2020 Taught Us to Not Take On Too Much Pressure With New Year’s Resolutions

2020 is finally over and with that comes the feeling of a fresh start. The New Year may be arbitrary, but it’s normal to have an extra drive and hope as we tear out the last page of our calendars. Especially with the chaotic year that was 2020 in the rearview mirror, we’re all itching to make sweeping declarations of how much better we’re all going to do this 2021 via New Year’s resolutions. 

However, with all the excitement surrounding the end of 2020, it’s easy to get carried away with absolute and non-negotiable resolutions that’ll result in huge amounts of pressure to completely turn around what 2020 has dealt us.

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on

Just Surviving  

If there’s anything 2020 taught us, it’s that sometimes – and especially when the year has been like a terrifying Black Mirror episode come to life – just taking it day by day is more than enough. It’s taught us that our purpose isn’t to crank out achievement after achievement or reach a certain number of milestones just for the year to be considered not wasted. 

That’s still true for 2021. If you find that your resolutions are filled with things that only serve to make up for “not doing enough” in 2020 or because in 2021 you “no longer have an excuse” to not achieve the goals people expect of you, then maybe you need to take a step back and reevaluate. 

Deciding on resolutions like that which only bring unnecessary pressure and anxiety might even lead you to forget that you still won’t be to blame if you don’t get things together or achieve everything you’re expected to in the next months. Just because it’s the New Year does not mean that everything that plagued us these past 12 months is completely resolved. It’s still a difficult time to live in right now, and if this year all you can do is your best, that’s already something to be proud of. 

young asian female looking at reflection

Go Easy On Yourself

Resolutions can still be great. They’ve helped so many people quit vices, take up fulfilling hobbies, and even strengthen relationships. So, if that’s the kind thing that brings positivity and motivation into your life, then why not? 

But the problem starts when you make resolutions that are unnecessarily hyper-specific and that only end up causing you anxiety and feelings of failure when the ber months come and you haven’t achieved them in the exact way you wanted to yet. 

So, this year, make plans for what you want to achieve and goals you want to strive for. Make resolutions like “I will take better care of my body” or “I will do better to work towards my dream job.” But maybe leave the “If I don’t lose every pound of quarantine weight I’ve gained, I will have failed my resolution” and “If I don’t get this specific job within this year then all my work will have been for nothing” attitudes. Let yourself breathe. 

Detailed resolutions can be more helpful for other people, and that’s great! But if you find that, in the past, it’s only brought you more stress and discouragement, maybe you need to let go a little. After a year of unexpected and unfair things being thrown at us repeatedly and catching us off guard, maybe painting our picture of the new year with broad strokes instead of set-in-stone marks will give us more space to breathe and be kinder to ourselves this 2021.

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