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Setting reasonable goals for the new year

I have a large calendar on my desk where I write down dates for meetings and interview appointments and other important reminders. Of course, when I got to December, I wrote “Goodbye and Good Riddance 2020!!” at the end of the month. A relatable sentiment for many people, I’m sure. I think we’re all ready to leave 2020 behind as nothing more than a memory in the rearview mirror.

A new year can be a fresh start or a reset. It can be the beginning of a new mindset or a new lifestyle. Of course, swapping one calendar out for the next one doesn’t mean the pandemic is over. We’ll still have to deal with that for a while, but maybe the new year can give us something else to look forward to.

Sometimes, however, we often fall into the trap of setting our expectations too high. Who hasn’t made an unrealistic new years resolution and then abandoned it entirely a week later? I usually skip the resolutions in favor of simply making some small goals. So here are a few goals for 2021 that I’m going to do, and I hope maybe many of you will join me as well.

Get Vaccinated: If we want to get back to life as we knew it before, we’ll need to get the COVID-19 vaccine. I’ll definitely be going to get mine when it’s my turn, and I urge everyone else to do the same. Until then, however, we’ve still got to keep up with all the things we’ve been doing to slow and stop the spread of the virus. Keep social distancing and wear a mask! We’ve done it this long, we can make it a few more months.

Shop/Dine Locally: A lot of businesses have suffered because of the pandemic since it’s better for us to stay home as much as possible to keep safe. Local businesses, which keep our economies thriving, need our support more than ever. Once things get back to some semblance of normal, let’s take a moment to stop in and browse our local stores to see what they have to offer. Let’s go dine in at our “mom and pop” restaurants providing some nice home cooking. Maybe we’ll find some hidden gem right down the road we’ve been missing out on. I’ve already got a list of places I’m going to check out in 2021.

Keep Being Creative: The circumstances of 2020 forced a lot of us to think outside the box. We found new ways to carry on old traditions. We came up with new ideas to get through a crazy year. Everyday life looked different, but we made it work. I hope we keep that creative spirit going in 2021. If we learned nothing else last year, we at least learned that we don’t have to always do things the same way as we did before. Traditions are nice, but sometimes they can get boring if we don’t shake things up.

Keep Talking: In addition to the pandemic, 2020 also forced us once again to take a hard look at our society, especially in regards to systemic racism. Protests and demonstrations and prayer vigils sprang up around the country after the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. It is my sincere hope that we keep the dialogue open in 2021. Things may have settled down again for now, but we should never stop working on learning how to live together in a way that’s good for everyone.

Be Kind: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. 2020 was a rough year for everyone in a multitude of ways. So my biggest goal for 2021 is to just be kind. I don’t know what everyone has been through in the past twelve months, but I do know that everyone deserves a friendly smile and to be treated with courtesy. 2021 will hopefully be a year of recovery, and kindness is where it starts.

These are just a few of my goals for the year. I think they’re a little more manageable than a typical resolution. Good luck to everyone in 2021!

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at holly.taylor@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7206.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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