2020 has been a year for the history books. You probably started this year hopeful and excited about dreams you wanted to bring to life. Sadly, 2020 threw more curveballs our way than we could have predicted and many of us weren’t able to do the things we planned. This could easily put you off of setting January goals in 2021.
While it’s valid to feel this way, don’t give up hope. There are still things you can achieve in the coming year despite the uncertainty of what’s going on around the world. The key is to reflect and think about the lessons this year has taught, before moving into another one.
What key lessons have 2020 taught us as a collective? Here are some you should consider before hitting the restart button on your goals this new year.
Put Self-Care First
In our present-day society, people are always busy. If you’re not busy with career-building, you’re raising kids, or simply trying to get by. This seemingly leaves little time to do things to improve your quality of life like exercising, healthy eating, or simply resting.
When the pandemic ended, all the activities stopped, and it left many of us with nothing but time. This means you had more time to care for yourself. If you utilized that opportunity, you probably witnessed how transformative self-care is. A 2019 study on self-care showed it can improve wellbeing, and lower morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs.
Self-care can give you the tenacity and resilience you need to get through anything that comes your way in 2021. That said, carve out time to look after your physical, emotional, and mental health in the new year.
- Create a personalized self-care list
- Do something kind for yourself first thing in the morning
- Aim for at least one healthy meal a day
- Don’t compromise your sleep
- Honor your needs and don’t ignore them
Invest in Yourself
Simply getting through the pandemic is one of the best things you could have achieved this year. You don’t have to feel guilty for not doing anything extraordinary; it has been a tragic time for millions who lost their income. A recent Pew Research study found one-in-four adults struggled to pay their bills since the coronavirus outbreak began.
On the other hand, it’s been a lucrative season for people who had the energy to invest in themselves. For some, developing skills that could earn them money in high-demand areas was their saving grace.
Skill development and education aren’t the only ways to invest in yourself. It could also mean going to therapy, increasing your self-awareness, or healing childhood trauma.
As the new year approaches, think about areas where you felt lacked this year. Did you find it difficult to show yourself kindness? Could you have secured a source of income if you had certain skills? Write a few ways you can invest in yourself emotionally, mentally, financially, and spiritually.
- Look for a skill development course
- Read a personal development book
- Look for affordable individual or group therapy services
- Develop a consistent skincare/haircare routine
Many of us felt the impact of the pandemic the most because of social distancing. Hugging people, lunch dates, and nights out on the town have become a myth. Worst still, many lost a loved one to COVID-19 with the death rate presently at 333,118 in the United States. If anything, the pandemic has taught us to value relationships and not take quality time with those we love for granted.
Whether the pandemic goes away in 2021, make it a habit to tell your loved ones how you feel about them and spend quality time together. Be it via Zoom or from six feet away, take time out to bond.
- Spend time with friends or family once or twice a month
- Send encouraging texts to loved ones at least once a week
- Give a friend/family member a gift that aligns with their love language
- Make it a habit to say “I love you” before hanging up
Take Care of Your Physical Health
Some parts of the population have been more vulnerable to COVID, making it more deadly to them than others. More specifically, those with pre-existing health issues are hit hard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns those with heart disease, cancer, chronic kidney disease, sickle cell, or severe obesity, are at increased risk of severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. So, it’s so critical that now, more than ever, you take care of your health.
Focus on boosting your immune system by making better health decisions when it comes to food. It’s one of the best preventative methods and a way to keep your body in shape.
- Avoid sugary drinks
- Drink 2 liters or more of water daily
- Snack on nuts like almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, or pistachios
- Consume enough fish
- Fill your plate with leafy greens and veggies
- Exercise 3-4 times a week
Often, we become so preoccupied with the future that we forget to be present. We lose sight of what matters at this moment and miss out on the treasure hidden in the now. This year it was difficult to predict what would happen the next day, so we had to learn to focus on today. Pandemic or not, this is an invaluable lesson worth taking into 2021.
- List 5 things you’re thankful for every day
- Avoid multitasking
- Listen to your body
- Don’t dwell on the past
Prioritize Your Mental Health
It is no surprise that people’s mental health is being negatively affected by the pandemic. Being locked indoors, bombarded with negative news, and isolated from family can have that effect.
A survey by the Centers of Disease Control reported “considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19” from June 24-30 2020.
COVID-19 may be especially tough for those with pre-existing mental health conditions. Imagine suffering from conditions like anxiety or depression and being deprived of social interaction. Daily stressors like financial insecurity, childcare challenges, and the overall uncertainty can cause a mental strain. The only way to survive such tough circumstances is to prioritize your mental health and reach out for help when you need it. You can request an appointment or request information about my therapy services via my website.
- Meditate daily
- Journal about your feelings
- Talk to trusted people when you’re overwhelmed
- Set boundaries to avoid burnout
- Acknowledge your feelings and sit with them
- Ask for help when you’re struggling
- Join online support groups and forums
This hasn’t been the easiest year to get through; for many, it has been the worst of their life. If you look closely, there are many silver linings, and one is that you’re able to read this post today. As you set New Year’s goals, remember to be fluid, and focus on the things that are long-lasting. 2020 taught us all that good health, family, and the relationship you have with yourself should be at the top of your priority list.