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6 Realistic New Year’s Resolutions for 2021

2020 changed everything, including our outlook on the year ahead.

By Caitlin Abber

I tend not to put too much stock into astrology, but as a Capricorn with a December 31st birthday, my impulse to make lists and set goals—especially when it comes to New Year’s resolutions—is off the charts. January 1st doesn’t just ring in a new year for the world, but also a new year of life for me, which makes it almost impossible not to think strategically about everything I hope to achieve in the next 12 months. In the past, I’ve set big goals (go to Italy! Have a baby!), as well as small ones (read a book—any book), and I am generally happy to have done so. That said, 2020 has thrown me for a bit of a loop (that’s an understatement), to the point where even the thought of setting the most minor goals—like keeping my pajama drawer organized—feels a little ridiculous. So this year, I’m rethinking the concept of resolutions all together. Instead of making grand plans of self-improvement, I am revisiting all the lessons I learned in 2020 and utilizing those learnings to take some baby steps and celebrate small wins. 

Here’s what I have so far:

Engage in More Mindful Screen Time

Like everyone else, I am very excited to start seeing friends and family again once we’ve all gotten the vaccine. But I know that might take a while, so for now, I’m thinking about how I can make the most of the post-Holiday winter (my least favorite time of year). I have found myself not really taking advantage of downtime, other than for scrolling through Instagram or online shopping, but what else is there to do? In 2021, instead of making the goal of “less screen time,” I’m going to be realistic and instead set the goal of “more mindful screen time” and make a list of movies and TV shows I’ve been meaning to watch. If you have any suggestions, feel free to email me at—I’m all ears and eyes!

Eat More Delicious Food

This one should be easy, right? My family recently relocated to a new city, and I definitely stopped cooking for a while—we were eager to find new favorite takeout spots, and we were also generally exhausted. That’s fine—I feel no guilt about it, and I was happy to support local businesses in a small way. But we’ve definitely fallen into a routine now, ordering from the same 3-5 restaurants we love or cooking the same few things at home. I’m eager to mix it up again, whether that means finally trying the new vegetarian Indian spot in town or pulling out a cookbook I bought a few months ago but haven’t experimented with yet. If I end up eating a little healthier, that would be cool too. But again, we’re in a pandemic, so just being able to regularly feed myself and my family is enough. 

Sleep When the Baby Sleeps (At Least Once a Week)

This is one of those pieces of advice that new parents always roll their eyes at. Sleep when the baby sleeps? Okay, then who is going to do the dishes/take out the dog/reply to emails? I understand the sentiment, but it’s completely unrealistic. However, a nap would be nice. I mean, my baby naps for 3 hours a day! And you know what? I can get to the dishes later. One goal of mine is to relax more and feel less stressed about it. I think this year, we all learned a lot about not being productive. Sometimes, it is more than okay just to do nothing.

Wear Clothes that Make Me Feel Good

We’ve talked a lot about how the pandemic changed the way we dressed. In 2020, we cocooned ourselves in cashmere hugs, found the perfect pants to cure decision fatigue, and embraced the very work-from-home-friendly concept of Power Casual. In 2021, I’m eager to have a closet that makes sense for this new normal, but also makes me feel my best. That means I am going to be pickier about what I spend money on, both for sustainability and for ease of use. I want to wear colors that compliment my skin tone and toss out rules that don’t make sense. For me, it’s all about staying true to myself—and I am someone who likes to get dressed up. I’m not going to let the pandemic take that away from me.

Continue Showing Up, Giving Back, and Moving Forward

2020 exposed glaring inequalities in the U.S., some of which were exacerbated by the toll the pandemic took on individuals and small businesses. Simultaneously, after the killing of George Floyd, we witnessed the largest protests in the history of our country, which created a long-needed dialogue about race and racism. We might be on the precipice of the pandemic’s ending, but a vaccine isn’t going to cure income or racial inequality. So in 2021, I’m going to try to stay focused on being anti-racist, giving where and when I can, and fighting back against going back to “the way things were.” 2021 will be a different year for so many reasons, but it’s on us to make it a good one. 

Go Outside

Not going to lie, this has been a tough one for me. Over the last year, I have taken the “stay home” part of shelter-in-place very seriously. Aside from walking the dog around the block, most days, I do not leave my apartment. But in 2021, the walk around the block needs to get a little longer. Just five more minutes, one more song, another chapter in an audiobook. I’m not looking for a miracle here, just a little more sunshine and fresh air. Wouldn’t that be nice for all of us?


Caitlin Abber

Written By

Caitlin Abber

Caitlin Abber is the Brand Editor at M.M. LaFleur, and an award-winning writer and content creator. Over the last decade she has held senior editorial positions at MTV, Women's Health, Public Radio International, and Bustle, and has bylines at InStyle and

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