2021: No to resolutions, yes to aspirations

by Jan 8, 2021

It’s a new year… and honestly it feels weird. I can’t remember a time before this where we entered a new year with such a feeling of trepidation or uncertainty. The whole ‘new year, new me’ motif was already getting cringey but this year it’s nowhere to be seen – even influencers are posting about politics and staying COVID-19 safe and skincare routines to help combat ‘maskne’, rather than holiday pics or new year #inspo vibes. It’s wild.

So while New Year’s resolutions may be out (tempting fate does not seem quite so cute this year), that doesn’t mean we can’t try to derive at least a little motivation from the start of a new year. Especially now that we’ve been living with this ‘new normal’ of pandemic life for a while and sort of know what’s up (please note: the temptation for a 20/20 vision pun is strong).

So what are a few achievable, low-pressure goals and aspirations we can ruminate on as we get into 2021?

Keeping track in 2021

Anyone else’s 2020 feel like: January, February, MARCH, April???, MayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovember, Christmas? And now it’s January of a new year? Seems fake.

It can be hard to feel pride in your achievements, or want to set new goals for yourself, when you look back on your year and feel like nothing got done. And hey, so much of 2020 relied on us being reactive rather than proactive – and that’s ok! But it can also be really helpful and fulfilling to try and keep track of your life and milestones.

So! How can you do this in 2021?

Well, learning new things and investing time into developing your skills is a great way to mark the passage of time as you get better at whatever skill you’re focusing on. For example: if, in January, you start taking time every few days to learn a language, by June your vocab will have expanded greatly. Or maybe you want to learn how to use a new software like Photoshop – try skimming through Pinterest for some inspo projects, or just start a creative project using the program, and before you know it you’ll have a new skill (and potentially a new creation too!).

Plus, by focusing on slowly chipping away at a skill and focusing on development rather than the outcome (ie. ‘I want to learn more about creating my own website’ vs ‘I want to have created my own website by March’), your skill building can be more organic, seem more achievable, and be more flexible to account for any unexpected issues that could crop up.

Other great ways to track the time include more creative outlets like journaling, blogging or artistic endeavors that can help you reflect on a more personal level as to where you were and how you were feeling at a particular time.

The upside to all of this?

By starting to develop a skill, or funneling time into a creative outlet, you’re also building your soft skills in time management, organisation, creative thinking and potentially even communication. And if you stumble upon a skill or area that interests you, that could help inform later career decisions. Helloooo self-reflection.

Establish boundaries

While it’s okay to be a bit more loosey-goosey in your goal setting, setting boundaries is still really important in maintaining a healthy work/study/social life balance in 2021.

Chances are, a lot of us will still be spending more time at home this coming year, so establishing times when you can switch off or change track is so important for both your mental health and productivity. We hear a lot about how working in the same space you spend your leisure time can lead to longer working hours and a difficulty to disengage, but likewise it can also muddle the waters when it comes to being productive in work or study hours.

To help with creating these boundaries, make sure to be upfront and clear with people. For example, if you’re working from the same computer you normally game from, ask the people you play with to not contact you during the day so you can focus on work. Likewise, make sure to set your work calendar to reflect when you’re online and try to log off when your hours are completed. If people are still contacting you after this time, reach out to your supervisor or manager to let them know that your workload is reaching beyond your work day.

Being transparent with your boundaries, especially when spending more time at home, is a good way for you to start building your prioritisation skills, establish a healthy work-life balance, and use your time more effectively to get the most out of the coming year.

Set intentions, not goals

This year, it might be worth trying to be a little more low-key with our goal setting. So what is a low-key goal? Basically, for me, it’s an intention. What ~vibes~ do you want to set for yourself this year? Do you want to be more productive in your creative pursuits? Do you want to start talking to more people who are interested in the same tech niche you are?

Whatever it is you’re hoping to achieve this year, try to go forward without using time limits to structure your aspirations. Instead just focus on slowly putting more energy into the areas you’d like to build up or work on. Like I said earlier: put your focus on the development, rather than the outcome. Or, as you see on inspirational posters the world over: life is a journey, not a destination (I know, that was painful – but still true!).

By removing the time constraints, the pressure is off so you can start organically incorporating these areas into your life more seamlessly as a lifestyle change rather than a full life makeover.


So to conclude, it’s time to channel your inner Cover Girl TM  and maybe try to be a bit more ‘easy, breezy, beautiful’ with your aspirations for 2021. You might even find you achieve more, despite all the current drama going on in the world.


Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

By Mia Casey

By Mia Casey


Mia is a Sydney-based copywriter and content creator for UTS Careers, and ran the UTS Careers Blog for five years from its conception in 2016.
Her freelance work focuses on branding development and helping companies create a cohesive identity narrative tailored for each of their platforms.
She enjoys piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.