“No more chocolate.” “No more cigarettes.” “No more alcohol.” “More sex.” “Less sex.” “More gym.” “Spend less money.” “Make more money.” “Study more to make money at all.” “Say ‘No’ more.” “Say ‘Yes’ more.” The list is non-exhaustive, and I haven’t even researched what Google tells to be the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Will this change in 2021? Will our aspirations become entirely different ones? We’ll see, but one thing I know is that we almost all have them; That one thing, or maybe two that bugs the shit out of us. Something we want to change, or perhaps just make a little bit better than last year.
I’m not a fan of the classical New Year’s Resolutions. ‘Why?’ you’re asking? I think they make us unhappier rather than turning us into more content persons. Most people usually set their goals quite high when it comes to things to improve in the following year. Since most of us don’t meet them (Oh, you do? Well, good for you!), we get frustrated, disappointed. I’ve seen plenty of cases where a New Year’s Resolution turned into an even worse, more pronounced habit. Because since we didn’t manage to complete it, we can continue – even more – with what we’ve been doing anyway, right?
It’s like with to-do lists. Ok, probably this is a personality trait and one that is not a strength of mine. Day-week or in short time-planning and management. In my head, my day has 48-hours. You didn’t know? A 24h-day was yesterday. What’s resulting from that is a packed to-do list for every day. Yes, you’ve guessed right, one that I never, but never finish. What happens then is that I get stressed, disappointed, sometimes losing confidence in my ability, because why, WHY didn’t I manage to get things done in time, again? Ok, hey, I’m a smart girl, though – at least that’s what my mom tells me. After several tons of frustrating evenings, I finally realised that all I had to do is to shorten my list. Cut it down to say three instead of six tasks a day, put the remaining ones as a to-do for the next day. And oh wow, I feel even better if I manage to cross off an extra task. As simple as that. Cheating my own brain.
I think it should be the same with New Year’s Resolutions, and I’m guessing that 2021 is the perfect setting for this. Drink less? Whom are we fooling? Exercise more? By spending all day in my sweatpants, I don’t even realise that my pants might get tighter, so forget that. Say ‘No’ more at work? There is no one to talk to besides my cat and the bottle of wine on my sofa table.
So let’s focus more on the essential things – the positive stuff! Covid-19 has shown to many of us how important family and friends, how important social contacts are. How much we might have missed talking more to our loved ones and taking the time to sit down, call them over a glass of wine, and speak for hours. Things we ‘didn’t have time for’ or maybe just thought we couldn’t manage before. Perhaps we realised that traveling the world is an admirable goal, but getting to know our city surroundings or country is as satisfying and probably more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Why didn’t we take more time to follow our passion for playing the guitar, cooking, or dancing? Not because we didn’t have the time for it, but because we didn’t prioritise time for ourselves. Therefore, the goal should not be to learn ‘a new instrument’, ‘how to bake bread’ or ‘finally, really this year to start dancing salsa.’ It should rather be to spend some time on the things we love. If that’s sitting on the couch for 2 hours on a Friday evening, then do that! I want to take the pressure out of many things I do. Not to become less ambitious, but to see more things in perspective, complain less about useless stuff and be happy about what I accomplish. Put more time into spending happy moments with my close ones, rather than being frustrated over exercising too little.
So let me give you a couple of suggestions for the 2021 New Year’s Goals:
- Continue that paced down lifestyle
- Take more time for ourselves
- Take more time for our friends and family
- Appreciate the things we have and the small things in life
- Do more for ourselves
- Prioritise the things we love and pursue our passions more
Ok, this is getting cheesy. You hopefully get my point. Was this article just a way to self-therapize me? Maybe. Maybe it’s also a nudge to get us all to think a bit more realistic, set goals we can reach, and above all, make positive resolutions rather than ones that put pressure on us.