Forget the old New Year’s resolution. Given that 2020 was one of the most stressful years in modern history, we owe it to ourselves to think small. Meet the new New Year’s resolution—mini, modest, practical, and procurable. Easy, in other words.
CU Denver’s health and psychology experts agree on this point. Amber Long, executive director of Wellness & Recreation Services, gives this advice: “When it comes to setting healthy New Year’s goals, take it easy on yourself. Set small, easily achievable goals and enjoy the feeling of success.”
Athena Y. Baca-Chieza, PsyD, senior instructor and director of the Psychology Clinic, wants people to put the past year in perspective. “We have been sequestered for so long and kept away from our regular active lives; a lot of that is misinterpreted as ‘I’m not doing anything,’ but there’s a reason for this quarantine,” she said. “We weren’t just being inactive and lazy. There was a real purpose behind this year,” she added.
In case you’re in need of some examples of new New Year’s resolutions, here we offer a list based on the easy ethos of 2021.
Easy as Pie
Make a pie. Think of the pie as a metaphor for society. Pre-pandemic you might have ordered a slice and taken a well-lit photo of it for Instagram. Post-pandemic you won’t really care how it looks—you’ll just be excited to share it. “The universe has forced us to stop and not only take care of ourselves; we had to quarantine to take care of each other,” Baca-Chieza said.
It’s a Breeze
Go on a walk. “Instead of saying I’m going to lose 10 pounds, how about I want to take a long walk without a mask on, where I’m taking deep, oxygen-filled breaths?” Baca-Chieza said. Hopefully, the health crisis will be over or considerably minimized in 2021, so taking a maskless walk outside (while still maintaining social distancing) should be a breeze.
Not Rocket Science
Learn something new. Take a class, attend a webinar, or watch a how-to video. Set little goals: learning to say hello in a foreign language as opposed to mastering Ancient Aramaic. “Each small accomplishment creates momentum and adds up to larger success,” Long said. Unless you’re an aerospace engineer, avoid Rocket Science 101.
Have some soup. If something is duck soup, it’s very easy. Nobody really knows the origin of the phrase, but let’s go with it. In 2021, heat up some soup and nourish your body. “If you’re lucky enough to be one of the people whose body works, celebrate what your body can accomplish,” Baca-Chieza said. While you enjoy your soup (duck, chicken noodle, vegetable, or whatnot), say this to yourself: “I have this really healthy body that fights infection, that fights viruses … I want to take better care of that; I can serve my body so it can serve me.”
Piece of Cake
Give someone an unexpected gift. It doesn’t need to be a piece of cake necessarily. “This year has been a continuous series of plans that were cancelled or changed,” Long points out. In 2021, do something unexpected that’s positive to show someone that you value your relationship. The gift can be tangible or intangible, so it fits everyone’s budget.
Enjoy spending time with people, celebrate your body, and revel in your senses—feel the wind, hear the birds (ducks?), taste the decadent dessert, smell the pumpkin pie, see the faces of your loved ones. “Those should be the goals we set for 2021,” Baca-Chieza said. “Goals set out of gratitude, grace, love for ourselves and each other.”