I get a new notebook entirely to plan out my goals every year. It’s my bliss to set, track, reflect on, and plan dozens of goals the few days before a new year. Dec. 31 is for partying for some; for me, it’s about sitting down with a notebook, at least five variations of my favorite pen, and a whole lot of time to myself.
But in 2021? I didn’t even order a new notebook until Jan. 2, let alone set a single goal.
2021 already looks different than any year we’ve probably ever experienced. Setting goals when you don’t know what the rest of the month will look like, let alone the year, feels like an impossible task. So, we’re calling 2021 the year of anti-resolutions. Big, lofty goals like “eat healthier” and “get a promotion” and “run a marathon” simply aren’t it.
But if you’re like me, you’re craving the joy and motivation of a new goal. You’re dying to have something to look forward to. So instead of those big goals, we’re sharing simple, easy, and attainable swaps you can make in your daily life. What can you leave behind in 2020 and bring into this year instead?
1. Mindless scrolling
Social media isn’t the devil; I’d be the last person to say that. But when you’re trying to watch The Bachelor with your friend or sitting at the dinner table eating or taking a restful break during the workday, your phone doesn’t also need to be in hand. Being present in those small moments of your day will make you appreciate them even more.
Stop spending your precious evening “getting ahead” on the next day’s work, emailing clients, or catching up on what you couldn’t finish earlier in the day. I’m not saying you have to abandon your to-do list, but you also aren’t helping your clients, your company, or yourself by burning yourself out week after week. Set a time to stop working every night, set an alarm, and do what you can to stick to it.
3. Foods that make you feel “blah”
And I’m not just talking about stereotypical “junk food.” If eating Brussels sprouts makes you feel blah as much as a bag of potato chips, say goodbye! This will take time, and no, it doesn’t have to include an elimination diet, Whole30, or something else that will make you want to throw in the towel a few days in. Instead, make mindful shifts in your diet as you notice foods that simply don’t work with you, or that you just don’t really love. (For me, I’m giving up the idea of falling in love with quinoa “eventually.” It won’t happen, and I’m not wasting time or money on a freaking grain any longer.)
Imagine how much of your time, energy, and focus is spent on overthinking. Playing out scenarios in your head before they happen, reading into situations, going off of feelings instead of facts—it’s doing nothing for you and is a waste of time.
5. Not setting or following boundaries
In 2021, we’re kissing those moments of wondering how we got roped into doing something goodbye. Whether it was working late when you really were looking forward to at-home date night, seeing people even if you didn’t feel safe, talking about your dating life to extended family whose business is nothing of the sort, and simply doing or saying anything you just don’t really want to, setting a boundary and following it will be your saving grace.
6. Exercising because you “need to”
Exercise shouldn’t be a punishment or an item to tick-off your to-do list, and I stand by that if it is, you’re not doing the kind of exercise that you actually enjoy. Viewing exercise and movement as a form of caring and loving yourself will propel your fitness journey far more than following a plan because you ate too much over the holidays or had a “cheat meal” (go ahead and also ditch the idea of “cheat meals” in 2021, please).
1. Enjoying food in the moment
2020 made me realize that I enjoy food so much more when I’m sharing it with friends or family. I enjoy takeout on my living room floor when I’m sharing it with my best friends way more than when I pick it up after a long, stressful day because I “deserve it.” Savor those food-related gatherings and view them as more than just eating a meal. When you’re with friends, pizza isn’t just pizza; it’s a memory. Focus on these moments and make a point to add them to your calendar.
2. Attentively listening and validating
After a year full of struggles for everyone, being able to effectively listen and validate people when they’re sharing something vulnerable is a strong trait. Instead of zoning out on your phone or thinking of how you’ll respond before they’ve even finished a sentence, take a moment to think about what they’re saying, see how you can share that you understand what they’re going through, and then move onto your response. You’ll notice a shift in your friendships, and it’s exactly what you’d expect and hope from others too.
This might seem really straightforward, but it doesn’t have to be only about loving your partner. How can you show more love to your mind, your body, your intellect? What about your career? How can you show love to your friends and family? How can you love yourself spirituality? Showing love is only one way of showing gratitude toward every aspect of your life, and we all know the impacts of cultivating gratitude.
4. Tailored, actionable goals
Telling yourself you’ll “eat healthier this year” is not a goal; it’s basically an empty promise. It’s amazing if you want to eat healthier, but if you actually want to feel like you accomplished something, not get off track easily, or make a habit, you must create highly-tailored action-steps you can take to truly make that goal. Maybe it’s eat a vegetable with every meal for a week. Maybe it’s to finally use up the bag of spinach you bought. Perhaps you’ll research and find a new supplement or daily vitamin to add to your routine. This can be done for every area of your life and basically any goal you can think of, and it’s the true, sure-fire way to actually reach those big goals you have.
5. Learning a new skill
With an indefinite amount of time left spent stuck at home, we could all stand to find something productive to pour our time into that isn’t work, exercise and heath, or endless hours of Netflix. The key to this goal is choosing something and sticking to it rather than deciding you want to take on five new skills and learning a bit about each one and never actually mastering it. Need some ideas? Here are over 20 hobbies you can start right now.
You might think that because we spent the majority of 2020 at home that we’re all super well-rested and ready to take on 2021. Quite the contrary! 2020 was inundated with stress, worry, uncertainty, more stress, so much anger, confusion, seriously more stress—it’s no surprise that many of us feel incredibly spiritless going into this new year. In 2021, shift your focus from these “unprecedented times” and instead on processing all of those negative emotions and how you can properly receive a little relief and rest. Tip #1: journal it out, baby.