The new year is always a great opportunity to take stock. What made this year special? Challenging? Hopeful? What has emerged as important priorities for the coming year? Where do you hope to be, a year from now?
2020 has been a bear of a year. While we are all eager to see it end, there have also been lessons learned and moments of beauty. I find myself asking different questions this year than usual:
- What have I learned to appreciate, that I never knew was important before?
- Who have I missed the most?
- What negative tendencies came up for me when things got tough?
- What surprise strengths and skills did I learn about myself?
- How am I doing in this moment? What do I need in order to be ok for the coming months?
- In what ways can I support those I love, or the communities around me?
resolutions centered in self love
With the stressors of racial injustice, pandemic and quarantine, economic recession, and a divisive election, you may not feel like your best self at this moment. You may have had less time to exercise or connect with your partner and family. You may not be the best employee or boss. Your body may even look and feel different than a year ago. It would therefore be easy to slip into the habit of making New Year’s resolutions centered around self-shaming: lose that quarantine weight! Eat less junk food! Stop wasting time on my phone when I should be with my kids! A resolution centered around your failings will feel bad every time you think about it, just one more thing stressing you out. A resolution centered around self-love and positivity will be a source of hope and comfort.
Consider, instead, focusing on what you have learned about yourself this year. What were you able to overcome? What have you done well despite all of the challenges? And most importantly, what do you need for the coming year? Build goals around these queries. For example, would you benefit from more walks in nature, to clear your head while also reducing stress through movement? That goal may feel different than I gained too much weight and therefore need to exercise more. Has it felt tough to feel happiness and purpose lately? You could come up with a few activities that might bring more joy, such as reading, crafting, or cooking fun meals. Again, framing this goal as make joyful activities a priority feels very different than do something productive with free time instead of sitting around.
If you are in a place of healing in which you need all the love you can muster, that is nothing to be ashamed of. If you do have some capacity for giving to others, think about what communities you care about. How could you show love for them as well as yourself? You could make a resolution to spend your money in ways that support your values. For example, when you do choose to get takeout or buy something self-indulgent, consider going for the local small businesses who are likely struggling during this time. Perhaps you give to others by improving yourself through taking a class or reading about topics that will make you a better community member or friend.
All this said, if now does not seem like the right time to be setting goals, that’s ok! You may be still struggling with, or processing the challenges of, this year. Though the new year is a good time to set goals, it’s not your only option. Give yourself the time and space to heal before putting too much pressure to look forward.
Remember to appreciate yourself for all of the ways in which you were amazing in 2020. Move forward with love and hope. Here’s to a fresh start 💚