At the rate 2020 is going, the prospects for getting a fresh start once the new year comes have never been more appealing. You’ve probably lost count of how many times you’ve promised yourself and your friends you’d do all sorts of fun, crazy things once this pandemic is over.
Indeed, the past 12 months have given all of us a chance to slow down and reassess the way we’ve been living our lives. Most of us now realise that we have been approaching life underwhelmingly – a far cry from the wild, adventurous life we dreamed for ourselves when we were younger. Thus, we vow to change our ways post-pandemic.
Here’s the thing, though. Once the pandemic is actually over, the temptation to fall back into our old lives – the one with all its familiar systems and comfortable routines – will be tremendous. Worst case scenario, we forget completely to follow up on all the things we vowed to do once the pandemic is over, just because we’re way too content with getting our old ways back.
10 Important Resolutions That Should Be On Everyone’s List
The only way to make sure our post-pandemic lives will be better than our pre-pandemic years is if we resolve to do things differently this time round. To get you started on the road to the best years of your life, here are 10 important resolutions that should be on everyone’s list for 2021:
1. Give myself time to heal
2020 was a tough one. It’s safe to assume that all of us will be walking out of it with some sort of trauma or newfound anxiety for things that are uncertain about our future.
So the first step we need to take before we can truly leave everything behind is to give ourselves ample time to heal. This means forgiving ourselves for any bad habits we may have formed in order to cope with the pandemic. It also means allowing ourselves to grieve everything we may have lost in 2020 – may it be a loved one or a distant acquaintance who passed on, or even a job we truly loved.
One might even need professional help in the form of a therapist to work through the trauma of 2020. Give yourself enough time and opportunity to heal, and only then can you move forward to the best years of your life.
2. Appreciate my privileges
One of 2020’s biggest revelations is just how much we take some privileges for granted. Getting the chance to go on vacations, getting to see our parents and friends any time we want, or even just the sheer joy of enjoying our meals through taste and smell constitute some of life’s biggest pleasures, that we often overlook when it is readily available for us.
Come 2021 onward, we must resolve to appreciate these privileges by making good use of them every time we can.
3. Practice gratitude
Along with appreciating our privileges, we must also resolve to practice gratitude. Despite everything, 2020 has given us a lot to be thankful for and about, including but not limited to the privileges mentioned in the previous point.
We are grateful for health workers and vaccine developers who still work day and night to minimize our losses in 2020. We are grateful for the jobs and gigs we got to keep. We are grateful for hobbies that keep our minds away from overthinking. We are grateful for the ones who stayed home and the ones who strictly observed health protocols for everyone’s sake.
Finding things to be thankful about regardless of how bad things are at the moment is an understated virtue, and we must continue to practice it in 2021 and beyond.
4. Spend more time with family
Once travel and border restrictions are all lifted, we must resolve to see our families more often. Our parents and siblings won’t be around forever, and we must cherish every moment we can spend with them.
Even for family members who weathered the pandemic under one roof, 2020 made it crystal clear that we don’t spend enough time together. When we all troop back to our old, busy lives, we must dedicate time for family.
5. Be present when out with friends
Likewise, we must resolve to work more proactively on connections we want to keep in this life. 2020 already gave us a taste of what it’s like to not be able to hang out with our friends to our heart’s content. Yet, between Zoom conferences and virtual parties, we have come to learn more about our friends’ personal lives than we ever did when we all hung out, only to mindlessly scroll through our phones when we should have been talking to each other.
Come 2021, we must resolve to actually be present when we’re out with friends. Ditch the mindless scrolling and actually check on how each one is doing. Be mentally present, not just physically there. Truly enjoy each other’s company, because contrary to what one might think, we won’t always have the chance to gather around and just be together.
6. Build an emergency fund
The importance of having an emergency fund to sustain us through unexpected misfortune has never been more glaring than in the year that has just passed. Most of us really had to tighten our belts to get through the pandemic, amid reduced work hours and business opportunities. As a good rule of thumb, make sure to set aside at least three months’ worth of pay for emergencies. This fund should be separate from your investments, and revolving funds. In no instance should emergency funds be utilized for wants or caprices.
If you lose your job or someone in the family is hospitalized, you can tap into this emergency fund instead of falling into debt just to survive such unforeseen circumstances. If, for any reason, you are able to use your emergency fund or a part of it, make sure to replenish the entire amount as soon as you’re capable of doing so.
Resolve to take care of your financial situation when you have the means, so that it can take care of you when things aren’t going so well.
7. Make flexible plans
Planning is great and must not be dispensed with just because life will always throw curveballs our way. But resolve to make flexible, adaptable ones that are open to changes and adjustments along the way. After all, there’s no use sinking into a spiral just because life postponed our plans or otherwise substituted them with other equally exciting opportunities.
This year, we saw travel plans derailed and planned career moves halted. Yet, here we are, surviving despite it all, realizing that life is worth so much more than the value we assign our personal goals.
The plans we set for ourselves must be able to roll with life’s punches. It’s never a straight path to where we want to go. Life is full of delightful detours that may take us longer to get where we want to go, but nevertheless give us amazing stories to tell once we do get to the destination.
8. Live life with more intention
Even as we make flexible plans, the overarching goal for the future must be to live life with more intention. 2020 has been a masterclass in realizing that the time we have on Earth is limited and is thus precious.
For 2021, we must resolve to stop wasting our time doing things that do not help us become the person we want to be by the end of it all. We must likewise stop spending what little time we have with people who do not make us appreciate the gift of life and friendship
In a nutshell, we must live life with more intention, knowing that all our actions impact our future, as well as the future of those whose lives are connected with ours.
9. Establish work-life balance
It may be a harsh lesson, but 2020 did teach us, once and for all, that the same jobs we’ve been breaking our backs doing can actually replace us in a snap. Meanwhile, our actual lives – the one that exist beyond the office’s four corners – are just waiting to be lived. Work is good, as it gives us the means to enjoy life, but that means it is no good if we never get the chance to enjoy the fine life we’re working so hard to achieve.
So come 2021, go ahead and file all those vacation days. Unapologetically turn off your work notifications on weekends. Leave as soon as your official work hours are over, and realize that there is work-life balance to be had, since life can’t be all about working to our wits’ end, without giving ourselves the chance to slow down and smell the flowers.
This brings us to the last important resolution that should be on everyone’s list for 2021:
10. Know when to delay gratification and when to seize the day
Honestly, there’s no way we can give in to all our whims the moment we have them. At the same time, perpetually delaying gratification causes us to miss out on some wonderful things in life that may come our way only once. As mentioned earlier, the key is balance. Come 2021 and beyond, resolve to decide for yourself whether it’s time to seize the day and go on that bank-breaking adventure you’ve always dreamed of having, or if it’s time to keep the dream alive for now as you build your emergency fund first.
The lesson here is that – although we may never have full control over life’s surprises, we do have control over how we respond to them, and how we choose to play along with the end-goal of making our time count.
2021 is just around the corner. Sooner (hopefully) rather than later, this pandemic will be over and we’ll get our lives back. It is now up to us if we’d be happy enough to slip back to our old lives, or to start working towards the lives we’ve always dreamed of having.
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Article by Bella Toledo Edited by Li-ling Ooi