New Year's Resolutions
January 11th, 2020
We made it to 2021! To kick off the year, we are discussing New Year's resolutions. Are they helpful? Harmful? Just meh? What New Year's resolutions do we have? Is it even possible to set mental health goals? Enjoy the conversation, and comment what New Year's resolutions you have, if any!
Happy 2021! The world hasn't been more grateful for the coming of a new year in a long while. While I know that the bruises that either sprung up or were uncovered in 2020 won't disappear as we turn this corner, my hope is that we will remain on an uphill track and that the gratitude we feel now never fades.
Everyone spends their New Year’s differently, but the idea of resolutions is always there whether we are fully cognizant of it or not. Even if you've given up on New Year's resolutions, there is a part of you that thinks, "alright, I'm going to do this in 2021," whatever "this" may be.
Do you remember your resolutions from last year? I certainly don't. So much happens in a year, so much that you cannot prepare yourself for. Of course year-long goals set on January 1 easily get left in the dust.
I've been wondering if I should do something different this year, something that could keep my resolutions front and center for longer. This year, I think I will create umbrella goals for myself, but try to create more specific monthly and weekly goals, and even more specific daily goals. A yearly goal of mine is to learn to play the guitar. A monthly goal would look more thematic, such as learn how to play a certain style, a weekly goal would focus on a particular song, and a daily goal might focus on a particular section of that song.
I would say to include some sort of self-care in your resolutions—that way, even far-fetched wishes can become possible. When you keep a balance in your life and pace yourself, you unlock potential you didn't even know you had. (See our last journal post for helpful questions to deduce if something is truly self care!)
So mental health goals… they seem impossible, right? Much of mental health isn't in our control. But like wearing masks and staying six feet apart during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are preventative measures we can take to protect our mental health alongside our physical health. That was cheesy but deal with it aight.
As teenagers, we are constantly learning new things—not just in the classroom, but about ourselves, our friends, our families, the way the world operates, new emotions, millions of things such as these. We’re going to have to constantly create new goals to adapt to what we learn.
But it might be hard for you to come to terms with goals that don’t work out. Maybe you set impossible goals for yourself. Maybe you’ve given up on goal-setting in general.
I am, in general, not a planner; I like to see where the day takes me. It is really difficult to create goals for myself–I see them and think, Things change so quickly… who knows what could happen. This goal might be impossible. What I’ve realized is this: yes, that could be an impossible goal depending on how life shakes out. The key is to make goals and continue growing, but not get too attached to those goals. (I’ll talk about that more when I tell you what my New Year’s resolutions are). I’ll quickly make another point that Shaira has touched on before in a blog post—growth does not mean continued forward motion. It just means continued motion. Not sprinting, but a calm, steady pace.
Even if you aren’t going to set concrete goals this year, take some time to thoroughly reflect on your mental health during 2020. How does it compare to years prior? I have a hunch that for most of us, our mental health was strained more than other years. (I'm really happy for you if it wasn't!) For all of us: what contributed to the times of great mental health for you this year?
Happy new years everyone! I’m so happy and thankful to have survived 2020.
These past couple of weeks have been filled with all nighters and constant stress because of applications but I’m so happy to finally be done!
First of all, I love this journal and am so excited to share my new year's resolutions but I first want to reflect on this past year and emphasize on somethings you wrote.
This past year has been difficult and like you, I barely remember any of the resolutions I made (I don’t even think I made any) I think maybe it's because I set too big of goals/ umbrella goals for myself that were simply unrealistic like I’m going to eat healthier or I’m gonna wake up at 7 and go on a run everyday.
Like you, I hope to create more specific goals that are divided by weeks, months and years. Here are a few of them:
I hope to exercise (run, hike, bike) at least three times a week
I hope I clean up my closet and donate the clothes I don’t use anymore to the unhoused at least once a month
By the end of the year, I want to learn basic Japanese.
These are just some of my goals but these are super realistic and I actually will enjoy doing them.
I also think self-care and mental wellness oriented goals are so important, especially since we are teenagers who have been in a global pandemic and separated from our friends for almost a whole year now.
I think a realistic goal for all of us could be taking a minute out of every hour to just breathe. There's an app on my apple watch that reminds me to breathe at the end of every hour and it may seem stupid but we often get so caught up in life that we forget to just breathe.
A more specific mental health goal for me is to go back to songwriting. I used to write to get my mind off of stuff but at the beginning of 2020, I just lost interest/motivation in a lot of my passions that made me happy. I’m hoping that this year, I can discover new mental wellness activities and get back into what I used to love.
Maybe self care goals aren’t your thing, but like Brooke said, take some time to focus on you and reflect on your mental-wellness this year. What times were tough for you this year? How can you move forward? What things do you love doing? It's important that we tend to ourselves this 2021. Brooke, what are some mental wellness goals you think are good?
First of all, I am so excited that you’re going to learn the basics of Japanese! I’m planning to do the same thing with Italian!
Getting back to songwriting is an awesome self-care goal—it’s something you really enjoy and that can help you recognize and process things you’re feeling deeply. And also giving away your clothes on a regular basis! That’s awesome! It really does make us all feel better to give than to keep, so it’s a win-win situation.
It’s important to realize that breaking bad habits and/or creating new habits is really hard. Your own brain is fighting against you, since it likes to create easy shortcuts for itself. Make one of your resolutions to be patient with yourself. Not apathetic or resistant to growth, but patient.
For me, my outward goals are to learn some Italian, learn to play the guitar, and spend more time with family. I want to sit down with my grandparents throughout the year and ask them to tell me the story of their lives thus far. The inward goals that I have are to be okay with not doing something every moment of the day (basically, resting more), to be present, to open my ears wider to the voices of the oppressed, to be more confident, and to be less afraid to ask for help. At first glance, the last two might seem contradictory, but it takes a certain comfort in your own skill to be vulnerable. You don’t have to try to be superhuman for anyone, including yourself.
I chose “outward” goals that would help revitalize my inner self—not tear me down or expend too much energy—and I encourage you all to do the same. Continue breaking your bigger goals into weekly and/or daily bite-sized pieces, and you might accomplish something you never thought you could! If you take a few steps backward, know that’s normal; it doesn’t mean you’re a failure, and it is a great opportunity to breathe and reflect. Don’t set double standards for yourself that you don’t expect other people to meet. And most importantly, love yourself and others all the way.
Happy new year everyone! If reading more is one of your resolutions (and even if it's not), head on over to the homepage to see the books that we've chosen for the months of January through March. We will be reading Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds and They Called Us Enemy, a graphic novel by George Takei. We hope you enjoy reading them alongside us :)