Chances are that your 2021 New Year’s celebrations looked a lot different than years of the past. At the same time, you likely felt relieved to say goodbye to such a challenging year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. While this time of year is usually full of planning, goals, new year's bucket lists, and resolutions, the pandemic will likely force you to rethink your New Year’s goals in 2021.
In this post, we discuss how to shift your thinking and set realistic goals during this time, based on our work with clients at Center for Shared Insight in Denver, Colorado.
Goals of the past
In past years, New Year’s day often felt like the blank page of a book. It was an opportunity to dream big and set ambitious goals for the new year. Perhaps those goals included a new job, making it to the gym five days a week, making a dream vacation finally come true, buying a home, or even completing a degree or course on a topic you are passionate about. The sky was the limit with New Year’s goals and nothing felt too big to accomplish in one year, from changes in diet to more dramatic changes in life.
Setting realistic goals
This year, simply getting through the challenges of the pandemic could be a realistic and helpful goal. To achieve that, you might consider simpler goals this year — such as keeping a gratitude journal documenting one thing you appreciate each day, or committing to supporting local businesses by ordering takeout from one local restaurant per week. Could you commit to a change, habit, or opportunity to support the local community right around you by doing things like picking up trash or volunteering in other socially distant ways? Since vacations may still be limited in 2021, could you commit to a new activity or area of interest and resolve to read a certain number of books about that topic, or even subscribe to an online master class about something that interests you? Step back and observe what new commitments could truly enrich your life during this time.
If you reflect on the patterns that detract from your happiness, perhaps this year is one for cutting back on things. That could mean limiting your screen time, reducing your scroll time, minimizing Netflix binges, cutting back on your evening wine, minimizing junk food, etc, and perhaps replacing these mindless activities with acts of self care. You don’t have to leave the home for self-care opportunities and they can include anything from a long shower to a walk by yourself around the neighborhood. Busy moms and dads should especially look for opportunities for some quiet time with everyone working and schooling from home during the coronavirus pandemic. That could even mean a long drive in the car with your favorite playlist when the pandemic makes it difficult to identify self-care opportunities. It could also mean that you finally make the time to engage in therapy, which you can now do from the comfort of your home, to help with stress, anxiety, depression, or your relationships.
Give yourself permission to set simpler goals for 2021 than years of the past. Just surviving this new normal is a victory, and setting lofty goals during an unpredictable time will likely lead to disappointment. At Center for Shared Insight in Denver, Colorado, we help clients identify realistic goals during the new year and any other times in life. Changes are possible by setting smaller milestones and realistic expectations -- our team can help you do just that.