Lose weight. Get fit. Eat better. Quit smoking. Get a boyfriend. Master the electric guitar. Learn to speak Spanish…sound familiar?
New year’s resolutions are those things we love to hate. On the one hand, is there any better start to a fresh year than with the hope of a “new you”? On the other hand, when the clock strikes midnight, you’re still…well, you (a few glasses of bubbly down). There is no magic transformation.
To make matters more difficult, after the year we’ve all had, few people have the emotional fortitude to kick old, hard habits…especially when they involve cheesecake and “Netflix and chill”.
BUT, we’re not suggesting you develop washboard abs or quit sugar. We’re suggesting a new theme for 2021—new resolutions for a new life, post COVID-19—because we could all do with a bit of a break from the pressure of chronic over-achievement.
And, one thing is for certain: we could all do with a little more of the following…
New Year’s Resolution # 1: Practice compassion and patience…with YOURSELF
One of the things we lack MOST in this life, and yet has a remarkable influence on positive mental health, is a loving internal dialogue. All-too-often, we tend to speak to ourselves without any sensitivity, love, or compassion and we berate and shame ourselves when we fall short of other people. We’ve just emerged from one of the hardest years the world has seen in decades. We’re all struggling in different ways and what you need now more than ever is compassion and patience.
So, when you’re not feeling productive or you fall short of your goals (whether personal or professional), rather than shame and guilt yourself over it, practice that compassion and patience. Cut yourself a break. Forgive yourself. Give yourself permission to do absolutely nothing. Be compassionate. You can always pick up and start over tomorrow, or the next week, or the next month. However long it takes. You’ve got this.
New Year’s Resolution # 2: Be grateful for your body
Another way in which we tend to be so hard and unloving with ourselves is through our body image. We throw ourselves into diets and exercise regimes and when we fall off the wagon, we feel literal guilt, shame, and even self-loathing. But if there’s anything 2020 has taught us, it is to be grateful for good health. So, rather than fixating on your imperfections, be grateful for your body.
Besides, less than 1% of the planet’s population is as ripped as Brad Pitt in Troy or Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman (and they would probably have killed for a cheeseburger during filming).
If you want to create an actionable goal around this resolution, take five minutes—literally just five minutes—a day to think about all the things you like about your body and are grateful for. Recite them to yourself silently or out loud: whatever works for you, and feel the gratitude flooding your body.
I have beautiful skin. I’m grateful for my skin.
I am in good health. I’m grateful for my health.
I have two, strong legs. I’m grateful for the ability to run.
New Year’s Resolution # 3: Get outside more
During the darkest months of the pandemic, after weeks inside and with very little open (like restaurants, cinemas, and gyms), we rediscovered the sublime joy of being in nature. We allowed green back into our lives: oxygen, birdsong, the smell of leaf litter, and the sound of tinkling water, and it fixed something we didn’t even know was broken before. So keep it up. Keep getting out into nature. Keep going on those walks, runs, hikes in the mountains, farmlands, parks, beaches, and more. Nature is so deeply restorative because it is our first and original home.
New Year’s Resolution # 4: Stop comparing your suffering to others
All-too-often, people suppress their emotions because this or that person has it harder than them.
“What right do I have to cry when there are people with so much less or who are suffering so much more than me?”
To that, we say: you are missing the point entirely.
You have a right to feel pain, disappointment, frustration, and sadness. 2020 Has been so incredibly painful, even if your home and health situation was, by comparison, pretty good. It has still been a traumatic year and you have every right to have a good cry if you need to.
By the same token, don’t ever shame anyone else out of his or her emotions by comparing their suffering to Joe Soap’s. Allow the people around you to grieve as and when they need to. Feelings are there to be felt. Once they are felt, they can be safely and healthily filed away.
New Year’s Resolution # 5: Redefine your heroes
Real life super heroes don’t wear colourful spandex or expensive Italian business suits. They wear Mr Price clothing, blue hospital scrubs, and delivery overalls.
This has been one of the key lessons 2020 taught us: society’s (and the world’s) greatest heroes were the front-line workers breaking their backs to keep us safe, heal us, and send the sick back home safely to their families. They were the nurses, the emergency responders, the deliverymen and women keeping grocery store shelves stocked, and the essential business staff who came to work every day, even when the rest of us sought shelter in our homes.
They were the scientists working around the clock to develop a vaccine; the people who volunteered to take the vaccine in its experimental stages; and the logistics people who are hard at work distributing and deploying that vaccine around the world.
2020 Showed us a whole house of new (real) heroes and exposed the house-of-cards heroes we foolishly worshipped before…the politicians and the rich who didn’t even put a cent on the line, never mind their own lives, to save people.
New Year’s Resolution # 6: Be grateful for the lessons COVID-19 taught us
COVID-19 and the million-plus lives it claimed will have been in vain if we did not recognise and learn from the lessons it taught us:
- Humankind is frail alone, yet powerful when united in a common cause.
- Black, white, Asian, Indian, Latino…we are not each other’s enemy. It took a more sinister enemy than the ones we thought we were fighting to show us that.
- Human connection and time spent in nature is VITAL to good mental health.
- Good mental health is VITAL to overall physical health.
- Society is capable of change: of rapid evolution. We should use that to our advantage in combatting serious issues like systemic racism and the climate crisis.
These are just a few. We’re sure you can think of even more.
So, with these six new year’s resolutions for a new, post-COVID-19 world, it is our most ardent hope that you and your family are able to heal in all the ways you need to heal and that 2021 brings us all much better health and happiness.
From the team here at dk villas, happy New Year!