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New Year, New Goals

Written by by JamieCookeryBook.

I think everyone will agree with me when I say that 2020 can’t end soon enough.

At the time of writing, thankfully, there’s not long to go. I hope more than anything else that in 2021 the catastrophic lockdowns and the hysteria will come to a decisive end, and sooner rather than later. Brexit finally happening should be nice, too, as overdue as it is. But when I think about the fresh year, the focus is mostly on what I can improve in my own life, and what I need to focus on to change things for the better.

Most of us have become more atomised as a result of the last ten months, but the silver lining is that we have had more chances to reflect deeply than ever before, and this has led me to think about how to positively improve myself. Here’s the list I came up with. If it helps encourage any of you reading, then I’m glad. On the other hand if you shudder and feel like wallowing in misery for a few more months, nobody could really blame you…

(1) Be a better friend

The psychological impact of this year has been enormous and will doubtlessly reverberate for years to come. It would not come as a surprise if suicide rates skyrocket due to this unprecedented enforced loss of freedom, not to mention the financial insecurities. I haven’t always been a perfect friend, nobody has, but I want to get better at it and maybe lighten the load in some way for others. I’ll be returning messages promptly, listening to worries, and hopefully cheering others up whenever I can.

(2) Physically turn the tables ASAP

It’s a typical new year’s resolution to get fit, but seems more pressing than ever now. If everyone becomes more preoccupied with their physical health as a result of 2020, it actually might not be such a bad thing. I’m keen to turn this in a positive direction, and get fitter than I’ve ever been before. I want the six-pack.

(3) Get productive

When this all started in March, I could feel myself going into a kind of perverse springtime hibernation. When you’re under less pressure to keep up appearances, you let things slide. For me, nothing good has ever come from being lazy when an excuse arises, and I am resolving to make up for the time I’ve wasted by doing more of everything in 2021: working harder, making more money, and doing as much as I can for the causes I care about. There is nothing to be gained from not pushing myself. Whatever I find myself doing in 2021, I will be doing a lot of it.

(4) Think

I’m not making a list of 250 books I need to read in the next 365 days, not that it wouldn’t be a great pursuit. Better than that is to think. Watching discussions online where I have an admitted emotional stake, I’ve found myself tending to jump to conclusions or falling into fallacies in my thinking as a kind of defence when it comes to points of view I disagree with. That’s totally normal of course, but not something that leads to increased wisdom. I will be thinking more in 2021, and giving myself time to really examine opposing points of view. It’s not good enough to know that I “don’t like them”, I want to know why.

(5) Enjoy yourself

In the coming year, I will be making a conscious effort to have as much fun as possible. When every simple pleasure that you have is denied, you appreciate what you’ve lost and you want enjoyment back all the more. 2020 has provided a lot of dark laughs, but I want to experience more smiles that aren’t based on irony or absurdities. Pleasure alone might not be the meaning of life, but you can’t truly live without it.

(6) Network, date and mingle… out there

At this point, meeting new people in real life feels like a half-remembered dream. That has to change next year, and breaking away from the phone and computer can only be a good thing. As great as the Internet is, it’s not the same thing as participating in the 3D world and can never be a full substitute. As introverted as I can be, number (6) might be the most important resolution of all.

(7) Get organised

All of this time indoors, and I’m still barely any more organised than I was back in March. For the sake of less stress, it’s time to declare war on chaos.

(8) Don’t be a pussy

It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, but to think that I’ve had it anywhere near as bad as droves of other people would be ridiculous. The temptation has been to stew in self-pity, but where does that get you? I only ever advance by being resilient, and in many ways it’s the greatest virtue. It’s time to develop that as much as I can.

(9) Do at least one brand new thing

The bland awfulness and sameness of 2020 has been its worst characteristic. Next year, I will be trying at least one major thing that is completely new to me and outside of what would be typical, even if I have to force myself.

(10) Don’t forget 2020

When things get closer to the way they were before Corona, it will be tempting to memoryhole so much of what took place this year. It’s understandable since we don’t like to dwell on negative things, but there will be lessons to take away. I won’t become obsessed, but I won’t forget.

To everyone reading this far, I really hope I’ve given you some positive ideas that make things better for you if you decide on similar goals. Have a great year in 2021 whatever life throws at you.

See the setbacks for the temporary obstacles they are, and if you get thrown off the horse, get right back on.

Happy new year!

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