Cheers to 2021 Being a Better Year

And just like that, the year we all couldn’t wait to end has passed.

2020 was indeed tough—for many people, it was far more so than for others. My family has felt the same effects of the restrictions on socializing and traveling that everyone has faced. Rather than spend time in person with our relatives and friends (aside from a few small, social-distanced outdoor outings and some meals at restaurants abiding by state and CDC guidelines this summer), we’ve kept to ourselves. We grappled with our daughter’s high school graduation being something much different and less momentous than what we envisioned. And her first year of college—which she welcomed with anticipation of more independence and new social connections—brought a much less satisfying reality (after two weeks, COVID-19 cases on campus were rising and she opted to move home and finish the semester online).  

Still, we’ve been extremely fortunate.

We’ve stayed healthy, and our friends who have fallen ill from the virus have recovered. Our daughter finished her first semester at college with a 3.8 GPA. My husband’s place of employment is in an industry well-insulated from the pandemic downturn, and my freelance content writing business has continued to thrive.

I don’t take these blessings for granted.

An Opportunity for Reflection

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions. After all, does the calendar page flipping over to expose January of the year ahead make us any more committed to achieving the goals that we’ve pushed to the wayside before? I think not. However, 2020 and the pandemic have allowed more time to pause and consider life, work, and everything that goes with them. That has prompted me to create a list of my intentions for improvements in the new year. Ultimately, I’ve realized that while some things are not in my control, many are. A lot has been going right, and to remain on a positive trajectory, I need to continue to do more of some things and do less of others.

My 30-Point “More and Less” Plan for a Bright, Shiny New Year

Rather than “resolutions,” the below list represents the promises I’ve made to myself for 2021.

  1. Be more present in the moment with my family and friends. (Whether that be via phone and video calls or (let’s hope!) in person.)
  2. Spend less time on Facebook. (Politics, disagreements over wearing  masks…need I say more.)
  3. Spend more time on Babbel. (Before my trip to Italy in late 2019, I used the platform to get some basic knowledge of the Italian language. I’ve recently signed up for an annual subscription to learn Spanish.)
  4. Do less scrolling on social media. (It’s far too easy to spiral out of control down that rabbit hole.)
  5. Do more muting and unfollowing consistently negative and combative people on social media. (Adios, amigos!)
  6. Continue to focus on eating whole foods and invest in quality vitamins and supplements to maximize health. ( I am a loyal fan of the Shaklee brand. I suggest contacting Jennie Weinhold if you want to learn more about them.)
  7. Limit alcoholic beverages to a maximum of two drinks on two days a week. (Or the equivalent of one glass of wine four days a week.)
  8. Drink lots of water. (I always feel and mentally and physically perform better when I drink at least 64 ounces per day.)
  9. Spend less time in the vicinity of my smartphone. (I’m more focused, productive, and content when it’s out of reach.)
  10. Consume more kombucha. (It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Ha, ha! See what I did there? But I enjoy this probiotic, fermented tea drink. Notably, Health-Ade Kombucha Pink Lady Apple, KeVita Master Brew Kombucha Blackberry Hops and Blueberry Basil, and Brew Dr. Kombucha Island Mango.)
  11. Don’t take things personally.
  12. Have more patience. (No easy task, right? But I’ve found that taking a deep breath and giving a moment to process the situation before responding helps diffuse an immediate emotional reaction and allow for a measured, intentional response.)
  13. Show and express more gratitude for and appreciation of the people in my life.
  14. Refrain from jumping to conclusions about people’s intentions. (Less judging, more accepting.)
  15. Make more sleep a priority. (There’s no glory in trying to thrive on minimal amounts. My ideal shut-eye range is between 8.5 and 9 hours. What’s yours?)
  16. Create less self-induced stress by worrying about things out of my control.
  17. Initiate more phone and video calls to check in with family and friends to fill the void of face-to-face interaction.
  18. Find more opportunities to show kindness and give hope to people who are feeling down or struggling.
  19. Watch news broadcasts less. (I’ve learned there’s a fine line between being informed and being indoctrinated.)
  20. Do more Schroth Method. (This specialized form of physical therapy for scoliosis has been a godsend for me since I began practicing it faithfully in May of 2018 with the guidance expertise of Andrea Yaktus at Empower Physical Therapy.)
  21. Suppress negative self-talk.
  22. Stay the course with my cardio and light weights regimen. (As a former amateur competitive bodybuilder, the mandate to stop certain weight-training exercises due to my scoliosis progression was a tough pill to swallow for me. But I’ve learned ways to adapt.)
  23. Avoid interrupting people while they’re talking. (I am guilty of this!)
  24. Continue to practice intermittent fasting and keto-friendly eating. (While many people have complained of putting on the dreaded “COVID 15,” I’ve lost 15 pounds by doing these things and staying true to my exercise regimen.) 
  25. Get annoyed less. (i.e., Don’t let little things derail my attitude. Most people are doing the best they can.)
  26. Don’t obsess about my weight. (Eating restrictions and exercise enthusiasm are a double-edged sword for me. I’m an anorexia survivor, so it’s a struggle to keep healthy intentions from transforming into a self-damaging obsession with exerting control.)
  27. Complain less. (Again, most people are doing the best they can.)
  28. Keep my mind more open to opportunities that may be outside of my comfort zone but ultimately worth taking a chance on.
  29. Explore more ways to provide value to my clients and expand my business’s revenue streams–without overextending myself.
  30. Stop neglecting my blog. (As my work for clients was at an all-time high in 2020, I ignored my own blogging efforts. One might argue that if business has been so good without it, why bother? Well, it’s a matter of committing myself to what I want my blogging clients to commit to. In 2021, I need to get over not always having the “perfect” idea for a captivating long-form article. Small observations and short nuggets of wisdom can be of value, too. With that epiphany, expect to see much more coming your way from this year.)

Forging Ahead into 2021 with Intent

Nothing that I’ve mentioned above is unattainable or too much of a stretch. Still, it will require self-determination and the recognition that no desired results come without effort.

What have you set your sights on accomplishing in 2021? What will you do more or less of?

None of us are strangers to working through adversity after experiencing 2020. If we all apply our newfound resilience to following through on our self-development goals, the year ahead will undoubtedly bring a much-improved experience for all.

Happy New Year to you!

2 comments on “Cheers to 2021 Being a Better Year
  1. Ken Burkholder says:

    Hi Dawn, great list! I wholeheartedly endorse all of it. For myself, I’m trying to bullet-journal and simplify. Thanks for your work in 2020, and here’s to more great Homestead Posts in 2021.

    • Dawn says:

      Thank you, Ken! You are awesome to work with! Love your ideas of bullet-journaling and simplifying — I may have to borrow them! ?

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