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Regardless of the uncertainty that will follow us into 2021, the end of the year offers a productive opportunity to reflect on the last 12 months and make invigorating plans for the 12 that lie ahead. 

Setting mindful New Year’s resolutions that tie into your overarching goals can help you stay focused throughout the year, embrace the possibilities of new opportunities and challenges, and get to where you want to be. Let’s break down some of the ways you can set resolutions that will help make Creativity, Activity, and Service a more integral part of your life. 

Take stock of where you are at right now

Are you currently learning a new skill or working on a project or initiative that will continue into the New Year? If so, now is the time to reflect on what you have accomplished so far and decide how you want to proceed. 

Ask yourself whether you are satisfied with your current level of progress and want to continue on the same trajectory, or if it might be time to rethink your approach. 

Set short- and long-term goals

A resolution plan equipped to match the ambiguity of the moment we are living in should contain goals for the near future and further down the line. Why not set 12 resolutions for 12 months? Breaking the year down into more manageable segments will not only help you accomplish more overall, but it will allow you to focus your energy on timely initiatives and see the fruits of your labor while you go. 

This is an excellent strategy if you want to expand your community involvement horizons, have your sights set on a specific issue, or want to stay motivated for something that still feels far away. 

Get inspired by other students

When considering the role you would like to play in your community over the year to come, look to your peers for inspiration. Talk to other students about what they are working on, or check out the winners of our Changemakers Challenge ideas. 

If you were affected or motivated by another project or initiative this year, reach out to the organizers and ask for any resources or advice they might be able to offer regarding how you can contribute to or localize the project. The UN SDGs are also a great place to expand your vision.   

Become active in your local community

Although it is indeed worthwhile to stay informed about global issues, it is also vital to look at what is happening around you and how you can impact your immediate surroundings. Always try to Think Global, Act Local. Your resolution could be to advocate for a local community organization or enhance your understanding of a marginalized population in your city, for example. 

It can be tempting to undertake grand, expansive projects that look impressive on paper. Yet, sometimes the most meaningful contributions operate on a lesser scale but have a genuinely transformative influence on a small group of people. 

You can also do plenty without even leaving your home; look at our online Service Learning opportunities for suggestions. 

Remember you are best able to help others when you take care of yourself

The ups and downs of 2020 have been a lot to process. If you are experiencing burnout, anxiety, or fear about the coming year, committing to focusing on relaxation or finding a healthy balance might be the right resolution for you. For many ambitious young people, taking a step back can be difficult; yet, it might be necessary in order to maintain a positive relationship with education and community involvement over the year to come.

Your resolution could be to take a more measured approach to the work you care about or venture outside your comfort zone to explore a new topic. You could commit to introducing a friend to a cause you care about, exploring your creativity differently, or getting involved with an organization that inspires you. There are so many ways to impact the world around you positively, but that starts with taking good care of yourself.

Be honest and gentle in assessing your resolutions 

Resolutions are most effective when we come back to them regularly throughout the year. This can be an arduous task if things are not going as planned, though. Be mindful that it takes courage to be honest with yourself and that not making one target does not mean you should abandon your plan altogether. 

Just accept where you are at — regroup, adjust your strategy as needed, and keep working towards your goal. Overcoming obstacles is part of the process and will end up making your accomplishment all the more satisfying in the end.

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