Whether it’s the start of a new year, a birthday, spiritual new beginning, or just the changing seasons, we humans tend to look for opportunities to wipe the proverbial slate clean and start again. For some, that may mean jump-starting an exercise regimen or eating well. For others, it may mean a commitment to spending more quality time with family and friends.

But every year, we look at January 1st as a symbol of a fresh start and a chance to have our “best year yet.” This mindset feels more urgent than ever this year.

2020 was quite an eventful year and the feelings aren’t going to disappear after the bell rings 00 on New Year’s Eve, that’s a fact. But this doesn’t mean you can’t look at the new year as a clean slate, though. In fact, experts say it’s important to look at the new year as a new start and shake off as many of those 2020 vibes as you can. Here is what you can do:

Head in with the lessons 2020 taught you

Instead of focusing on trying to erase 2020, look at it as a year of lessons learned.

We can walk into 2021 and carry over new habits that 2020 thought us.

For example, the pandemic has certainly taught us the value of finding habits that boost our mental health.

To successfully manage all of the unsettling and challenging events of 2020, self-care has never been more important. Try bringing activities you enjoyed in 2020 into the new year, whether that’s zoom yoga classes, journaling, bread baking, limiting the news or talking to a therapist (or all of the above).

Continue to cultivate those habits, and perhaps double down on your commitment to them as a way to make it feel like you’re improving on a skill set.

Examine what isn’t working in your life right now

Try spending some time in the first few days of 2021 reflecting on what didn’t serve you in the past year. This encourages us to look at behaviours and aspects of our lives that aren’t beneficial.

Were there particular relationships, thought patterns or habits that you feel ready to let go of? Write them down and burn the paper as a symbolic gesture to leave those in the past.

Set a positive affirmation to live by

Coming up with new year’s intentions may be challenging to come up with when the future’s so uncertain. This is why I highly recommend you work with a positive affirmation.

Research has shown that affirmations can be positive for self-image and motivation. Ask yourself: “What kind of mindset would carry me through 2021 no matter what happens?” Use the answer to figure out what phrase works for you.

You can even start with one word ― like strong, confident, positive, giving, calm ― and make it into an “I am” statement to create an affirmation. (For example, “I am strong.”)

Make this positive affirmation your password, phone passcode, a sticky note on your mirror, a doodle on your notebook ― anything that keeps you connected and keeps you going.

Set a challenge for yourself

Setting a goal that brings you joy will help ease some of the mental health effects of 2020. So much of 2020 and the pandemic has been out of our control. Finding that goal that you can control, that cannot be derailed by a pandemic, gives you a positive thing to focus on and will help the new year feel like a fresh start.

This year is the perfect time to learn that instrument, shave a minute off your time to run a mile, pick up a paintbrush, start your side hustle or whatever challenge it is that moves you.

Get back to your pre-pandemic routine as much as you can

2020 really shaken things up…everything, including our daily routine. In fact, never have i witnessed the closure of gyms, studios, fitness centres, trail hikes, cafes, restaurants, local stores that brings life to our City etc…absolutely surreal. Whether it was going to the gym after work, weekly happy hours or that cup of coffee on your way into the office, many of these staples were gone and still are gone in so many places.

Routines keep us on track and give us a sense of order and stability. The start of 2021 is an opportunity to revisit those neglected routines. Make a pact to get back to your morning coffee, nighttime skin regimen, fitness goals, journaling, a daily afternoon walk or meditating.

Take back some control in 2021. January 1st is an excellent time to make a fresh start with a scheduled activity that can uplift your health, sanity and is a daily commitment to yourself.

Commit to a resolution that makes you feel good

Forget fad diets, counting steps or quick wellness fixes. For 2021 focus on a practice that makes you feel better ― like committing to getting at least seven hours of sleep every night, meditating for 10 minutes a day or going for a daily walk to get fresh air. These are going to make you feel far more healthy in the long run.

This was a really hard year for many, so going forward focus on nourishment, healing, and restoration rather than a ‘new you’ through countless resolutions.

Take time for yourself

We are in a pandemic and we still will be in a pandemic in 2021, but this does not mean that you cannot have your best year yet.

Carving out a little solitude can make a world of difference. So go ahead—give yourself a break.

We seem to have a complex about busyness in our culture. Most of us do have time in our days that we could devote to simple relaxation, but we convince ourselves that we don’t. It seems there is always something that needs doing, always someone who needs our attention. Unfortunately, we don’t get a lot of support in this culture for doing nothing. If we aren’t accomplishing something, we feel that we’re wasting time.”

By making time for yourself, whether that’s making an appointment with a therapist or blocking off your calendar for 15 minutes. It’s important to limit distractions and use this quiet time to reflect. You have a purpose in life. Commit to making 2021 the year you find out exactly what that purpose is.

Humbled by 2020, hopeful for 2021. 

Live with lightness love and patience,

Happy New Year everyone


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