New York City, NY

4 New Year's Resolutions We Can All Get Behind

Laura Head

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Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

Commentary on the end of 2020 has swept swiftly across the internet. In case you’ve missed it, the general message is thank god it’s over.

Fraught with health worries, racial divides, and environmental concerns, each day of the year seemed to bring new and additive heartbreaks.

Ringing in the New Year has a different sentiment this year: It’s a kind of optimistic harbinger that 2021 will be at least not as terrible as its predecessor was.

I have no expectations that I will wake up tomorrow to a repaired or brighter world. I have no delusions that the clock will strike 12 tonight and our struggles will evaporate. I have no anticipation that 2021 will bring answers for me just by virtue of the fact that it is not 2020.

But what I can say is that usually for me, New Years Day is entirely unremarkable. And that’s because it’s usually followed an entirely unremarkable year. Whether I’ve been teaching or working my masters, winter has tended to blow through, its chill punctuated by a midnight only notable by its streamers and hollers in the street. But from Dec 31 to Jan 1, my life lacks discernment from one year to another.

This last year, I can’t say the same. This last year has been marked with so much trauma and grief, that I hope that this year’s countdown beckons something, anything, a little better than the last one did.

In the spirit of optimism, here are a few New Year’s resolutions that I think we can all get behind to help ourselves into a new and better cycle around the sun.

Be Patient

Unless you’re one of the nation’s centi-billionaires, you’ll likely identify with the experience of having not gotten everything you expected this year.

Personally, I was anticipating a move and a new job this year - Ready to leave New York City after six years this spring, the switch-up would be a foundation on which to build the next phase of life. When March 2020 rolled around though, all bets were off. In the last days of 2020, I’m still in a holding pattern. My life looks just like it did in March. And April. And May. And June...I’m not moving backwards, but I’m certainly not going anywhere new.

Some were looking for new jobs. Some were laying the ground to buy a house (no pun intended). Some were very pregnant, eager to show off their baby-to-be to all of their friends and to the riches of the world. Some were feeling spirited after a long break up, finally ready to get back out there.

Not one of these plans unrolled the way we would have anticipated. Jobs are sparse. Babies are stuck inside. Dating is a laugh and half as we try to slow the curve.

I have to remind myself that there will be a day that life gets back on track. Or, life gets back on a track. But today is not that day. And in the meantime, the best way through is not to push my own agenda, but to simply practice patience.

Practicing patience means swimming with the stream, and not against it. A battle in its own right, it may prove to provide the little solace that we can find these days.

Lean on Your Friends

In February of 2020, I went out for drinks with my friends, lounged on their couches, and snacked across town with them from one restaurant kiosk to another. In March, we laughed on Facetime about how silly it was to be laying low at our parents’ house while the health scare blew over. By April, every day was the same as the last, as I sat miles away, ostracized from not only my friends but from the livelihoods that used to be the basis of our friendships.

Today, it’s true that it’s easy to fall and stay out of touch with pals. But it’s also true that for many of us, our lives are ripe with more rife and turmoil than ever before, and that’s exactly when we need somebody to lean on.

Friends can increase your feelings of belonging and purpose, boost your self-worth, increase your confidence, and fill you with the happiness hormones that make your days brighter and your life worth living.

When things get hard, don’t lean out of your friendships - Go lean in.

Find a New Hobby

Raise your hand if in one of your kitchen cupboards is a sourdough starter kit. Yeah, same.

It’s silly that everyone took the trend as their own personal challenge, but there’s a reason for it, too: We all of a sudden had a lot more time at home. And for many of us, by ourselves.

Time that used to be spent on work, commuting to work, and socializing, has suddenly reappeared in surplus. Without the routine, many of us realized: I never learned a hobby!

But make no mistake, the benefits of practicing a hobby are plenty. Passing time learning piano, training for a marathon, or even making bread can increase your creativity, reduce stress, and in many cases, improve your mental health.

When we’re stuck inside, watching the world around us light on fire, disparage itself through racial tensions, and suffer sky-high rates of COVID-19 infections, we are especially prone to feeling down.

Pursuing a pipedream of a hobby may be the perfect way to give yourself a boost.

Shop Consciously

A lot has gone from bad to worse this year - like the aforementioned CoronaVirus infection rate, the polarization faced by the Black Lives Matter movement, and the destruction of our environment, as manifested by the international wildfires.

And in many cases, it’s easy to feel like what we do in our day-to-day lives has no bearing on the future we’d like to see for ourselves.

So if you’re wanting to make a positive impact, but don’t know how to do it, here’s one solution: Shop consciously.

Shopping consciously can make the difference between bankrolling centi-millionaires and supporting small businesses.

It can make the difference between paying out unethical organizations and allying yourself with black-owned businesses.

Your money determines the future of the production of harmful chemicals and products, and a sustainable eco-friendly market

Want to see an end to the widening inequality gap that’s been exacerbated by COVID? Quit buying stuff on Amazon and start shopping small. Want to see a future with fewer forest-fires? Quit buying synthetics and start buying bamboo-based and reusable products. Want to show your support for black lives? Go buy from them.

#nbholidaycheer

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Passionate educator writing insights on learning, sharing travel thoughts, and whatever else comes to mind. Founder of Heads Up Learning, K-12 educator, blogger, and ☕️ addict.

New York City, NY
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