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I think most of us are ready to make 2020 a thing of the past.
So, I’m actually one who likes to set New Year’s resolutions, but I create “resolutions”, goals, intentions, etc., all year long. I love having an active list of goals and accomplishments I want to achieve, and I keep them in view so I work towards them every day. January just means it’s time to revise what I’ve already been working on and add any new ideas that may have come to mind to the list.
If there’s anything to keep in mind when it comes to setting goals, creating new year’s resolutions, or embracing any kind of change, it’s that it’s important to remember to start small and work your way up. How many times have you created resolutions and a year later you were in the same or a similar spot? Or even further from your goal? You told yourself you’ll lose 20 pounds before summer and fit into that bikini, you’ll launch that blog or freelance business, or you’ll find a new job, but it never happened.
People are naturally dreamers and want to set big goals, and while creating big goals is attainable, the way we see them, as these monumental accomplishments, can actually prevent us from reaching the finish line. So, as you’re creating your own list of awesome things you want to do or become in 2021, remember to start small and create achievable goals you can count as small wins towards your bigger, overarching goals.
Ready to make some resolutions? Here are some new year’s resolution ideas for a healthier and happier 2021 that anyone can commit to.
8 easy New Year’s resolutions anyone can commit to in 2021
Have intentional interactions with people on social media.
Social media gets a bad wrap, and a lot of it is deserved. Facebook allows hate groups to proliferate, Instagram has a negative impact on mental health, particularly young women and girls, and social media detox is a thing because people feel the need to escape the negativity. But, even though we hear a lot of bad things about social media, there are a lot of good things about it, too. Apart from breaking news headlines, funny animal videos, and plant TikTok’s, social media can help you grow both personally and professionally. I frequently attribute my blog and all of its related tasks, including social media, to my ability to find work in competitive spaces.
Social media is a powerful tool and should be used responsibly, so taking an intentional or mindful approach when you’re online can help you have a positive digital experience. Curate your friends or following lists so that you’re following people, brands, and pages that encourage you to be a better person or do well for those around you. If you’re a content creator or a business owner, post or create meaningful, authentic content to create value for your audience or readers and build an organic community. When you have genuine exchanges online, you’ll be surprised how much more you can actually enjoy the experience.
Begin a meditation practice.
Speaking of social media, out of the major platforms, I, personally, view Twitter most favorably and like to follow CEO Jack Dorsey. He’s forward-thinking and looking to Africa as the future of tech, and he’s supporting UBI (universal basic income) projects nationwide. He’s also a mindfulness advocate who spends two hours a day on meditation alone.
Dorsey’s not the only one hot on the mindfulness trend. The practice of meditation has tripled since 2012 and is becoming as popular as yoga. Meditation benefits include alleviating anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, improved sleep and mood, and a greater ability to focus on the present.
You don’t have to spend two hours a day meditating to reap the benefits though. The daily recommendation is anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes per day depending on where you are in your practice. If you’re just getting started and finding meditation difficult, you can start with as few as 10 minutes per day, then work your way up from there. I’m a fan of Calm, a meditation app, that features guided meditations to help me get in my daily mindful minutes, but however you choose to meditate is totally up to you.
Incorporate more clean, plant-based foods into your diet.
The evidence of benefits from adding more nutrient-dense, plant-based foods to your diet is too staggering to ignore. We are essentially what we eat; you are either fighting disease or feeding it with every decision you make. While adopting a plant-based diet or vegan lifestyle is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, spend less money on food, and drastically improve your blood numbers, not everyone wants to make such an extreme change. And, thankfully, you don’t have to. Studies have shown that it takes just one day of plant-based or vegan eating a week to make an impact on your health, wallet, and environment. So, start there.
Meatless Mondays is a popular campaign encouraging folks to go sans meat on the first day of the workweek to improve both their health as well as the health of the planet. Try new vegetarian recipes for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner to start the week on a lighter foot… quite literally. You can stick to meatless Mondays or challenge yourself to eat more plant-based meals throughout the week. If you’ve ever wanted to go vegetarian, plant-based, or vegan, this is an excellent way to start.
Read a book for 30 minutes a day.
When it comes to staying fit, we’re quick to think of the physical and not so quick to think of the mental or the mind. Reading has tremendous advantages for your mind and wellbeing overall, and, like mindfulness, it doesn’t take a major time commitment. Just 30 minutes of reading a day can make a difference.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”— Joseph Addison
Reading can help reduce stress, improve your memory and focus, and make you a better writer (an important benefit if you write professionally; this is why a lot of writers read). People who read also live longer. Researchers from Yale University School of Public Health found that those who read books 30 minutes a day lived two years longer than non-readers. So, until we discover the fountain of youth, consider getting reacquainted with your favorite library or bookstore.
