when you’re trying to get to sleep. Worrying is part of life, but it doesn’t have to affect other aspects of your life. Whenever you start to worry, take a deep breath, and think of five or more things you are grateful for. To illustrate, you might be thankful for your silly dog or the delicious take-out meal you had for dinner. You can think as big-picture or as simple as you like. 

Counting your blessing before bed or as soon as you wake up will leave you feeling more optimistic, content, and well-rested. As we said, there’s a time and place for worrying; just don’t let it get in the way of being thankful. 


While it sounds cliche this time of the year, we honestly wish you all a very happy New Year. 

Read more on our McKinley Living blog for tips on making 2021 the best year ever.