The new year is upon us, and it is no longer “The Year 2020.” However, as we are still in the midst of a pandemic, we may find ourselves asking, “How much change can a new year really bring?” It is a common tradition to make New Year’s resolutions to work toward the goal of making and seeing changes we long for. However, different times call for a different approach to traditional New Year’s resolutions.
A nationwide survey asked Americans about their plans for the new year, despite the stress of 2020. The study found that Americans are focusing more on intentions instead of traditional resolutions. Rather than going to the gym more and trying to lose weight, 7 out of 10 people said they will be focusing on learning life skills or setting more practical goals.
In the spirit of making change through intentionality, we can focus on investing in experiences and building relationships. Rather than setting strict deadlines throughout the year and then feeling guilty if our resolutions are not upheld, we can check in with ourselves on our progress and be willing to adjust, when needed.
Here are some ideas of practices to start and continue as we kick of 2021:
- Save money
Financially, the pandemic has left many in a difficult state. Practices such as effective budgeting and choosing to start paying down debt can help to have more financial resources in the future.
Traveling can not only give us a chance to get out of the house, but it can allow us to see and experience more of the world we live in. Though air and overseas travel may be limited, survey respondents plan to take an average of two road trips in the new year.
- Learn a skill
With technological advancement surging in the past decades, and even more in 2020, there are a plethora of resources available to us. Whether taking a virtual cooking class, learning another language, listening to podcasts or audiobooks, there are many ways we can learn how to do something new.
- Experience with people
While spending time with people in person may be less of an option, spending time virtually can allow us to be in community. By scheduling time in advance with people, we can be intentional about establishing and maintaining close relationships with those we care about.
- Choose a positive outlook
We can acknowledge the difficulty of the present circumstances while also choosing to be hopeful for what the new year and the future can bring. We can discuss highs and lows of our week, check in with ourselves and others regarding what is going well and what can improve, and form a habit of expressing thankfulness and practicing gratitude through journaling.
If the year 2020 has taught us anything, it is that there are always things we cannot change, but there are also things we can. We can be intentional in forming new and sustainable habits and practices that allow us to nourish ourselves, deepen our experiences with people, and enrich our lives past the new year.