How did the year go by so quickly?
2021 was definitely one for the history books. A year that began mid-pandemic and the culmination of the Trump Presidency, a 4-year period of strife bookended by the January 6th insurrection. Once Biden was inaugurated and vaccines rolled out, we allowed for small glimmers of hope. Then Hot Vax Summer was in full effect and — for a while — things were looking up.
But now we’re passing into another pandemic year, still firmly stranded in these unprecedented times. When facing such a short term future, how do you make resolutions that count?
You don’t. This year, we’re letting go of the old resolutions that — let’s face it — never served us anyway. In a normal year, the majority of people give up on their resolutions within the first month. And 2022 is already not a normal year.
According to Jungian psychoanalyst James Hollis in The Guardian, we’re used to our habits, routines, and even our self-sabotaging behavior. “No one awakens in the morning, looks in the mirror and says, ‘I think I will repeat my mistakes today’ or, ‘I expect today I will do something stupid, repetitive, regressive and against my best interests. But frequently, this replication of history is precisely what we do.”
It’s too easy to revert to what we know, especially in a time of stress where self-soothing behaviors lose out to self-discipline. And who can blame us? This is a year to rest, to take it easy on ourselves — we’re entering yet another pandemic year battling the strongest variant yet, and things feel more hopeless than ever.
For some, this means the self indulgence will continue. But if the new year fills you with self improvement fervor, don’t waste time making old fashioned resolutions. Most likely, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Instead, people are taking a different approach this year.
According to The Guardian — Jocelyn K Glei — host of the Hurry Slowly podcast says: “Focusing your mind on an imagined future where you’re someone different makes your now-self inevitably ‘less-than.’” Instead, she recommends using the new year to take stock of the preceding year’s achievements and transformations.
Taking time to look back with gratitude is a good practice to keep you from beating yourself up about what you didn’t accomplish. Perfectionism has no place in a pandemic — neither do those six-pack abs you committed going to on January 1st 2020 … and 2021. Reflection is also key for understanding where you are in each area of your life. So if you want to make constructive changes, here’s where to start.
Rather than making restrictive resolutions, a more beneficial way to approach the year is by making intentions that are less goal oriented and more delineated. Rather than vowing to “lose weight” and then dropping this goal because you’ll never hit the gym at 6am every morning, try setting an intention to “move everyday” or “try one new healthy recipe a week.”
By focusing on specific habits that actually improve your day-to-day experience, you can change your life in a series of slow moments, rather than taking on too much at once.
Here are some intentions to replace popular resolutions — and some gift ideas — to help get you started:
Instead of swearing to “Lose Weight,” try daily stretching or doing one home workout a week. This sleek midnight shade yoga mat from Athleta removes any barriers. It’s the perfect tool for your journey to being more active, without being intimidating. It’s versatile enough for at-home videos or studio sessions.
Instead of promising to “Eat Healthier,” try adding one new ingredient, supplement, or recipe to your diet every week or month. Skip the takeout, delivery, and frozen dinners. Step away from the microwave and out of your comfort zone. Check out Performix’s wide range of health foods and supplements — from gummies to protein powders for delicious smoothies.
Instead of pledging to “Save Money,” make an actual plan to examine your spending patterns. It’s time to stop expecting extra dollars to magically show up in your account. Being honest with yourself is the first step in forging a better relationship with money. Meet Cleo — an app that makes personal finances less intimidating while encouraging you to stay on top of your spending. Plus, they have one of the best Instagram accounts in the game!
Instead of vowing to “Stop Impulse Shopping,” you get one splurge a month and no more. By making room for fun spending in your budget, you won’t overspend. One excellent value gift you can give yourself is the Allure Beauty Box. For only $23 dollars a month, you get a subscription to all the latest beauty products at an outstanding price. Plus, if you’re patient enough to delay sampling the products — saving one for every couple of days — you prolong that post-purchase feeling a little longer.
Instead of assuring yourself that you’ll “Get a Beach Body,” just go to the beach in the body you have. Treat yourself to a new swimsuit by MARDA — a sustainable swimwear company from Denmark that’s unparalleled in comfort and style. Pull on a pair of these high-end swim shorts and you’ll feel confident in your skin. Body positivity doesn’t start when you reach your goal weight, it starts when you feel good about how you look, no matter what.
Whether you’re refraining from resolutions this year or merely changing how you approach them, there’s always a more positive way to challenge yourself to be a new and beautiful you.