How To Move Ahead After a Tough Year

If 2020 could be a word, it would be “unprecedented.” It was a difficult year in about every way imaginable. Life as we knew it got turned upside down, leaving so many worse off and leading us to wonder when (or if) normal life would ever return.

But with the turn of a new year comes newfound hope. Though 2021 may still be gloomy at first, promise lies ahead. If you’re ready to move on but unsure how to approach a fresh start given the many uncertainties that surround us, here are some tips to guide you.

1. Set resolutions wisely.

This applies to the start of every new year, but if you are one to set resolutions for self-improvement, it’s important to set those resolutions up for success. Avoid sweeping statements that don’t include parameters. If your resolution is to spend less time on your phone, then define that more specifically. Perhaps the initial goal should be to set a time limit or not allow yourself to get distracted on your phone while around friends and family. If your resolution is to eat healthy, break it down into what that looks like on a daily basis. Maybe it means eating vegetables for two meals each day or limiting junk food to just a few days per week. Accountability is an important part of goal setting, so tell someone about your resolution early on and ask him or her to check in on your progress.

2. Forgive those who have wronged you.

Starting fresh means giving second chances to those around us. First, identify any unresolved issues with friends and family, then acknowledge that it’s time to make peace and move forward. The turn of a new year is a great time to check in with yourself and heal any relationships that may have been damaged over the past year.

3. Forgive yourself.

The easiest way to drag the past year into the future is to dwell on things you regret. Don’t allow that regret to follow you into the new year. You deserve forgiveness for anything you might have done to wrong yourself or anyone else. You deserve to move forward with a weight lifted so you can start fresh.

4. Let your friends and family know you care.

Some of us may have handled the woes of this year better than others, but you should take the time to acknowledge how much you care about everyone close to you, in case someone needs to hear it. This kind of support will empower your loved ones to tackle the new year confidently and will help you to do the same in turn. Not only will it make people feel good, but it will help strengthen relationships entering a new year.

5. Be of service.

If you feel lucky about how you made it through this year, find a way to give back to those who were not as fortunate. There are so many ways to donate your time or money to help improve the lives of those in need, both in your local area and far away. A little quick research will help you decide what causes you care most about and find ways you can provide assistance in the new year. You will not regret any time you spend helping others.

6. Don’t take anything in life for granted.

If we learned anything from 2020, it’s that everything can be taken from us in an instant. All the things we used to consider part of everyday life became a privilege – practically overnight. Now that we’ve gotten a few of these things back for 2021, be sure to cherish them. Don’t take any day for granted. Don’t take human interaction for granted. Think of the small things you miss most about everyday life and be sure to acknowledge how lucky you are when you get them back.

7. Do something you’ve wanted to do.

We’ve put many of our dreams on hold for a while, and for good reason. When it’s safe to do so, cross something big off your bucket list. We learned this year that nothing is guaranteed, so don’t put off something you want to do – and can do – now.

8. Prioritize yourself in the new year.

This past year was tough for everyone, so don’t get caught up comparing your struggles and feeling undeserving of self-care. Regardless of how 2020 looked for you, it’s important to take the time you need to emerge stronger in the new year. Self-care strategies look different for everyone, so identify what it takes for you to be at your best and strive to give yourself what you need.


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