Can I delete 2020 and start fresh with my 2021 resolutions?

Mental Health

A: We wish it could be that simple! Instead of a delete, let’s think of it as a refresh and reboot. As we approach 2021, it is important to reflect, readjust expectations, and reset goals.

📔 REFLECT: Consider why you are making these goals and why they matter to you. For many of us, 2020 challenged us to prioritize what was important. What activities, relationships, and/or daily habits did you keep or let go? What have you learned about yourself over the past year? A useful way to reflect on your 2020 goals may be by reviewing domains: self-care/wellness, family life, social life, relationships, work, and extracurricular activities. Your goals should reflect 2020 you rather than 2019 you, include your process of attaining them, and explain what you expect to achieve from your goals. When assessing these domains, be gentle and kind with yourself just as you would be to a dear friend. Remember that we can reflect and acknowledge what went well/what didn’t without being harsh on ourselves. And on the positive side, remember what you did well. What coping skills did you bring on board? Write these strategies down! What worked before can work again. No need to reinvent these skills in 2021.

➡️Example: I did a nice job of prioritizing sleep and that made me feel better. Great! I will carry that forward in 2021.

📏 READJUST EXPECTATIONS: Keep it small. NO ONE knows what 2021 will bring. And while we all hope that it is a better year, we can’t predict the future. Focus on the small changes that you can make. Don’t increase your stress by setting unrealistic and impractical goals. Remember the basic framework of 2020 may stay in place (for example: gyms may stay closed). Set small, time limited, measurable goals that are connected to what was important to you in 2020 and will continue to be in 2021.

➡️Example: I will go to the gym every day. Wait! The gym will still be closed. I will exercise at home a few times a week in my pajamas.

⏰ RESET YOUR GOALS: It is also important to think about what is FEASIBLE for 2021. Not being able to achieve your goals from 2020 has nothing to do with your awesomeness as a human being. Just because you can’t get to where you want to go this year, does not mean you cannot continue to make forward progress. Thinking about your goals as all or nothing sets us up for disappointment. Focusing on doing something rather than nothing can really help.

➡️Example: I want to apply to graduate school in 2021. Well, it isn’t in the cards this year, but I could take one class to start to build my skills and prepare me for graduate school.

By reflecting, readjusting expectations, and resetting your goals, you can create more forgiving and achievable goals. And rather than goals, we can think of them as intentions. This allows us to think of achieving these goals on a continuum so that even if we don’t get to them at the end of the year, we continue to move towards them. Of course, reassess your intentions as you go and change if you need to do so. And if you don’t meet them, that is just fine too.

🌈 Finally, we can continue to rely on our wellness basics for the next year: creating structure, fostering connections (even an accountability partner), prioritizing adequate sleep/good nutrition/physical movement, taking mental and physical breaks, and decreasing substance use (https://bit.ly/3mXDUNf). And remember: While we may not have control over the pandemic, there ARE things that we can control.

Stay Safe. Stay Sane. And Stay Well!

With Love,
Those Nerdy Girls

Additional strategies on goal settings for the New Year:


Psychology Today

PBS News Hour

*Keep in mind that these are strategies for setting intentions for the New Year. If you are considering seeking additional guidance and strategies for coping, managing time, or dealing with stress, you may consider integrating support via telehealth to your intentions.

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