New Year’s Day is traditionally a time when we make changes to our lives. From working out and saving money to eating healthier and using time more wisely, there is no shortage of resolutions we make with the intention of improving who we have been and who we want to be.
With the rollercoaster that was 2020 playing havoc with our emotions and lives, everyone is hoping this year will be better. This makes the typical ‘new year, new me’ mantra even more important. If you want to learn how to improve your life in 2021, let us walk you through the steps to live happier and healthier this year and beyond.
What can we do to make 2021 a better year?
Learning how to improve your life doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming. All it takes is simple small steps that modify what you are used to in your daily life.
First, it is important to make an attitude adjustment. Much of the talk we have seen on social media and the news took a “who can I blame” perspective. Current psychological research has shown that the most effective way to cope through hard times, like divorce, mass trauma, and this pandemic, is to ask “what are other possible ways to look at this situation.” It is also valuable to take responsibility for what is my part, i.e., those behaviors that are emotionally motivated.
So, starting a New Year’s resolution isn’t the way to make our life better this year?
The intent behind New Year’s resolutions is self-improvement, which is a great concept. The statistics, however, do not support the end goal because approximately 92% of people who have claimed some type of resolution fail within 4-6 weeks. This is especially true when our resolutions are not specific, worded negatively, or stated in general terms, like losing weight and finding a better job.
What can we do so we are more successful?
Success happens when we make choices that are more achievable. Along with the attitude adjustment, implementing a few key behaviors each day has the ability to increase energy, decrease anxiety and anger reactions, elevate mood, increase focus, and acquire a sense of calmness and recharge. These daily behaviors include:
- Eating a balanced diet,
- Drinking plenty of water,
- Doing a little exercise,
- Spending a few minutes in the sunshine, and
- Spending time with others.
Is there anything else we can do to make 2021 better, especially since we’re all feeling pandemic fatigue and just want to go back to normal?
Hurricane Katrina provided researchers a great opportunity to learn about how families survived the long-term recovery needed to rebuild normal lives while we were experiencing intense emotions about the storm. This is called resiliency (read more about Resiliency). This research identified the actual aspects needed to muscle through really tough times even when our community remains distressed. It is important we…
- incorporate social support, e.g., engaging with our family, friends, and spiritual communities for connection and hope,
- see ourselves as capable to make positive change within our circle,
- be open-minded and curious,
- incorporate a “we” concept to feel a part of something meaningful,
- implement self-care quickly and regularly, and
- identify hopeful and positive meaning within the context of the distressing event.
Want to know more about resiliency?
Watch this video of Susan Harrington, counselor and founder of Maison Vie New Orleans, discussing what you can do to improve your life. You can also contact us to see how we can help guide you through personal counseling sessions.