Welcome to 2021 everyone. It’s been a month since I’ve talked to you all and I hope you’re all doing well!

While it may be a new year, we are still facing many of the challenges, new experiences, and adjustments that we were last year. Yet, people continue to make their resolutions and hold themselves accountable for the goals they have this year because after all, it feels like it could be a fresh start.

Then again, this year has already begun with a whole lot of ups and downs, from hopeful vaccine rollouts to the unforgettable storming of the Capitol. It’s a new start, but also a good reminder: a lot is going on around us, and there’s only so much we can do about how it all plays out.

a beautiful sunrise

Some people are looking at the past year and wondering how it all happened/how we got to this new one already. Considering that time felt like it was barely passing and flying by at the same time, I can’t say I have answers for either of those wonders, but I do have a few ways to curb expectations this year.

After all, even when I usually tell myself that a new year won’t be anything huge to expect, I still get a bit excited simply because new years bring with it this concept of a blank slate. Then I think of all the things I want to do, see, or try, and before I realize it, I get too caught up in everything and it’s December.

I know I can’t possibly be the only one. So instead, a lot of us have learned a few different ways in the last year to approach this new one with more balanced expectations. With all the uncertainty around us, here are three ways to hold onto our sanity and balance as we set our goals and move through the year’s beginning:

Only try to control what you can

If anything, last year broke a lot of unspoken rules when it came to making lofty plans. The more plans people made, the more flights, hotels, and travel destinations were canceled. This guideline’s like that but it extends beyond making plans. It extends to what you do and what you expect for yourself. There are things like the storming of the Capitol that just happened-most of us had no control over that event unless we were one of the people doing the storming. We can only control our reactions and who we talk to about such things in that case.

Instead, as people like my peers begin to find jobs, graduate, and redefine their life paths, I’m reminded that it’s hard to compare what’s going on in my life to the worlds of people both near and far. I can only control what I do within my own. So for each of us, find something you can do every day that you can control and call finished. It doesn’t have to be the same thing nor does it have to be something big; make it your morning cup of coffee, a walk, an exercise routine, dinner with the family, etc. Just complete something that feels good to you.

Focus on the here and now

zen leaf

It’s easy to get caught up in the news, what if’s, or dwelling too much on things that haven’t happened yet. I mean, there’s a reason all the toilet paper and paper towels periodically go missing off store shelves. While it’s good to be prepared, there’s a difference between preparedness and preoccupation. There is no telling what will come this year, but remember the daily things that you’re grateful for, do something that you enjoy, and take things from one moment to the next. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

Leaning into uncertainty

flexibility and unfamiliarity, maze of green

We’re heading toward a year since we started a majority of the lockdowns throughout the US. It didn’t take long for people to pick up new hobbies, go through most of the yeast on grocery shelves, and Zoom to take off as a household brand. By now, a lot of people have at least started hobbies they didn’t know anything about before and we’ve all done more video calls than we can count. Even if you didn’t follow through on those hobbies, I say don’t stop there. Whether or not we had a choice last year, many of us embraced uncertainty and learned a new way of living our lives pretty quickly. So this year, from your hobbies to your professional life, find a way to make what you’ve learned work for you. Hold onto that flexibility.

These may just be three ways to handle new year expectations and balance ourselves as we get through this first month of the new year, but you’ve all proven that they’ve worked quite well so far. No one knows what is in store for us and I won’t know if you do or do not pick that old hobby back up, but I hope you do.

I hope each of you finds some calm and health as this year is beginning. As for whatever comes next, here’s to us. I’ll see you next week.

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