As 2021 comes to a close, we are given the opportunity to reflect back on all this year has brought. We have learned that we need to respect ourselves — and others — more than ever. That means checking in with strangers and loved ones, listening to (and prioritizing) our bodies and their needs, and identifying opportunities to be grateful every day — for health, work, friends and more. Let’s wrap this year up and start 2022 off with these New Year’s resolution ideas that can help us progress into 2022 with optimism and purpose.
- Send Letters or Postcards
- Support Local Restaurants
- Buy Your Gifts From Small Businesses
- Create Your Dream Home Office
- Declutter, Declutter, Declutter
- Read More
- Try One New Recipe Every Week
- Build a Better Budget
- Schedule Zooms With Your Friends
- Take More Time Off
- Find Home Workout Routines You Can Stick With
- Express Yourself
- Make Sure You Take a Lunch
- Start Journaling
- Take More Baths
- Go on Aimless Walks
- Give Back to Your Community
- Start a Side Business
- Change Up Your Look
- Normalize Doing Nothing
- Consider Therapy
1. Send Letters or Postcards
Sure, social media and texting and other online tech have their drawbacks, but 2021 revealed to us just how powerful and important a tool they can be.
With social distancing, online technology has allowed us to stay connected to our friends and family, whether they’re down the street or on the other side of the world. While text check-ins are great, consider adding a bit of personalized, tangible flair to your messages next year by sending postcards and letters. These are memories you can hold in your hand and keep for comfort years down the line.
2. Support Local Restaurants
Restaurants have taken a hard hit these last couple of years, with more than 110,000 eateries closing due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you have the means, support at least one local restaurant a month in 2022, and write a Yelp or Google review or share a picture of your food on social media to spread the word. You can even form a takeout club with your friends — order food on the same night and eat together over Zoom. If you can, call the restaurant directly, since delivery apps often take a steep cut.
3. Buy Your Gifts From Small Businesses
When buying gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays in 2022, head to Etsy instead of Amazon. You’ll be supporting the businesses of solopreneurs and artisans who make a living from their handmade goods. Plus, you’ll often get better, more attentive service and can request personalized touches to your orders. If you’re heading to a brick-and-mortar store, visit your local ma-and-pa shops instead of the mall.
4. Create Your Dream Home Office
For some, working from home is here to stay, and you’ll be spending a good chunk of your week in your home office. Investing in comfortable furniture, good lighting, plants and wall organization systems can help boost your productivity and give you the personalized space of your dreams.
5. Declutter, Declutter, Declutter
Now that you’re spending your days at home, what better time to take stock of your items and purge the ones that are just occupying valuable space? You don’t have to toss everything: instead, move bulky furniture, clothes or boxes you don’t use frequently into a secure self-storage space for easy access.
6. Read More
You know those books that have been on your reading list for months? Or those novels with a bookmark sandwiched 25 pages in that you haven’t opened since? In 2022, set a reading goal to catch up. You can open a Goodreads account to share your updates and see what your friends are reading, or even join a book club for more direct community and accountability.
7. Try One New Recipe Every Week
Many of you are probably cooking more than ever, but it’s easy to get stuck in the same routines, flavors and cuisines. In 2022, expand your culinary repertoire by challenging yourself to a new recipe every week (some of our favorite recipes sites include Serious Eats and The Kitchn). Pro tip? Check your fridge to see what ingredients you need to get rid of, then search recipes that can help you use them up.
8. Build a Better Budget
With bars, movie theaters, music venues and other entertainment spaces closed, this is your time to pay off any lingering debt, put money into your savings and create better budgets. The last couple of years have shown us that lay-offs can happen any time, so building a bigger rainy-day fund is never a bad idea. If you’re not into spreadsheets or keeping receipts, go digital: sign up for Truebill to help you manage your money.
9. Schedule Zooms With Your Friends
Traffic, being broke and bad weather are no longer good excuses for bailing on your friends. Schedule Zooms on weekends when you’re free to catch up from the comfort of your own homes. It doesn’t always have to be a serious roundtable talk — even having a remote movie viewing or game night can be a lot of fun.
10. Take More Time Off
Countless vacations were thrown out the window in 2021, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still take time off. In 2022, be sure to use up your vacation time or request PTO, even if you’re just going to lounge around your house in PJs with a glass of wine. Even if it doesn’t feel like you’re on vacay, your mind and body will thank you for it.
11. Find Home Workout Routines You Can Stick With
Home workouts are a great concept, but they’re not always easy to stick with. Whether it’s a six-minute HIIT routine or 10-minute ab challenge, YouTube has a library of great exercises you can do in your living room, for free. Don’t go overboard — doing a little physical activity twice a week is enough to get you started.
12. Express Yourself
You don’t need to have experience or impressive skills to express yourself artistically. With the stress and emotions of 2021 running high, find outlets next year that can help you channel your inner anxieties, whether it’s picking up a watercolor set or learning a new hobby like rug tufting.
13. Make Sure You Take a Lunch
Working from home often means working through your lunch — or sending emails with a salad on your lap. In 2022, set clear boundaries during the day for quick walks around the block, outdoor stretches for sunlight and fresh air, and at least a 30-minute lunch break away from phone notifications and your laptop.
14. Start Journaling
Journaling can help ease anxiety, stress and depression, all of which have taken a huge toll on people’s mental health in the past year alone. This is one of the cheapest ways you can start investing in your own well-being: get a journal, and start writing down your ideas, feelings and thoughts. Best of all, there are no rules!
15. Take More Baths
Baths can relieve inflammation, elevate your mood and help you sleep better at night. In 2022, swap out your Friday night shower with a hot bath and bath bomb to close out the week with a relaxing twist.
16. Go on Aimless Walks
Sometimes life can feel predictable and rote, so instead of following your typical neighborhood route the next time you go on a walk, why not change it up? Taking a different street or even crossing into the neighborhood over can jazz up your day and show you parts of your community that you didn’t even know were there.
17. Give Back to Your Community
Everyone knows someone who has been severely impacted by the pandemic. Healthcare professionals, essential workers and other individuals are working long hours to hold our communities and economy together. Finding small ways to give back — whether it’s a Starbucks gift card to the doctors at your local hospital or a bigger tip to the staff at your favorite restaurant — can show some of our hardest-working community members that you care. Other ideas? Create a care package for the homeless individuals in your neighborhood.
18. Start a Side Business
19. Change Up Your Look
There are plenty of ways you can turn a new leaf at home, including changing up your look. It can be as simple as dyeing your hair and shaving your beard (or growing one out), or a whole wardrobe makeover. Now that you’re probably stuck at home, have fun and take some risks!
20. Normalize Doing Nothing
In an age of hyper-productivity and where the norm is to find ways to monetize everything, remind yourself in 2022 that it’s okay to do nothing. Sitting around in a blanket and drinking tea with your favorite album blasting from your phone is not only okay, but can be rejuvenating. Your body deserves, and needs, its rest.
21. Consider Therapy
No one is perfect, and the demands and tolls of the past year aren’t always possible to be handled by yourself. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, depressed, lonely or sad, think about finding a therapist who can help you work through your emotions. Remember — you’re not alone, and there are resources available to help you stay strong and keep going.