2020 really tried us, didn’t it? Whether you lucked out during the pandemic or got shafted the entire time, we can all look forward to 2021 and a chance for a fresh start. I’ve always loved setting goals and resolutions–monthly or even weekly, but the yearly ones are always so fun. It’s great to imagine the kind of life we could be living, though we all know a lot of people fail by making resolutions that aren’t SMART–specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. Saying “get healthy” isn’t a goal, it’s a dream, you know what I mean? 

This year, make some resolutions that will make you a “better” person. We all have different definitions of “better” depending on our belief systems, preferences, current state, etc. For me, being a better person in 2021 looks like doing more volunteer work, setting boundaries so I don’t let people down, clearing out toxicity, and avoiding situations that make me lose my cool. 

If you want to be a “better person” in 2021, pick one of these resolutions, make it SMART, and write it down somewhere you’ll see it every single day! 

Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or food bank once a month

Having a regular volunteer location is setting yourself up for success, and you’ll likely want to go even more! But once a month is a good starting place–you can even try a different place each month. With the pandemic changing so many volunteer opportunities, sit down now and brainstorm places and get on their lists ahead of time to make sure you meet your goals. Soup kitchens and food banks are stretched thin right now and can use your healthy hands. 

Run a charity 5K or marathon

Not only does this get you off the couch and onto your feet, but your donation will help a local charity. Keep an eye on local groups for running or ask around at the soup kitchens or food banks in your area–many of them sponsor runs! Other potential organizers include the United Way, your public library, or local military groups. 

Each Sunday, call someone in your family and catch up

We can all use a bit more healthy communication in our lives. Try taking a short walk each Sunday and using that time to call your parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, whomever. I like to make these calls on walks because there’s a designated “stop” time when you get back home, and it’s always nice to get some fresh air. 

Write letters or postcards to your favorite high school teachers

Another way to communicate–and show gratitude–is to write letters or postcards to your favorite high school teachers or other educational professionals that made a difference in your life. Trust me–they’ll love hearing what you’re up to now! Plus, stamps are pretty cheap, and once schools open back up, you can send them to the school and not worry about getting home addresses. 

Tithe to your preferred religious organization once a month

Tithing is a great way to give back–especially if you’re religious and feel called to do so. Obviously, everyone has different amounts they can contribute, but setting a monthly budget for your tithing is a great way to support your plans. 

Buy Christmas/holiday gifts for someone in need–such as through Angel Tree, etc. 

One great way to help others is during the holiday season–especially Christmas, but perhaps Easter as well! Look at organizations like Angel Tree, local Salvation Army groups, and more, for information about buying gifts for children in need. It’s fun to shop for them and know they’ll have a great Christmas. 

Read an FFL book club pick

Reading books does make you a better person, everyone knows that. Of course, reading itself is great, but why not engage in a bookish community like the FFL book club to read some good books and discuss other books you’re reading with like-minded individuals. It’s a great way to make sure you do actually finish the books you’ve intended to read–even reading one book in 2021 can be a success story!

Sleep with your phone in another room

This is a tough one in the age of phone alarms, but trust me. Science shows you’ll get a better night’s sleep if you aren’t staring at your phone screen until your eyes close and if you’re able to wake up without hitting snooze a dozen times. Try investing in a regular alarm clock or setting the phone on the other side of the room when you crawl into bed. 

Learn and perfect a new favorite recipe–ideally something that uses the ingredients you already buy frequently

Learning to cook for yourself–especially healthy meals–will only serve you well in the long-run. Commit to one new recipe this year–or one a month if you’re ambitious. Maybe a butternut squash risotto, or a chicken noodle soup from scratch?  Try utilizing common ingredients to prevent food waste, and cook for those you love. 

Commit to getting at least 10,000 steps a day

Get off the couch and hit the streets–take the long walk home from work, or walk to dinner instead of taking an Uber. Getting your steps in will help keep you healthy and moving, and you can use it as a walking meditation, a chance to listen to an audiobook, or time to call friends and family. 

Stop buying soda or alcohol or whatever you’re trying to cut out

I am opposed to health resolutions that set you up for failure–but we can all benefit from less soda, less alcohol, less processed sugar, even if we do have it occasionally. One way to do this is to not buy soda or alcohol for the home and only have it on special occasions. You could also do this with something like meat. It makes it special when you have it and helps your budget and heart health. 

 Decide every few months to tip extra for great service on a particular meal

Obviously, tip you wait staff when you go out every time–especially if you live in a state where they’re paid $2 an hour. But it’s always fun–and heartwarming–to tip extra well every few months for exceptional service or simply just because. I’ve learned during the pandemic that tipping 50% on a burger can make me smile and can help out the wait staff who are always kind to me. Why not make it a more common occurrence in 2021? Pick a time–once a month, every other month, etc, and commit to tipping at least 30% when it’s warranted. 

 Set social media boundaries and stick to them–time limits, delete apps, etc

Social media can really dominate our lives if we let it, so perhaps in 2021 you’ll find a way to take back control. Set time limits on your phone, delete an app entirely, or set social media breaks–whatever you feel will work best for you. Don’t delete Instagram if you know you have to use it for work. Keep Facebook messenger even if you set time limits on Facebook itself. Know thyself. Set thyself up for success, not failure. 

 Buy all your gifts from small businesses

Small businesses were hit hard during the pandemic. Why not resolve to buy all your 2021 gifts from small business–birthdays, Valentine’s day, Easter, Christmas, Secret Santa gift exchanges, etc? It’ll take some planning on your end, but will be a great adventure into finding local vendors and supporting small business owners everywhere. 

 Delete the phone numbers of toxic people/people you should not contact

Hear me out–toxic people ruin you. Don’t let them. Delete those phone numbers of your ex-boyfriends. Stop following social media accounts that make you hate spiral.  Set yourself up for success by trimming the thorns and focusing on the better future ahead. 

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member