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New Year’s, fresh start. Year in year out it has always seemed that with a new year comes new resolutions. Personally, I have always practised this, being one of those people who weirdly enjoy Mondays for that get-up and go feeling of a new week, and every September excites me with that back to school rush. These are all deemed fresh starts and new beginnings. We can choose when we make them throughout the year, and this choice is more important than ever in 2021.
There is a lot of reasons to be optimistic this New Year, from vaccinations being rolled out to a new president in the White House. But although things are hopefully going to be brighter, we are not at the end of it. Over the past year, we have been confronted with a global pandemic, a revolution against racial injustice and police brutality, and the lives of many vulnerable groups in society have been threatened more so than ever. With all of this disruption comes the inclination to retreat and give up. Resolutions seem rather trivial when placed in this context. However, 2020 also taught us how to bravely adjust to huge changes, in every aspect of our lives. It became a time of reflection and slowing down, albeit many of us struggled to do so in the midst of a global crisis. Now this year is slightly different admittedly, with things changing every day (and thanks to our government every few hours), so taking each day as it comes can often be the best way to stick to resolutions in such unsure times.
Resolutions this year are not to add more pressure to an already complicated time, but to establish goals that could help you feel better. Avoiding unrealistic resolutions is the most important thing. Perhaps if you are struggling with where to begin this year, instead of looking for something to change, celebrate where you are now. Traditional resolutions such as to travel more, spend less money, or become more organised to name a few, seem inappropriate. This year’s resolutions should scrap intentions for the year and should focus on ways you can be better for yourself and those around you. Resolutions are easier to stick to if you think of them in terms of daily routines. Focus on what actions you can take and change in your daily life to have a positive impact. Here are five examples to incorporate new habits whenever you feel ready for a change.
Get outside more– although it may be something you’ve always been told, going out into the fresh air even if for just 10 minutes a day can really help shift your perspective, and more often than not helps you get out of a negative headspace. Particularly with the new year landing us in yet another lockdown, try and set a goal to spend a certain amount of time in the fresh air every day, even if it’s just a few minutes.
Boundaries with your phone– limiting the amount of time on your phone can also clear headspace.
Turning certain apps notifications off can help to reduce the number of times you pick up your phone (I know for me it’s Instagram notifications). Additionally, putting your phone on aeroplane mode for the very last part of your day or trying not to go on it when you first wake up can really help improve how you feel throughout the day.
Stay active– depending on how much activity you already do, start off gently. There are many ways to stay fit and active in lockdown that you can incorporate as often as you want. This could be a walk, run, cycle or some yoga.
Read/ Open your mind more– incorporate reading daily into your routine to get you back into reading again, even if it is just a few pages before you go to sleep. If you’re not a reader, maybe try a podcast or series that pushes your mind and opens it up to learning new things.
Journal/ talk– sharing your feelings is incredibly important. Whether it helps to get them out in a diary and to journal them away or to talk to people close to you, make sure this year more than ever you try and include this in your routine. Especially in times like these talking is the most important resolution there should be. So even if you don’t manage any others, don’t be afraid to reach out.
I think there is a need for resolutions in 2021, particularly now more than ever before. Yet, keep it basic. Don’t be too hard on yourself, last year already did that, go at your own pace. More than anything, enjoy whatever 2021 brings. Maybe incorporating some resolutions and creating structure in your day might be just what you need this year.