New Year’s Intentions for a Better 2021

happy woman on a root top patio

This is the year to say goodbye to classic resolutions and set intentions instead — like spending more time breathing fresh air. You won't regret it. 

In the past, many folks set goals like drop a few pounds. Read every day. Keep the house tidy. Cook every weekday meal at home. Workout — a lot.

Unfortunately, these incredibly daunting life changes often fail, according to the University of Pennsylvania. And given the tumultuous year we’ve all had in 2020, tackling such aggressive ambitions may not be the best for our mental health.

Dr. David Johnson, retired CEO of Navos, a nonprofit mental health organization, says the way to recover is to be gentle and nurturing to yourself. Rather than stiff and restrictive resolutions, flexible and kind intentions can help breathe happiness and hope back into your life.

Get Outside

Fresh air and vitamin D are instant mood boosters. This isn’t just a placebo. It’s actual science. Exposure to sunlight prompts the production of vitamin D — a key vitamin to keeping your bones strong and your mood elevated.

So take some time each day (weather permitting) to get outside. Go for a walk. Garden. Lounge on your patio. It doesn’t have to be a backwoods camping trip or a long-distance bike ride to count. Keep things simple and enjoyable.

One way we encourage ourselves to get outside is with our own private sanctuaries — our patios. A comfy chair and a good place to set a cup of coffee create a space that beckons us to get out of the house and breathe a little deeper.

Say Yes to ‘Me Time’

Does it feel like the hustle and bustle of work-from-home, remote-learning, and staying in have left next to no time for you? You’re not alone!

It’s hard to make time for you when all you’re doing is looking after others. So this year, start small. Make it a point to take just five minutes at some point throughout the day to step away from the crazy. Close your eyes and just let yourself relax.

Perhaps this is in the morning before the house starts to stir. Maybe it’s at night when everyone’s gone to bed. Or you might find that in the middle of the day, you just need that mental break. Give yourself permission to take it.

Help the Planet and Use Water Wisely

The average American uses 88 gallons of water per day. And, the vast majority of that isn’t being consumed. The typical American drinks just 20 ounces daily, which is 2.5 cups!

The issue isn’t that water is bad. It’s actually very good. The issue is that the process of cleaning water can be hard on Mother Nature. Research shows that the process of cleaning “wasted water” sent to treatment plants through sewage and runoff systems results in a substantial production of carbon dioxide — which pollutes our air.

Reducing water waste doesn’t have to be daunting. Nor does it mean drinking less water. Consider making simple changes. Install a drip-system in your garden to cut down on wasted H2O. Add a time to your sprinkler system so you don’t forget to turn it off and over-water your garden. Turn off the faucet when it doesn’t need to be running (like while you’re brushing your teeth). Little changes can have a big impact.

Treat Yourself to Color

Make this the year you fill your garden with color. While this intention could certainly be a call to garden, don’t assume it has to be an intense commitment.

Big pots of finely manicured flower displays are lovely. And if that’s your thing, go for it. But if you’re more of the, ‘I just want to see it,’ mindset, that’s okay too. Consider purchasing a bag of wildflower seeds. These can easily be spread, lightly watered and forgotten — until you’re treated to a beautiful display.