New Year's Resolutions Are More Important This Year

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Madison, Wisconsin - The beginning of a new year is usually a time of reflection and for creating resolutions and intentions for the next 12 months.


With thousands of new COVID-19 cases each day, in-person gatherings discouraged, and the vaccine not widely available for months, 2021 is starting off like no other year. However, this shouldn't deter us from making resolutions.


According to UW Health psychologist Shilagh Mirgain, reflecting on our goals for the year ahead will be more important than ever to help us handle whatever the future holds.


"Having New Year's resolutions to focus on and work towards can give us momentum, help keep our health on track, boost our mood and create some memorable and meaningful months ahead," Mirgain says. "Having something concrete to achieve in your daily experience can help activate a sense of control when so much feels outside of our control."


The following are a few tips that Mirgain says can help us start the new year off right:


Reflect and Reset: The new year is an opportunity to reflect on 2020, how you faced COVID-19 challenges, what you've learned along the way, and how you've grown through these experiences. It's an opportunity to reflect on the meaning and trajectory for your life. Explore your core values, what's important to you and your family, and then set goals that reflect your answers. Create a plan that will help you work toward these goals through regular action.


Small and Short-Term: Setting short-term goals that are simple, small, and specific helps make them stick. Resolutions for 2021 should be more short-term than usual. Set small action steps for what you will focus on for the months that remain until everyone is vaccinated. This kind of focus is vital for determining our overall well-being when the pandemic ends. Commit to small daily self-care to keep your health on track, including reducing any negative health habits that may have cropped up during the pandemic.


Explore and Experiment: The roaring twenties, a time of tremendous creativity, came after the Spanish Influenza in 1918, and many experts predict a similar time of creativity and innovation after 2020. As we have had to do without for so many months, we have an opportunity to create resolutions to explore and experiment through trying new experiences. What kind of new experiences, skills or hobbies do you want to work towards? What new ways do you want to connect with people when we can gather in person?


Mindful Moments: 2021 is made up of 525,600 minutes. Instead of focusing on the big picture, try creating "memory maker" moments instead. You can create memory maker moments by bringing your attention into the moment. Take a mindful breath, drop out of your head and into the moment. When feeling anxious or distressed try a simple mindfulness practice of bringing your mind into the here and now. Try a five senses practice – bring your awareness to one thing in your environment using one of your senses (sight, sound, smell, taste or touch) to be here now. Stopping and savoring the moments that make up our life are often the memories that linger and the ones we remember at the end of each year.

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Date Published: 12/30/2020

News tag(s):  shilagh a mirgaincoronavirusdaily update

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