Byrdie Editors Are Ditching Resolutions This Year—Here's What We're Doing Instead

Give your progress the respect it deserves.

new years resolutions


The holiday season is in full-swing and the onset of 2021 is officially looming (TL;DR: The air is thick with expectation). This is usually the time dating app sign-ups surge and new gym memberships are a dime a dozen—but, alas, this year is different. And rather than helpful, the term "resolution" has become this cliché with an almost comical connotation. So we're not going to resolve to change who we are this year. Instead, we're going to reclaim something we seem to have lost during the pandemic, along with the emotional, political, and cultural turmoil that defined 2020. We're going to give our progress the respect it deserves without the fear of failure taking up space in our consciousness.

"There's something very powerful about the word 'reclaim,'" notes Faith, our editorial director over Slack. "You're not laying claim to something new, but rather actively taking back something that was already yours." Join us, dear Byrdies, in a different objective for 2021. Keep scrolling for the things we wish to reclaim this year.

Hallie Gould, senior editor

"It's a hard ask, to 'reclaim yourself,' I think because we're constantly shifting and changing as time passes. Every other year, January would bring about feelings of inadequacy and pangs of guilt for a myriad of reasons. I wasn't as healthy or happy as my previous resolution would have prescribed. I wasn't stable. I wasn't in love. But holding those vague intensions as barometers for success is a detrimental goal (and a predictable one at that). I've learned to take better care of myself, especially in the wake of the pandemic. We so often use our bodies as a vessel—to get drunk, to look stylish, provide comfort through food consumption—that I think we also forget to treat it with a little respect too. I've made massive changes in my choices as it relates to my health, both mental and physical this year. So, what's next?

"For me, it has a lot to do with reclaiming the creativity that fuels me. As it goes, I've written a lot less this year. It's the nature of the career (you do less of it as you progress), but it's what I love about this job and, really, about myself. I love words and I love that I'm good at using them. I love feeling proud of my work. It's also unbelievably cathartic. Oftentimes I won't even know how deeply I feel about a certain topic until I'm in the throes of writing about it. It's a way to work through my own issues while trying to serve some of yours. It's therapy for me and I miss it. So, the short answer is I'm reclaiming the writer in me in 2021. Expect to hear much more from me."

Faith Xue, editorial director

"'Reclaim' is such a proactive word to me—you're not staking claim on something new, or reinventing yourself—it's already within you, and you just need to bring it to the forefront. That's such a powerful concept. With that in mind, I'm planning to practice gratitude every day. Each day I want to write down one (or more) things I'm grateful for in my life—because there are a lot, and it's easy to forget when you're swept up in the little things or the world feels so uncertain. There's so much in my life to be grateful for—my family, friends, boyfriend, job, and health, just to name a few—and I firmly believe that taking a moment to appreciate each and every one of these things will only attract more positivity."

Lindsey Metrus, senior editor

"Sheltering in place this past year has been isolating and downright lonely, to say the least. But ironically, the extreme conditions of being unable to hang out in large groups brought about a newfound friendship with a small group from my college days. Hungry for human connection, the bond grew virtually as we Housepartied and Zoomed over boozy brunches and happy hours and blossomed into something stronger as the months passed. It taught me to have a reckoning with the relationships in my life: both the solid, constant ones, and those that had withered away.

"As an adult, I think it becomes increasingly hard to make new (or refurbished) friends, especially since it's easy to get comfortable with who and what you already know, but now that the seeds have been re-planted with this beautiful and positive group of people, I plan to sow these friendships in 2021 and foster the most positive thing to have come from an otherwise harrowing year."

Star Donaldson, social media editor

"In 2021, I want to reclaim my boundaries. Now that nearly everything I do is centered around being at home, so many things have blended together. I've realized this year it is super important for me to make time for myself where I can be still and don't have a running to-do list. I'm the kind of person who can say, 'yes' to everything at the moment and regret my stress levels later. Creating boundaries around my downtime is important and I know ultimately makes me a happier person."

Kelly Gallagher, senior social media manager

"Looking back at this past year, it feels like it was an incredible whirlwind. And while I'm so grateful for every opportunity that's come my way, I would be lying if I didn't say I wasn't tired as a result of said whirlwind. So, for 2020, I've decided that I'm reclaiming my energy. I was recently reminded that we are the only ones who protect our own energy. This idea really resonated with me—I often blame things like work, the city I live in or my busy social life as the reasons I feel constantly exhausted. When, in reality, it's up to me (and only me) to create boundaries around and prioritize the many ways in which my energy can be drained. In order to do this, I'll need to learn to say "no," I'll need to schedule myself time to relax and breathe on a daily basis, I'll need to plan ahead so I'm not running around like a chicken with my head cut off to get things done at the last minute and I'll need to force myself to slow down overall. It's not going to be easy but it will be worth it."

Holly Rhue, editor

"So often, my resolutions to get a six-pack, do more volunteer work, and take more photos (selfies not included) are derailed by March. That's why I love the idea of reclaiming rather than resolving. And in 2021, I'm reclaiming my time. Last year I resolved to do more with my free time—be it a workout or a catch up with an old acquaintance. The way I saw it, if I had time to scan Netflix then I had time to put in some extra work in my professional or social life. After 2020, I actually plan to do the antithesis. I'm gently relinquishing myself of all guilt associated with saying no to anything that doesn't add any real value to my life. Instead, my free time will be just that... free. Free moments for me to read. To call my Mom. To count my blessings. To do absolutely nothing at all."

Karli Bendlin, newsletter editor

"You know the feeling when you just want to be as physically far from your phone as possible? It's been popping up a lot for me in 2020, and not because I've suddenly started sending a plethora of risky texts. Rather, I've started to feel anxious during even the most casual conversations. I didn't even necessarily realize this newfound phone anxiety was pandemic-related until I read this Vogue article about how hard texting has become this year. My phone has been an invaluable lifeline while I'm separated from my loved ones, but it's also become a source of stress. I feel a newfound guilt about not checking in with people enough, or not getting back to them quickly when they take the time to reach out. 

"In 2021, I want to focus on reclaiming my own time, both with my phone and without. I'm still going to continue to check in on my friends and family, but I'm also going to focus on not giving in to the guilt if I want to unwind rather than joining a group FaceTime. Eventually, I might even turn my phone off for a few hours at a time or leave it out of my bedroom at night. Baby steps first, of course."

Kathryn Vandervalk, editorial and strategy director

Kathryn Vandervalk

Kathryn Vandervalk

"I'd been a competitive distance runner from when I was six years-old through my sophomore year of college, until I broke down and joined the campus circus. Leaving the sport behind freed me up to try new things and discover my passions, but I never found my way back to exercise after that brief circus stint. Running, my former go-to, often reminds me of an insecure past self, when I was competing to impress colleges, my parents, and even boys.

"Yet, I miss the feeling that my body can do anything—like joining a circus troupe or doing a front handspring on a whim. For the past couple of years, it's been my goal to reclaim my physical fitness in a way that makes me happy and empowered. I'm still not sure what this journey looks like, especially now that my hot yoga studio has been shut down for the pandemic. But I'm hoping this year I can find ways to exercise that feel like I'm celebrating my body, rather than sculpting it."

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