The best thing about reading is that you don’t have to read a certain book to reap the benefits. Be it science fiction, romantic suspense, or a title from the latest personal development author, reading is good. Find what you like to read, or want to read, and immerse yourself.
Learn a new skill or get certified in a course on Udemy or Coursera.
A common new year resolution is to learn a new skill. End goals can include transitioning into a new career, asking for a raise at your current job, offering a new service in your business, or becoming a freelancer to make a side income. The reasons for this goal tend to be monetary, but there are a number of reasons why you would actually want to consider learning new tricks that don’t include money.
Apart from keeping you mentally stimulated and opening your mind to new possibilities, it makes you more adaptable as a person and can open the door to new professional opportunities that may not have otherwise been available. The truth is that as long as you keep trying new things, anything is possible.
There are tons of flashy courses out there with expensive price tags. If you’re just getting started, exhaust your free or low budget options first. It’s easy to think that you’ll need certifications or courses on your resume, especially if you don’t have a college or post-graduate degree backing you. What I’ve found, both as a former Human Resources Manager and former job seeker is that as long as you can present yourself professionally and get results, you can provide value, and you don’t need an expensive course or certificate to achieve that.
There are plenty of bloggers and experts giving away a plethora of free information like PDFs, checklists, challenges, and courses both on their websites and on their mailing lists. If you want to spend some money to learn the basics and even get certified in the process, consider joining online academies like Udemy or Coursera.
Respond to text messages, DMs, and/or emails within 24-48 hours.
“Be a better friend” is forever on the list of new years resolutions just like “lose weight”. Despite my pisspoor response rate, I’m actually someone who enjoys social interaction and staying connected with family and friends. I often spend time thinking of ways to be of better service to those around me and how to form new relationships. “Respond to the homies in a timely fashion” would probably be a good place to start.
My personal response record is improving, but it’s still something I struggle with and have to take a mindful approach to on a daily basis. Because this is something I regularly work on, I have some tips and tricks to share that can help you get better at this if it’s a struggle for you, too:
- Respond to quick texts, direct messages, and emails immediately. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but if it was, would we be here? As soon as you see a message come in and you have time and the capacity to respond to it then and there, then go for it. A quick text message, a 5-minute email, or a social media comment that isn’t pulling you from anything is game.
- Add it to your to-do list and get to it later. Yes, I add “respond to text messages” on my to-do list, and I’m beginning to realize that’s not as problematic as I thought it would be. Sometimes you’re in the thick of your work, studies, project, etc., and you don’t want to break your focus. There’s nothing wrong with getting to messages at a later time. Just make sure you actually get to it. 24 hours is ideal but shoot for no more than 48.
Add more activity to your daily routine.
Fitness goals have to be one of the most created new year’s resolutions. We’re fresh off the holiday season where we ate pies, cakes, casseroles, and drank alcohol, nog, and alcoholic nog in abundance. And now reality’s sunk in. Winter pounds and Quarantine 15 are not a cute couple.
While I could throw out a generic “30-60 minutes per day” recommendation, I recently had an intriguing discussion at work around the notion of creating daily practices or fitness practices rather than restricting ourselves in the confinement of routine. A common disadvantage with routines is that they’re so regimented that when we fall off the wagon, it’s hard to hop back on. By creating healthy practices or habits, you’re more likely to continue them should life happen.
With that being said, explore the idea of practicing daily activity when you like, how you like to stay on track to an overall lifestyle change. Some fun ways to mix up your cardio and strength throughout the week include gardening, cleaning (yay!), dancing, barre, and so much more. I work for a fitness company but will be the first to tell you that equipment isn’t the only way to get your body moving. Vary your activity so that you look forward to your new practice.
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Attend virtual networking events.
I had intentions of improving my networking game in 2020. I bought tickets to a convention across the country and everything, but then the pandemic happened. While it looks like the pandemic will have the United States closed for a good chunk of 2021 as well, now is the time to boost your virtual networking game.
First things first, updating your LinkedIn profile is a good first practice. As a former headhunter and current business owner, LinkedIn is one of the first places I look to get an idea of someone’s personal brand, business, or career aspirations.
Do a Google search of some conventions you think you would like to attend. Are you a current or aspiring travel blogger looking to meet fellow bloggers and build connections with tourism brands and destination marketers? Check out Matt Kepnes of Nomadic Matt’s TravelCon (slated to return in 2022). Interested in UX (user experience)? The UX Conference is a good place to start. Black and in tech? AfroTech is where it’s at.
The phrase “your network is your net worth” has never been more relevant. Start building relationships and uncover opportunities you never thought possible.