As we finally say goodbye to 2020 and we look ahead to 2021, we will hopefully adhere to the CDC guidelines and stay home on New Year’s Eve. Nevertheless, on this holiday, we can maintain some traditions, like spending time with those you love, watching holiday programming, toasting the new year at midnight, and yes, making our New Year’s resolutions. Year after year our resolutions were predictably lofty and dramatic – like losing weight, exercising daily, changing jobs, ending relationships, looking for love, going back to school, and so on. This year is different, giving us an opportunity to reevaluate our approach. Nothing is “normal” this year, our resolutions can be more modest than in the past, and still be meaningful.

Our First Resolution

Perhaps our first resolution should be to understand ourselves and our greater position. We are in the midst of weathering a very difficult storm, which has taken its toll in ways that we are aware of and those that remain hidden from our consciousness. Start simply by noticing and feeling satisfied with daily practices. Routine and structure are still important and offer the basis to make changes slowly. Focus on self-care, exercise, and nutrition. Small changes go a long way. You are not alone if you gained weight and lapsed in healthy habits during the pandemic. We hear these concerns from many of our clients. We assure you-the first step to change is acceptance, forgiveness, and understanding of our own imperfections.

Small Changes

Small changes in thought and attitude can be motivating. We may have felt angry, disappointed, sad, and scared during the pandemic. Try to start your day mindfully by allowing yourself to feel joy. Take a moment to feel satisfied with small, quiet, daily practices. Find pleasure from your morning cup of coffee, nature; trees, flowers, a sunny day, the sound of raindrops, fresh laundry. Make a list of people you truly want to see and perhaps reconnect via FaceTime. Use this time of reflection to set aside less meaningful or unhealthy relationships, or take a risk and reach out to those you miss and have neglected. Who nourishes you spiritually, and whom does it give you pleasure to nourish, whether friend or family member? Doing something small for somebody else can make an impact in both your lives.

Shifting Expectations

A shift in our expectations is certainly not easy to achieve, but at this time of uncertainty, it is warranted. It is hard to welcome a new year surrounded by bad news, fear, sadness, illness, and death. But as our sages said: “Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot.” Forgive yourself during this unprecedented time. Try not to be angry or disappointed, but instead, accept this very hard year. Remind yourself this too shall end, and life, as we knew it, will one day return. Despite our discomfort, we grow the most through difficult times. Our new perspectives will hopefully teach us lessons that will enrich our lives for years to come.

You Are Not Alone

If you are spending these days in quiet solitude, try not to get trapped in a spiral of self-pity. You are not alone, but rather a part of a wounded society. In this way, 2020 was a year like no other. It has taught us a collective lesson, that while none of us are above nature, we can still find internal peace with structure, routine, and self-acceptance. While these little changes go a long way if you cannot seem to move forward, speaking to one of us. A professional can direct you towards relief from the stress and anxiety that you are feeling while reassuring you that you are not alone.

You can and should make resolutions on January 1. But adjust your expectations. Attempt to adopt these two most important words in your thoughts: “resilience” that carried you through 2020 and “hope” that will carry you through the first six months of 2021. Once we have been vaccinated, we can apply the meaningful lessons learned, enjoying our greater world with renewed perspective.

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