Has 2020 Made New Year’s Resolutions Redundant?
The end of the year is usually one of my favourite times – I savour my trip down the aisles of Waterstones where I pick out a new notebook or diary, and the same fluffy pen as previous years. However - COVID looming over us, like the grey cloud it is, stopped me from fulfilling this at the end of 2020. Not only did the pandemic stifle this much-loved personal tradition, but it was also a hinderance as I plotted my 2021 goals.
I’m someone who loves to plan, I consistently write goals and map out every element of my life. From personal goals, to academic – I write lists and I tick off each goal as I complete it. These ticks bring a great feeling of satisfaction. As time passes, my ‘goals’ list gets shorter and my ‘gratitude’ list gets longer – as I achieve the things I strive for whilst simultaneously ensuring I’m both mindful and appreciative of the achievements that have met me. COVID however, threw a lot of my plans for last year out of a window I certainly didn’t open.
2020 was supposed to be the year I spent completing a placement before the final year of my degree. I planned to be in Spain, working as a teaching assistant and sunning it up on beaches in my spare time. I had a perfect Pinterest board and a lot of my year’s goals were contingent to these plans – meaning a lot of my them went uncompleted, at no fault of my own.
This felt like the end of the world at the time, but it forced me to analyse how I measured personal success and if my methods of planning were as useful as I once thought. The pandemic has shown me how unpredictable life is – and whilst I can’t completely abandon my planning ways, I intend to keep this in mind whilst measuring myself this new year. I was certain I couldn’t be alone in my feelings of confusion and partial despair and so I took it upon myself to speak with other women who also see the New Year as a time to realign and prepare. They enlightened me as to how the pandemic impacted their plans and how they plan to tackle 2021.
One of my most warming conversations was with Asia Worgan, 22, who delighted me with stories of how the pandemic brought positivity into her life. She not only got closer with family as a result of moving in with them, but also saw the end of a negative relationship and the start of career development through a promotion. This personal development has inspired her to focus on the same thing in the new year, prioritising “inner growth” and putting “material goals” on the back burner. She plans to have an “if things change” list of goals also, which is an idea I’m going to have to take!
I also spoke with Paan Dannora, who plans to use her usual structured ways in 2021. She upholds many streams to keep her straight, including planners, calendars, vision boards and online documents. Her military methods allow for her to be extremely specific, avoiding the trap of setting those over-ambitious goals that we sometimes make only to realise they’re slightly out of reach. She makes sure to not only plan the goals, but to plan how exactly she will achieve them – a method she started only halfway through 2020 and still found it successful – letting me know that you can change your methods and still see results.
Rachel Gbogbo-Morthy, a 27 year-old from London, graced me with the motivational quote of the year “make lemons out of lemonade”. Her words inspired me to continue to see the silver lining on the grey clouds, she told me how the pandemic changed her perspectives whilst teaching her new things. She learnt how to have fun in new ways and network and do business through new methods – which is something to be thankful for. Whilst Rachel wants structure for her 2021, she welcomes a more relaxed approach – and inspires herself with a personal reminder that “Man can plan, but God establishes his plan so it’s all good”.
Manifestation is a practice I am familiar and comfortable with and Max M let me know she feels the same way. She practices such through journaling and ensures to envision even “the smallest details where she wants to be, physically and emotionally.” Max plans to keep her same practices – allowing herself to focus on caring for herself and “putting less pressure on things that don’t matter” – something I need to ensure to do.
I was also grateful to have been given tips that one woman had taken on board from her therapist. MK has a new method that includes making a pie-chart based on her “ideal self”. This allows her to “visualise her time” and avoid oversetting herself goals and ending up overwhelmed. MK, as I, saw how setting goals with a long time frame can be overly ambitious as it's impossible to predict an entire year’s happenings.
These conversations brought comfort. Seeing that other women are ensuring they’re not so hard on themselves and are embracing new things has inspired me. Although I didn’t get to take my walk through Waterstones – I still plan to welcome a positive feeling for 2021; using some of the tools I’ve learnt from these wonderful women to prepare myself for the next 12 months.
Written by Aaliyah Miller