2020 has been rough for everyone, to say the least. While it is in the rearview mirror, we are still feeling its after effects.

The beginning of the year is typically the time when we all have ambitious New Year’s resolutions — until we abandon them at some point because we simply cannot keep up with them. I am one of those people. My past (failed) resolutions included learning a foreign language, losing weight, and exercising more. I no longer make resolutions because I realize they are unrealistic for me.

I do, however, think that the beginning of the year is a great time to reevaluate yourself and figure out what’s important to you. Do you want to change or improve anything in your life? Perhaps you want to be healthier, spend more time with your loved ones or start a new hobby. Easier said than done, right?

The next step is to specify what you want to work on, how you are going to carry that out, and over what timeline do you want to reach that goal. For example, it’s easy to say that you want to be healthy, but how are you going to achieve that? If you want to lose weight, set a weight loss goal. Subscribe to an exercise program app or utilize free exercise workout videos on YouTube. Or, if you are happy with your weight, but want to maintain it by eating healthier, think about how you are going to change your diet. Maybe swap out that slice of pie for a fruit and yogurt bowl. Substitute the fries or chips that come with your lunch with a salad instead. Even if you make these small changes from time to time, they add up.

Don’t count what you may see as a failure (you ate half the devil’s food cake when you were only going to have a bite) — every day is a new day to start over.

I also think it’s important to do what makes you happy. I recently met a patient whose husband died from brain cancer several months ago. The death made her reevaluate her life. She spent those final months taking care of her husband and family, but didn’t take any time for herself. She was overwhelmed and exhausted. Despite the recent death, she looks at life with a positive and grateful attitude. When she wakes up in the morning, she asks herself:

What can I do for myself today that makes me happy? What can I do for my family today that makes them happy?

Her new mantra is to take care of herself first so that she is able to take care of others. This could be something as simple as enjoying a cup of coffee on the porch in the morning. Sometimes it’s good to be selfish – make time for yourself.

Take this time of year to regroup, recharge, renew. 2021 is here so let’s embrace it with a positive outlook and hope for the best!