It’s that time again: time to put away the old year and plan for the new one. I scouted around the internet to see what’s trending for New Year’s resolutions and found that many experts recommend no resolutions or low-pressure resolutions like “take regular hot baths,” and other fall-off-a-log self-care. 2020 was so tough that no one wants to push their readers over the edge with some resolution suggestions that require hyper-discipline. But over the last nine months I’ve seen surprising mental toughness and adaptability from my clients and the community, and, as good athletic trainers and coaches will tell you, strength plus flexibility is a healthy combination.
We’ve had to follow so many new rules over the last ten months it’s been like a boot camp. We’ve had to adapt new habits to stay healthy, including finding ways to connect to our community, loved ones and therapists with-out traveling and touching. We’ve had to create ways to stay in shape without gyms. We’ve had to budget yet also find ways to support our local businesses without indoor dining or sometimes even in-person shopping. So, a bunch more rules dressed up as resolutions aren’t appealing this year.
Where the old school resolution “Lose 10 pounds,” can add stress during an already stressful time, the resolution chestnut “Get organized,” has a much better chance of success this year. Perhaps you’re one of the many people that really took getting organized seriously during the shelter in place months and can keep building on that success. We will still be spending an inordinate amount of time in our “shelters” again in 2021, at least until spring, so some gentle but specific resolutions around home organization could be oddly easier to achieve than in “normal” years.
Strangely, the current uncertainty around health, the economy and government seems to have given the people I’ve worked with greater definition about how they want their homes to function and what objects they want to live with. I’ve never seen people put things into recycling and donation bags with such decisiveness.
A practically painless 2021 resolution might be, “For every new thing that comes into the home, at least one thing should go out.” This can apply to clothing, books, grooming supplies and make-up, gardening supplies, outdoor furniture and cushions, sheets and towels, dishes and entertaining supplies, etc. After spending so much time at home for ten months, it should be really apparent what you need, love and use and what you don’t.
There are a couple places staying home more means adding things—something I don’t remember ever advocating in a column. For example, if you are methodically creating a home gym, maybe you add a piece of equipment now and then. Your resolution might be, “Create a space or collect the equipment needed to stay in shape indoors and at home when necessary.”
I’m such a workout addict that I’ve wasted money over the years purchasing things for home workouts that haven’t worked out. For example, various jump ropes (my ceiling is not high enough to use indoors), rubber exercise bands (they dig into my skin so I hate using them) and, on the very expensive side, a Pilates reformer (it didn’t give me the results I expected and took up way too much space).
The best ever home gym investment I’ve made: an exercise bike that runs on battery, not electricity. Take that, power outages! Also, a good, thick and sticky yoga mat is something I use every day. Kettle bells are another purchase I haven’t regretted. They are budget friendly, take up very little space and, used properly, they deliver tremendous results.
Another goal or resolution might be to finally line all the drawers in the kitchen or bathroom. While you’re emptying the drawers to clean and line them, you will probably find a lot of things to let go. Items too old or expired (medicines, mascaras and eye shadows, stretched out Ace bandages in the bathroom; spices, vitamins and tea you will never drink in the kitchen) are easy outs.
If you’ve collected too many chop sticks and mini ketchup packets from take out, purge those too. If you feel wasteful, a resolution for 2021 might be, “Don’t take extra napkins, utensils and condiments from take-out restaurants and ask for them not to be included when having food delivered.”
“Waste not, want not,” is a great motto for any year, but might be easier to really experience in a year like 2021. We are coming out of a dark, depressing time and moving toward gradually longer days, warm weather and a vaccine. Resolutions tend to be kept when you have a general finish line or something—like a literal shot in the arm—to look forward to. With just a couple more months of belt-tightening and hope on the horizon it might be easier to reuse, repurpose and recycle.