Rethinking New Year’s Resolutions

As the calendar turns to a brand New Year, we often begin to think about what we want to change about ourselves. Here are the “normal” New Year’s resolutions.

  • Lose a few pounds (or more than a few)
  • Exercise more (10,000 steps a day)
  • Drink less
  • Stop using drugs (or at least taper off)
  • Go back to church or synagogue (once they return to “normal”)

But as the calendar turns from 2020 to 2021, let’s rethink resolutions. 2020 was a miserable year for many of us. Over 1.71 million people in the world and over 325,000 people in the United States have died from COVID-19. Those huge numbers are unthinkable until we put names to them. My friends Ruth and Joanne died of COVID-19. I’m sure you could add names to this list as well. It is unthinkable how many moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, coaches, teachers, doctors, nurses…the list goes on have died. It is so terribly sad.

So this year as we turn the calendar thankfully from 2020 to 2021, as we prepare to roll up our sleeves and get a vaccination, continue to wear masks, continue to stay 6 feet apart and wash our hands to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” (for 20 seconds)…as we continue to practice this life-saving measures, let’s also make life-changing resolutions.

For 2021, let’s rethink our resolutions. What if we did just one or two of these:

  • Showed compassion even to the person who cuts us off on I-270 (we know their aggression comes from pain.)
  • Live with kindness.
  • Give when you can (If you have an old coat, someone at Goodwill would love to be warm. Mid-Ohio Food Bank would appreciate an hour of your time or a donation.)
  • Share peace (If someone snaps at you, count to 10. Remember, they are hurting. It may not help to snap back.)
  • Be thoughtful. Send a note in your child’s lunchbox; a text to your partner; an old fashion snail mail to your mom or dad. These will make them smile.

We often make resolutions about ourselves. What if, this year, we made them about a kinder world. Kindness and compassion spread quickly. Pay it forward. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to keep these resolutions.

Happy 2021!

Renee Ahern, PhD, MS, MDiv, LPCC-S