Welcome, 2021. The New Year! For many, this is a time for self-improvement and hope. For most, that sentiment will wear off in the next few weeks. In many ways, the idea of a New Years’ resolution is a construct: we’re not limited to changing our lives once a year. Resolutions and improvements never go out of style and should be an active part of anyone’s lifestyle. With that said, there is something undeniably fun about creating New Years’ resolutions, even if it’s unfathomable to maintain them yearlong. In 2021, following the insane year that was 2020, making memorable, meaningful resolutions may be the key to keeping up with your goals all year long. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list. There are myriad ways to create meaningful resolutions, and this article should simply be the jumping-off point for resolution-makers. Happy 2021!
1. Stay in Touch Obviously, we live in a world where communication never stops. From social media to the news to instant messaging, our lives are dominated by words and information. But how much of it actually matters on a personal level? This 2021, perhaps make a resolution to communicate more with your friends and family, or maybe even the people you’re not usually in touch with! From a simple phone call to FaceTime sessions, staying connected with the people that make you happy can make for more time spent meaningfully. Equally, let 2021 be the year where you don’t communicate with the people who stress you or make you unhappy. Prioritize healthy communication and your own well-being when deciding who to stay in touch with, and go the extra mile to talk to the people who make you feel good.
2. Read More Books
This is a very common resolution, and, unfortunately, one that’s often forgotten. I’ll be the first to admit: it’s hard to carve out time for reading. However, 2021 can be your year to experiment with reading. Try audiobooks, podcast stories, or good ol’ paperback. Read genres in and outside of your comfort zone! Read classics, contemporaries and books written by BIPOC. Expand your literary prowess in any way you can. For competitive readers, consider setting a goal for the number of books you want to read in 2021! Apps like Goodreads and Litsy are great ways to hold yourself accountable for your reading goals. Start small if you can’t commit much time to read! Even a goal as simple as one book a month allows you to read 12 different pieces by the end of 2021.
3. Donate to Activism Organizations
2020 has been a massive year for politics and activism. Why not keep that energy up in 2021? Solidify your commitment to activism by donating whatever you can to an organization of your choosing! It’s worth your while to select an organization you’re passionate about, from BLM to environmental preservation, and commit to learning, amplifying and donating to that cause throughout the year. Through donations, you’re not only helping out a good cause that you love but you’re also supporting a mission to improve the world. That’s pretty meaningful if you ask me. If you’re unfamiliar with activism organizations or you don’t know where to start, do your research! Consider all the things you’re passionate about and how you can help that cause. Research reputable organizations that contribute or assist the cause you care for and see how you can get involved!
4. Volunteer Your Time
Branching off of the previous resolution, volunteering is another great way to get involved in activism if you’re unable to donate. Again, it’s worth your while to find an organization that means a lot to you and research if they need volunteers! Since the pandemic, a lot of volunteer opportunities have gone virtual, meaning you can help out from the comfort of your own home! Additionally, in-person volunteering may still be an option in some areas. Research local opportunities, such as food drives, community centers or even unpaid internships, and apply to get involved!
5. Start That Passion Project If volunteering isn’t your cup of tea, consider spending your free time on a passion project! Be it starting a YouTube channel or knitting a scarf, there’s never going to be a “right” time to start a passion project. As scary as it sounds, starting and figuring it out as you go along is one of the best ways to pursue a big project. By diving straight into something new, you’ll be able to navigate things the way you envisioned them. Plus, spending your time in 2021 building or creating something by yourself from scratch is not only meaningful, but it’s also exciting!
6. Educate Yourself on Current Events and Crises (and do something with that knowledge!)
Of course, there is always a lot going on in the world. Admittedly, there is too much happening at once for any one person to know, and that’s okay. The point of this resolution is to make an effort to stay up to date on current events. Subscribing to world newsletters and following platforms that report on your home country’s news as well as other outlets that report internationally is a great way to keep up with current events. Additionally, podcasts can be a great way to educate yourself on issues that are more specific to a particular community or group. And while educating yourself on matters alone is wonderful, it’s even better to do something with that knowledge. Educate your friends and family members on injustices taking place internationally and locally. Spread the word on social media and encourage your followers to do their own research on the issues you speak up about. Creating awareness for the headlines we see, instead of letting them pass by, is a key way to create change.
7. Declutter This one can be applied in a variety of ways.
Firstly, if you literally have a lot of stuff (clothes, papers, whatever), consider clearing out your space and ridding yourself of the things you no longer need. Donating old clothes (or even selling them and donating the profit to an activism organization!) is an easy way to freshen up your space coming into the New Year. If you’re not someone who needs to declutter their space, this resolution can still work for you! Consider decluttering your life: that’s to say, ridding yourself of the habits and routines that no longer serve you. Reflect on your lifestyle and the way your current workload makes you feel. If there’s something clearly weighing you down and you have the means to cut it out of your life, why not do so? Spend time focusing on your passions and items that make you happy whenever possible.
8. … And Shop Locally!
Should you feel compelled to buy things in 2021, which, naturally, you will consider buying locally! Be it from a homegrown Etsy shop or a literal small business in your area; shopping locally is a great way to give back to creators who will personally benefit from your purchase. Of course, the pandemic has impacted business practices everywhere. Still, local businesses have been impacted especially hard. Look into online alternatives and contactless ways to support the businesses in your area. Scouring Etsy, Instagram, Depop and more are also great ways to find small creators with handcrafted items! https://twitter.com/Etsy/status/1345054733216731139?s=20
9. Self-Care >>>
Another common resolution, self-care is vital to a healthy lifestyle. Take some time away from your screens, pamper yourself with yoga or other opportunities to stretch and calm your body and listen to your intuition. In 2021, practice self-care often, taking breaks and spending time with yourself before doing anything else. It may seem like a waste of time to meditate or indulge in your hobbies, but prioritizing your own comfort and happiness is what’s going to make the rest of the work you have to do easier. Be kind to yourself.
10. Be Forgiving
In my opinion, this is the easiest and most important resolution for 2021. Be forgiving: to yourself, to your family and strangers. Everybody had a hard 2020, and everybody is going to have a hard 2021. Living in the midst of a pandemic is nothing anyone wanted, and for that reason, it’s important to remember compassion in this time. Don’t beat yourself up for not being as productive as you “used to be.” Do not compare yourself to who you were pre-pandemic. Everything has changed so quickly in the past 9 months, and we can’t expect to be unchanged. Live in forgiveness and trust that you’re doing the best given the circumstances you’re in. Trust that others are doing the same.
At this point, it’s unknown what 2021 has in store. Living meaningfully, though, is something that can and should be done, regardless of what happens.
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