I’ve asked a few people what their plans, goals or resolutions for 2021 are. The resounding response seems to be along the lines of “there’s no point making goals, this year has proven that.”

Whilst I agree that 2020 has completely dog-eared most people’s goals and plans, it doesn’t mean there has been a complete inability to achieve what you’ve set your mind to.

I think the general issue is that people associate new year’s resolutions or goals with extreme restriction or un-obtainable achievements. For example, if your new year’s resolution is “give up chocolate”, I can tell you straight away that your goal will fail, here’s why.

  1. Why are you giving up chocolate? Is chocolate poisonous to you? if chocolate was poisonous, you wouldn’t need to make it a goal to stop eating it – you would just know not to eat it. I’m going to guess that chocolate isn’t poisonous to you.
  2. Chances are, you want to give up chocolate because you think it’s “bad” or “making you fat”. In that case, it’s your entire diet as a whole which needs looking at. Chocolate, in isolation, does not make you fat. Trust me, coming from someone who drank hot chocolate every single day in the depths of anorexia… I can contest that.
  3. Setting a restriction based goal for 1 year means that, even if you DO manage 365 days without chocolate, as soon as the calendar turns 01.01.2022, you’ll have nothing stopping you from binging on chocolate for eternity, because, technically, your goal of No Chocolate in 2021 was achieved.

New year’s goals, for me, are about things that supplement my life in a given year. I already know that in 2021 I want to graduate my degree, move into a house with my boyfriend and have my own car. But these are goals which are pretty much on track anyway. With these goals, I guess I’ll just be going through the motions until I get there.

My goals for 2021 are:

  1. Complete 80 books, and track this on Goodreads.

I truly go through phases with reading. There are months where I can’t bare the thought to pick up a book. Then there are other months where I have a kindle, audible and physical book all on the go at the same time. I do genuinely enjoy reading, I just think I’ve been stuck in a rut, as my go-to genre is self help.. and there’s only so much self help you can read before you go a bit, ironically, nuts.

This year I really want to expand my reading into fiction, because I seem to get more positive influence from the storylines of fiction books than non-fiction self help books.

If you’re interested, my good reads profile is here. The reason I want to track my reading on good reads, is because I do a lot of digital reading (kindle and audible), therefore it’s not as easy to count how many books I’ve read. I would also be interested to see my stats at the end of the year, what genres I’ve been reading etc.

I know there will be times when I’m too busy to read, but I also know that I am good at making up excuses, and this will take an element of discipline.

2. Play on my Nintendo Switch

This probably sounds like a weird one, but one of my goals for 2021 is to actually put time aside to play games like Animal Crossing and Pokemon.

I used to really enjoy Nintendo games, and I would spend hours on my DS and the Wii. But as I got older, I got more wrapped up in -real life- and I generally thought that gaming was for people who had nothing better to do with their life.

I struggled to justify spending time playing games, because it’s not a productive task.

But I’m coming to realise that gaming, just like reading and exercise, is a form of escapism. However, reading and exercise still have an element of discipline about them and some degree of self improvement. Whereas gaming…it’s purely for fun. Something which I’m really trying to wrap my head around and teach myself that it’s okay to take time out of the day, doing something you enjoy, purely for enjoyment.

3. Figure out what I am doing with social media (and my general life lol)

Sort of an elephant in the room topic, but I really don’t know how I feel about my Heather’s Perspective instagram. I love that I have a platform to share my thoughts and experiences with mental health, and I love that people actually care about what I’m posting on there!

However, I dabbled in youtube for a bit, but I just don’t really know where I am going with it. I enjoy making the videos, to some degree, but it feels as though it’s such an oversaturated platform – there’s not really a lot of opportunity for growth, unless you’re super passionate.

I also don’t know how I feel about having a lot of followers. With instagram and youtube, it’s a default response to want more followers, viewers, subscribers, shares etc – but do I really want thousands of people viewing my life and forming opinions about me online? Probably not.

I think, ultimately, I will probably private my instagram. I will still continue to post the same sort of content on there, but I have accepted that I am not someone who wants lots of followers and a large audience. I wouldn’t want to completely delete it, as I do benefit from posting and writing on there – but it’s easy to get caught up in the “what’s the point” rhetoric.

4. Run 350km in the year

A relatively easy one for me. In 2020 I ran 1,000+km. But 2020 was a very unique year, and I hope that I won’t have that much free time on my hands. 350km is around the same amount I did in 2019 when I was training for a half marathon, therefore I feel I can easily achieve this, without feeling like I’m completing a gruelling task.

5. Generally stay away from late, drunken nights

This is not me saying that I’ll never be drunk at 2am, crying because I don’t know where my driving license is, only to see it in the back of my phone case… however this is me saying that I’d much rather not be in that situation again.

2020 really allowed me to overhaul my approach towards alcohol and nights out. I like going for drinks with friends, I like the odd overly sugary cocktail – but I also love 8 hours of sleep and waking up without The Fear and a pounding headache.

I’m sure I’ll probably get a bit drunk in the next 365 days, but nowhere near the level and extent that I was between ages 18-21. My mental health, lifestyle, bank balance and physical health have improved so much without the 6pm-3am nights out.

6. Express more compassion towards myself

This is quite a complex one. But I know I need to be kinder to myself. To set myself less things to do in a day, to forgive myself if things don’t go to plan.

Allow myself to follow my heart. Ignore the opinions and dismissals of irrelevant people. Most people don’t understand where I’m coming from, how my mind works and what my intentions are – therefore I need to stop assuming that I can please everyone.

I still have thoughts of “what would XX say” “I bet XX would think you’re stupid” – thoughts which have absolutely no prevalence in my life and ultimately lead me to subconsciously spend my precious energy worrying what other people might think.

In terms of goals, that’s it for the big ones. I’d love to graduate with a 1st in my undergrad degree, and get onto the masters I’ve applied for (all will be revealed if so!).

But as long as I am happy, safe and stable – then I’ve won 2021.

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