Hands up who wants to have an AWESOME 2021? You, me and the rest of the world, right? Time to face facts – that is not going to happen by accident. Having an amazing 2021 is totally possible, but it will take focus and effort. Here are 11 easy ways to make 2021 your best year EVER!
The start of a new year is one of my favourite times of year.
Because a new year is stretching out gloriously in front of me, with endless possibilities and the potential to be my most epic year yet. It’s like a brand new notebook: as yet unspoilt and with the potential to be anything I want it to be.
Right now 2021 can be anything you want it to be. 2021 has the potential to be your best year EVER!
But 2021 is not going to be your best year ever by accident! It’s going to take laser focus, quite a bit of effort and some tough decisions.
Because, for most of us, how good or bad 2021 will be is going to be down to the choices we make: the things we say yes to and the things we say not to.
So how about you? What do you want from 2021? Another year of ‘meh’, wasted opportunities and groundhog days? Or your best year yet?
Here are 11 easy ways to make 2021 your best year EVER!
1. Set goals
Starting a new year without setting goals is a little like starting a roadtrip without a map – you might end up somewhere really great or you might end up somewhere really bad, but you are very unlikely to end up where you wanted to be!
Start by closing your eyes and imagining where you want to be by December 2021. Next, open your eyes and write down everything you imagined. Finally, set practical goals to help you get there.
When I talk about setting goals, I don’t mean setting numerical targets like ‘I’m going to have X page views by the end of 2021’ or ‘I’m going to have earned Y in the first 3 months’.
I’m talking about setting PRACTICAL goals – goals that you can actually DO. For example, instead of setting a goal that says, ‘I’m going to have Z new subscribers by June’, set a goal that says ‘I am going to have 6 new opt-in offers on my blog by June’.
You are much more likely to actually do something about practical goals AND as a result much more likely to have your best year EVER.
For help in setting goals for 2021, check out my post on Goal setting for bloggers in 2021 which takes you step by step through the exact process I use to set goals, plan my year for success and create monthly action plans that help me to work steadily towards my goals each and every month.
2. Be realistic
One of the simplest ways to have a terrible year is to try and cram too much into it. I know, because I have done that many times before! I am terribly impatient and want everything to happen yesterday. But little by little I’ve come to understand, that setting 10 realistic goals for my year and achieving all of them is much better than setting 20 goals, busting a gut all year and only achieving 10 of them.
But on the flip side you don’t want to be overly cautious either. A year is a long time and it’s perfectly possible to achieve many of your hopes, dreams and ambitions in that time.
My Goal Setting Method is effective precisely because it helps you walk the tightrope between being too ambitious and not being ambitious enough.
It starts by getting you to dream big – in an ideal world what would you like to have achieved by December 2021? But then you take those dreams and work out what steps you need to put in place to achieve them. Finally you prioritise those goals being realistic about the time you have available.
3. Transform your to do list
What does your to do list look like right now? Is it highly focused and targeted on achieving the things that really matter to you? Or a hotchpotch jumble of all the things you’ve ever thought of, plus all the things someone once said you should do?
If you are like most people, it’s the latter! But this kind of hotchpotch jumble of a list is not going to help you in any way make 2021 your best year yet.
If you genuinely want to have an awesome year, you need to turn your to do list into a tool to make that happen. The best way to do this is to break your goals down into monthly action plans, then break your monthly action plans down into weekly and then daily to do lists.
Breaking your high level goals right down into a specific to do list for each day will help you to stay focused day-to-day on the things that will really make a difference to your blog and which will help genuinely help you get to where you want to be by the end of 2021. And it will help you avoid getting distracted by things which sound like a good idea, but won’t actually contribute to your ultimate goals.
This daily to do list approach will also help to reduce stress. When you feel bombarded by #allthethings you feel you ‘should’ be doing, it will give you the tools to discern which of those things should genuinely be added to your to do list for today, which should be put on a future to do list and which are simply a distraction.
4. Prepare for your week on a Sunday evening
A successful year is really only the product of of 52 successful individual weeks. And the best way to make each week a success? By spending time every Sunday evening planning and preparing for the week ahead.
By taking an hour or two at the weekend to do tasks such as clearing your inbox, checking your calendar, planning your week, doing necessary life admin and tidying your work area, you will make a huge difference to how productive and successful each week is.
And if every week is productive and successful, you can be pretty sure your whole year is going to be AWESOME!
5. Get to grips with SEO
One of the biggest things you can do to ensure 2021 is your best year yet is to get to grips with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Why? Because properly implementing SEO will help you grow your blog fast, save you time and free you from worrying about the latest social media algorithm change (SEO is much less time consuming than social media and much more reliable).
