10 Habits to Adopt for 2021

new year's resolutions

I’m a sucker for a good list.

I also love resolutions and self-improvement.

Make a list of habits to adopt in the new year? YES, PLEASE.

The new year is typically when I commit to exercising more, eating more vegetables, and going to bed earlier.

Except, this transition into a new year feels different.

Maybe it feels different because 2020 dragged us through the wringer. Maybe 2021 feels different because I will turn 40 this year. Regardless of the reason, I feel more compassionate toward myself than I ever have before. I want my list of habits to adopt in 2021 to reflect my commitment to self-compassion while gently nudging me toward wellness.

1. Put down the phone.

I scared myself with my screen time amounts in 2020. When I show myself compassion, I recognize my phone was often the only tool to connect me while social distancing. I also depended on it for news updates on both COVID and the election. I won’t beat myself up over my screen time in 2020, but I commit to putting my phone down more in 2021. I plan to set limits on my phone and stick to them. (iPhone has “down time,” which allows you to set a limit on certain apps or your phone use in general.) I will delete my social media apps from my phone on the weekend. I will try to enjoy more moments with my family instead of capturing the moment with a photo. My brain and nervous system need a chance to restore, and putting down my phone on a regular basis will help.

2. Drink more water.

What list of habits would be complete without a reminder to drink more water?? But, for real. Let’s all drink more water in 2021. I know I just told you to put your phone down, but there are a ton of great apps to log your water intake. (I use WaterMinder because it cheers for me when I make my goal.) Have trouble making yourself chug water? Add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to your water bottle.

3. Do a nightly check-in.

Motherhood can feel overwhelming, and it’s easy to feel discouraged by everything we don’t get done. Make a habit of showing yourself compassion at the end of each day. Check in with yourself and come up with at least one thing you did well. Did you make dinner? Did you read to your kids before bedtime? Did you patiently respond to a toddler meltdown? Focus on that win, however small. Keep track of your wins on paper if you need a visual reminder you’re doing better than you think.

4. Take daily supplements.

My doctor recommended I get my labs drawn, and the results revealed both iron and vitamin D deficiencies. I now take daily supplements to increase my energy levels. (My iron deficiency meant I was borderline anemic after my period.) Request your labs be drawn and take a high-quality supplement to address any identified deficiencies. (Your health food store can help you identify a high-quality supplement if you need advice.)

5. Find a good therapist.

You don’t need a critical diagnosis to justify seeing a therapist. I started seeing a therapist in 2013 and have gone every month since. Yes, it can be expensive if your provider doesn’t take insurance, but you are worth the investment. Decide therapy will be part of your care plan in 2021. Ask for recommendations. Check out New Strong and Centimano Counseling if you’re looking for a place to begin. If, after a few visits, you don’t feel like your therapist is a good fit for you, try a different one. Be persistent.

6. Take shortcuts.

Sit down every Sunday night or Monday morning and ask yourself: “What shortcuts will I take this week?” Will you get groceries delivered? Will you plan easy dinners? Will you clean the bathrooms and let the rest of the mess go? There is no award given for doing everything the hard way, so take as many shortcuts as you can. Spend the extra cash on convenience right now.

7. Ask for help.

While you’re making a list of shortcuts, ask yourself: “What help will I ask for?” (Or, “for what will I ask?” if you’re a grammar nerd.) Make it a habit to ASK FOR HELP. Ask your older kids to fold their own laundry. Ask your partner to take over while you do something alone. Ask your neighbor to pick up something you forgot at the store. Ask for help. Then, ask for more. It will feel awkward and uncomfortable until asking for help becomes a habit.

8. Put daily affirmations in your phone.

I use the Reminders app to send myself daily affirmations. Four times a day, I get a reminder that says, “I am enough.” Send yourself encouraging reminders multiple times each day. It may feel silly, at first, but I promise daily reminders are powerful, effective tools for creating a habit of self-compassion. Other affirmations you might send yourself?

  • My needs matter.
  • I am doing my best and my best is enough.
  • It is OK to rest.
  • I’m a good mom.
  • I am the mother my child needs.

9. Move your body.

Each new year, I feel tempted to try a vigorous new exercise regimen that will tone me, strengthen me, and flatten my tummy. I love a good challenge! But, while I appreciate physical exercise that pushes me to my limit, I’m learning to appreciate gentler movement like walking and stretching. I want to reprogram the tape in my head telling me I must choose exercise that makes me feel like dying for exercise to count. In 2021, I want to move my body in ways that feel nourishing, not punishing.

10. Forgive yourself.

Oof. This is a tough one. Forgiving myself is the ultimate act of self-compassion and I must forgive myself, not just once, but on a daily basis. Practice saying to yourself, “I forgive myself for…..” and fill in the blank. Try including it every day by choosing an activity you do each day and making it your “forgiveness practice”; forgive yourself while brushing your teeth, feeding the dog, or loading the dishwasher. Put a sticky note nearby until it becomes a habit.

2020 was a tough year, Mamas. Let’s offer ourselves tenderness, grace, and compassion. Plus, who knows? Maybe if we all show ourselves more compassion in 2021, the world will become a more loving, compassionate place.

Tiffany Baker
Tiffany Baker is a resourcer, educator, entrepreneur, and spiritual guide. She teaches self-compassion online, at retreats, and in private 1:1 coaching sessions. Follow her on Instagram @revtiffanybaker for inspiring content and also pictures of her messy house.

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