Well, 2020 is finally coming to a close, and what a year it was. I think I can safely say that most of us will be glad to see it behind us. Traditionally, when a new year begins, it ushers in the sense of renewal and hope. I think we all have hopes that 2021 will bring us better days. A new year offers us a chance to reflect both on the previous year’s memories and what we look forward to in the new one. When we all look forward, we can embrace the possibilities that a new year can bring.
During this time of reflection, many of us tend to take a good hard look at how we lived our lives the previous year and whether we see any room for improvement. It is a time to let go of regrets and look towards the future. When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, any remorse from the previous year is virtually wiped clean, and we all get a clean slate. Enter the New Year’s resolution. Resolutions are, by definition, the act of resolving or determining a course of action—a course of action that, in our minds, will bring improvement and enrichment to our lives. With the best of intentions, we methodically jot down our wishes for the new year, vowing to change our habits and routines for the better. We often resolve to exercise more, spend less, eat healthier, and kick any bad habits, all in pursuit of feeling better about ourselves and living more fulfilling lives.
I am no stranger to the act of creating New Year’s resolutions. Each year I too jot down my goals and ambitions. Often, I am overly ambitious, writing a dozen or so far too lofty goals, making it nearly impossible to fulfill by year’s end. When I realize I didn’t meet all of my expectations, I am filled with disappointment. However, undeterred, I repeat the same process of setting impossible standards for the new year, hoping that somehow this time will be different.
The resolutions I made for 2020 were incredibly disappointing but often failed at no fault of my own. Travel more? Nope. Spend more time with family and friends? Nope. Eat healthier? Comfort foods to relieve stress scratched that one. The pandemic certainly chewed up my 2020 resolutions and unceremoniously spat them out. I was disappointed, but it made me realize that perhaps, regardless of a global pandemic, I set myself up for failure with my broad ambitions.
So, for 2021, I decided to simplify my resolutions to make them more likely, and enjoyable to attain. I tried to focus less on resolutions aiming to create self-improvement and more on those that would provide life enrichment. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult to take “exercise more” and “eat healthier” off the list. It will be challenging to rid those annual resolutions from my mind. I’m certainly not saying that they aren’t worthwhile, honorable ambitions, but, for me, in 2021, I want to go in a different direction.
After much thought and reflection, I have come up with five goals for myself in the new year:
- Be a better advocate. I have many causes that I am passionate about, whether human or animal rights, climate change, or seed diversity. I’ve decided it’s time for me to stand up and advocate for the changes I wish to see in the world. I want to make a difference, even if it is a small one.
- Spend more time in nature. In this fast-paced modern world full of technology and progress, I don’t want to lose my connection with nature. I wish to spend more time outdoors, whether by taking a walk in the woods, sitting by a lake, or being in my garden so that I may unplug and reconnect with the natural world.
- Be kind and compassionate.The saying, “Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes,” comes to mind here. In 2021 I want to make a moral choice to be kind and compassionate, whether that be towards those in the human race, the animal kingdom, or the environment itself.
- Learn and experiment in the garden. This year, my gardening ambitions are to try new varieties that I’ve never grown before, experiment further with saving seeds and be conscientious of planting for pollinators. My hope is also to continue to learn from my garden, as it has so many lessons to teach.
- Do more of what you love. If 2020 has taught me one thing, it is that I shouldn’t take the joys in life for granted. I want to make sure I take plenty of time to do the things that make me happy. Spending time with my family (when it’s safe), reading, cooking, gardening, creating art, and writing are all activities I wish to do more often in the new year. Life is too short, and thistle be the day.
I sincerely hope that in 2021 I will achieve my goals and fulfill my resolutions. I aim to work diligently so that by the end of 2021, I can be proud of what I accomplished when New Year’s Eve arrives. And hopefully, along the way, I will enrich my life. I wish you all the best in achieving your 2021 resolutions, whatever they may be, and I hope you have a very happy and healthy New Year.