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  • Writer's pictureSarah McDonald

My New Year's Resolutions for 2021

How great are these NYE cookies made by my bestie Nicole!?

Happy New Year's Eve! The end of one year brings the beginning of a new one. A new opportunity to "start fresh", reassess your values, take a temperature of where you're at and set some New Year's resolutions. I have not regularly made New Year's resolutions and when I have they have almost always been focused on losing weight. While I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with making a New Year's resolution to lose weight, I do think there is an issue with a system that encourages us to constantly think that we need to lose weight. In January of 2018, I made a resolution to myself to improve my health. The goal hadn't been focused so much on attaining a smaller body (though of course that is an outcome of losing weight). I had just suffered through a year of pain that was likely caused, in part, by my weight. If I didn't make a change to my health, my body would continue to suffer. Looking back on my resolutions over the years I wish I had been more specific and aimed to eat healthier or move more instead of just aiming to "lose weight." In order for a goal to be successful it needs to be specific and measurable. Setting a New Year's resolution for myself to "lose weight" was such a loaded and complicated goal with so many different working pieces. I was constantly setting myself up for failure from the start.

I think it's pretty safe to say that we are all ready to bid farewell to 2020 and welcome 2021 with open, hopeful arms. 2020 has been a hard year for so many people but I have a lot of gratitude for many things from this past year. Personally, I have been pretty lucky all things considered as I've been able to continue working and have had the option to work safely from home since March. Several of my close friends are front line healthcare workers or teachers and I am so thankful to them for the work they do every day. This year I also met an incredible guy and we have spent the last 9 months building a happy and healthy relationship together. While I am happy to bid 2020 adieu for a lot of reasons, I am also really grateful for some of the amazing things that came along this year. My friend Gabby messaged me the other night, commenting on how happy she was for me and the growth I’ve gone through this past year. I can honestly say that I am leaving 2020 a much happier and healthier version of myself, both physically and mentally.

Goal Setting

I think setting goals is incredibly important. I've seen the positive results that come from setting a goal, focusing my efforts on working towards it, and then accomplishing it. It really is an incredibly fulfilling process. You don't have to create a bullet journal and meticulously plot out your goals for 2021 and beyond but I think the practice of contemplating what's important to you and what you want to strive towards is a really valuable process for anyone. When you set goals, work towards them and see progress, your brain releases dopamine (same thing as when we eat something delicious or have sex). It's literally the best feeling to set a goal and accomplish it. You also start to build more self-efficacy as you demonstrate to yourself that you are capable of following through with your goals. I found this article about goals really useful and it explores why goal setting helps to direct your focus and leads you to success.

Sarah's New Year's Resolutions

1. Start this blog!

You know it's serious blog work bc of the glasses.

This blog was on the top of my list of New Year's resolutions for entering 2021! I have been batting around the idea of how to share my thoughts in a meaningful way for quite a while now but I didn't have the confidence to put myself out there until recently. I did have a mild panic attack about half an hour after sharing my blog for the first time with my Instagram friends and regretted everything but was quickly flooded with the kindest, most supportive messages. There is a lot on my mind after going through such a physical transformation my head is still trying to catch up and I'm looking forward to using this blog space as a way to work out some of these things. I have really leaned on my support system for advice and guidance in getting this blog up and running. Don't be afraid to ask for help! Your friends want to see you succeed and if they don't then they aren't allowed to be part of your support system. I've also started a dedicated notebook where I have made a huge list of post ideas and I have plotted out my January posting schedule.

2. Cook out of my comfort zone

I really like to cook! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I like to play pretend that I'm a Food Network chef by posting step-by-step pictures (that no one asked for) of all the various things that I cook. Recently a friend referred to me as Martha Stewart and I think that might have been the nicest compliment I've ever received. However, I do get into cooking ruts and I find myself making the same cycle of meals over and over. In 2021, I'd like to try and make two different things a month that are outside of my cooking comfort zone. I actually started this a bit early in December when I cooked my very first pork tenderloin and it was DELICIOUS. I plan on going in deep on Pinterest to look for some recipe inspirations. If you have any recommendations for things I should try in the New Year, please drop them in the comments below!

3. Get strong

Walking has been a huge part of my life for the past 9 months. I go for an hour long walk almost everyday. I even bought a new heavy duty winter coat and boots so I could continue to do my daily walks all year round. These walks are really beneficial for my head as much as my body. I struggle a lot with anxiety and spiraling thoughts, which can sometimes become all-consuming. I find that going for a walk really helps to clear my mind and I'm much better at processing thoughts in a productive way when I'm walking rather than having them spiral out of control sitting at home. However, I know that I need to work on building strength after losing a significant amount of weight. My goal for 2021 is to start incorporating more muscle-building activities in my week and do two strength focused activities a week like yoga or Pilates. This goal will likely be the hardest one for me to maintain until it becomes a regular part of my routine. I have always found that doing in-person yoga classes with friends is an instant motivator for me. I'm not just going to work out, I'm also going to hang out with my cool friend (and hey, how about we grab coffee after?) COVID makes this a bit more complicated but if we have learned anything in 2020 it's that almost everything can be made virtual. I plan on staying accountable by inviting friends to virtually work out with me and hopefully we can hold each other accountable that way.

4. Buy a house (...maybe)

My boyfriend and I started looking into buying a house this past fall but the timing didn't feel quite right. We'd like to work on building a stronger down payment and better understand the implications that COVID-19 has on the housing market before we make a big plunge into the biggest purchase of our lives. This is a huge goal and priority of ours for 2021. I'm adding a "maybe" because I'd like to work towards this goal by adding any extra money we have at the end of each month into our down payment and continue to look at the market regularly. This is a big, huge, enormous goal and we might not get it in 2021 (and that's OK) but it's something we really want to work towards next year. We have opened a joint bank account that is specifically dedicated to our down payment and have come up with a manageable savings plan that we can contribute to each month until we find our perfect house.

What New Year's resolutions are you making for 2021? I'd love it if you shared them with me in the comments!


xox Sarah

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