If your ultimate aim is to start making money blogging or grow your blog income, focusing on SEO will help you do that much more quickly and much more reliably than focusing on social media.
Start by getting a full understanding of what SEO is and what you need to do to your blog in order to optimise it for search engines. Then apply that knowledge to your blog, making the changes necessary – such as updating old content, improving your site structure, spending time on keyword research and working on your site speed.
Consider taking an SEO course to keep you accountable and ensure you are doing the right things in the right order!
6. Start treating your blog like a business
If you truly want to see results from your blog in 2021, you need to start treating your blog like a business – even if your blog is only a side hustle right now.
Start by setting your ‘work hours’ and sticking to them whether or not you feel like blogging – just as you would a regular job. Define your niche and make sure you are creating content that you know your audience will love, not just things you want to write about (though if you’ve chosen your niche well, there should be a good deal of overlap between the two!).
Make sure you know exactly what you are working towards and set your blog up to make money – remember success and money will not be the automatic result of hard work. You need to make sure you are doing the right things too!
READ MORE >>> How to treat your blog like a business
7. Set your blog up right to make (more) money
One of the biggest mistakes I see in the blogging world, is the idea that if you just work really hard week in week out writing posts and sharing them all over social media, then eventually the money will come.
Here’s the cold hard truth: writing a blog post each week and sharing it on social media will not mean money will just fall into your lap! You need to decide how your blog will make money and then take steps to turn that into a reality.
If you want to make money from affiliate links, you need to apply to affiliate schemes and write posts specifically designed to encourage your readers to click on your affiliate links and buy those products.
If you want to make money from sponsored posts you need to create a media kit and a work with me page, then be proactive and send pitches to PRs and brands that you want to work with.
Creating and promoting content is, of course, an important part of blogging, but if you want your blog to make money, then you need to make sure you are also working towards that aim and not waiting for some magical email to one day land in your inbox offering you high paying sponsored work or a million dollar book deal!
8. Get your finances in order
If you plan on having a successful 2021 in which your blog makes money, you need to get your blogging finances in order. From the minute you earn your first penny from blogging, you need to register your blog with the tax authorities in your country and start keeping track of your blogging income and expenses. Doing this on a monthly basis will make the job much easier and less stressful!
9. Finally figure out email marketing
One thing I am amazed about is how few bloggers have really got to grips with email marketing. Email marketing is a powerful tool.
Whereas SEO will help you grow your blog traffic, email marketing will help you keep those readers coming back and turn casual readers into raving fans!
Email marketing builds authority and trust. Consequently, having a strong email list is essential if you want to sell products and or services. Most online entrepreneurs find that the majority of their sales come from their email list.
Even if you have no plans for that now, you may change your mind in the future and having a solid email list will give you that option (as it’s certainly not something you can grow overnight!)
10. Get productive!
The truth is, one year is actually a lot of time. If you work on your blog for 20 hours a week, on average, that makes over 1000 hours in one year – double if you work on your blog full time!
Sadly, all too often, that time gets frittered away on time-wasters, daydreaming, just not quite getting down to work, ‘nice to do’ but not essential work and, yes, social media.
But that sad fact is actually a really exciting one, if you flip it on its head! Imagine how much you COULD get done in 2021 if you were MORE PRODUCTIVE? If you wasted less time? If you were more organised and on top of everything?
Now is the ideal time to put measures in practice to improve your productivity. Focusing on productivity will help you get more done in less time on your blog and being more organised and streamlined will make you feel more on top of things and less chaotic.
Improve your productivity by creating a content plan, checking emails and social media less often, focusing on one task at a time (rather than trying to multi-task, which never ends well!), creating process checklists and batching similar work.
READ MORE >>> 10 ways to be a more productive blogger in 2021
11. Take regular time off
If you want to have a truly awesome 2021, make sure you take regular time off from your blog! Time off will, refresh you, inspire you and help guard against blogger burnout!
It’s much better to plan in time off blogging than be forced to take time out because you are ill, stressed or burnt out. Because if you don’t plan in regular time out you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll be forced to take time out through ill health later down the line – something which will almost certainly scupper your plans to make 2021 your best year yet.
With a new year stretching out in front of you, now is the perfect time to plan in some proper breaks into your blogging year.
Likewise, make sure you make time for rest and enough sleep every day. Sleep is actually one of the best productivity tools out there. When your mind and body are refreshed you work more efficiently, you are more inspired, and you get more good work done. All of which will contribute to 2021 being your best year EVER!
- How to start a successful blog in 2021 (plus FREE 7 week plan)
- How to turn your blog into a profitable business in 2021
- How to create a content plan for your blog in 2021
- 14 reasons why your blog is not making money (and how to fix it!)
- 10 ways to be a more productive blogger in 2021