Lifestyle Blog

Setting Attainable New Year’s Resolutions (During a Global Pandemic)

Mental Health, Sleep

Rethinking New Year's Resolutions in 2021

Every time January rolls around, many feel compelled to make at least one New Year’s Resolution. This year, however, things look a bit different than usual, which has us wondering, how can we set attainable New Year’s resolutions during a pandemic?

If you haven’t made a resolution yet, you may be onto something. Julie Frumin, LMFT and CHLI Life Balance expert, advises that 2021 might be the year to refrain from making any resolutions at all.  She says, “This is a year where we as individuals, families, and communities need healing. We should be intentional about showing ourselves compassion and grace.”

You may want to reconsider making New Year’s resolutions this year to avoid the pressure of trying to achieve a goal within a specific time frame and instead focus on overall wellness. Here are some things you can do to practice self-care in 2021.

Focus on positive change

There was a lot of negativity in 2020.  As a result, many of us gained weight or doubled down on bad habits during the pandemic. Instead of criticizing yourself for your past actions, focus on making positive changes in 2021.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight or kick a bad habit. The key this year is to keep your mindset positive. For example, if you are trying to cut back on smoking, substitute one cigarette every day with a 15-minute walk, a phone call with a friend, or guided meditation. Think about what you are gaining (more exercise, more time connecting, more stillness and peace) instead of what you are giving up.

Practice gratitude

After enduring 2020, things might seem hopeless. Create a gratitude journal, and write down three things you are grateful for every morning and before bed every night. They can be anything, including breathing, seeing the sunrise, hearing birds chirping, listening to your favorite song, or having a warm home.

Expressing gratitude reminds you of the positive things in your life and can help you find peace, even when things seem dark.

Prioritize sleep

Many people have shifted their sleep patterns over the last year to the point that they no longer get the recommended 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night due to stress, working from home, and fears about the pandemic.

Start shifting your nighttime routine to go to bed at a reasonable time and get enough sleep by morning. If you are going to spend money, invest in things that will help you sleep, like blackout curtains, comfortable pajamas, or a weighted blanket. Being well-rested will give your body the energy it needs to heal and be ready to face whatever comes tomorrow.

Be Kind to Yourself This year (And Always)

In 2020, we all experienced the loss of companionship and community. This year, it’s essential to focus on taking care of yourself. Focusing on wellness instead of trying to achieve an arbitrary goal can lead to greater fulfillment.

Frumin recommends shifting focus this year from fixing our exterior to prioritizing self-compassion, saying that by doing so, “We may just end up making healthier choices when the goal is about being kind to ourselves instead of coming from a place of self-shame.”