Susanna Shetley — Several years ago I stopped making traditional resolutions. I noticed a pattern with myself. I would create elaborate resolutions in late December or early January only to fail at them by the end of the first quarter. A resolution felt too firm, too large.
I’m feeling hopeful for 2021. This past year was overwhelming on a lot of fronts, both internally and externally. While the pandemic is still sorting itself out, I’ve made great strides regarding internal conflicts or feelings of restlessness.
My boyfriend and I recently purchased a home together. We have five kids between us so we are now a blended family. Every day is an adventure and a learning experience, but we are enjoying all of it. Our motto is “embrace the chaos.” We also got the kids a puppy for Christmas. He’s an Australian Shepherd. We named him Ringo. We’re all smitten. I’ve never had a puppy, so this is a first for me. I’ve had two babies, though, and a lot of it feels similar.
In saying all that, I feel life is going to be busy and joyous in 2021. Instead of making resolutions, I’ve been inspired by the words of writer Hannah Brencher. Over the next 12 months, she challenges us to the following:
More rhythms, less resolutions.
More reading, less scrolling.
More social, less media.
More celebration, less comparison.
More prayer, less worrying.
More rejoicing, less ruminating.
More purpose, less deadlines.
More moments, less stuff.
Cheers to a new year full of love, laughter, simple pleasures, human connection and most of all, hope.
Jessi Stone — I tend to make the same resolutions every year and never follow through with them, but I think now I know why. I would resolve to lose weight or to stop procrastinating but I never gave myself the proper tools to make it a sustainable goal. You can’t just say, “I’m going to lose weight,” you have to have a plan of action behind it. You have to get specific in your goals — specify how much weight you want to lose and how you plan to do it. It’s also important that you know you’re “big why” behind why you want to lose weight. It’s not enough to just say you want it — you have to have a multitude of compelling reasons you can turn to when your willpower tank is empty and someone offers you that free donut.
It’s not enough to say, “I’m not going to procrastinate anymore” — you have to understand why you procrastinate, find reasons why not procrastinating will improve your life and what steps you’re going to take to be more productive with your time.
I think it would help to stop using the word resolution. It’s so final and immediate, but the truth is starting or quitting a habit is not immediate. It takes time, it takes making mistakes and it takes the ability to continue on even when you mess up. So set goals for 2021 and resolve to make no more resolutions — that’s what I’ll be doing. Here they are:
Get better at intuitive eating
Challenge myself to more difficult hikes
Grow in my meditation and yoga practice
Maintain a healthy life/work balance
Work toward financial stability so I can buy a house
Build our SMN newsletters/social media presence
Prioritize quality time with my husband
Plan for solitude and adventures
It’s a long list for sure, but I will know at the end of 2021 that any progress I’ve made can be considered an accomplishment. Happy New Year!
Hannah McLeod — The roots of the word “emergency” come from the Latin “emergere” meaning to rise up or out. Among the goals and hopes I have for the upcoming year, my intention for 2021 is to take with me all that I have learned and seen in 2020. It has been a messy, sticky year. One full of insight.
In life there are good times and bad, joyful and trying. We make mistakes and destroy pieces of what we’ve built. But all the moments we have lived thus far, that we have experienced until this moment are in the past. They won’t return, ever, and the best we can do is learn from them. Hold the bright parts close and learn from the trials.
In 2020 I have learned not only the importance, but also the pleasure of slowing down and being patient. This doesn’t necessarily mean doing less, or dragging things out. Sometimes quite the opposite. In slowing down busy, everyday life we make time for more elemental tasks. Making different parts of our meals from scratch when you couldn’t previously find the time. Growing your own herbs, spices, vegetables. Learning new songs, reading new books, and discovering unknown hobbies or gifts. I want to hold on to and expand these parts of 2021.
I have learned the value of being part of the whole and of recognizing my impact on the world around me. For me this recognition began with the newly pertinent practice of wearing a mask for the purpose of protecting those around me, rather than for directly protecting myself. As the year wore on this now engrained sentiment helped me realize the importance of attempting to understand the biases (racial or otherwise) in myself and the system I inhabit, and the necessity to actively combat those that are harmful to others. Eventually this led to the question I should have been asking all along, how can I do less and less harm to the world I am a piece of? For the sake of all living things.
It may seem hyperbolic to say that a mask led to these thoughts and efforts. But it doesn’t seem far fetched that a worldwide pandemic could have helped make us all a bit more aware of the world we live in. A bit more intent on doing what we can to help those around us.
For myself, and for our society, I hope we don’t lose sight of the lessons that emerged in 2020. Both the beautiful and the ugly, for they both help grown forward.