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2020 was quite obviously a rough year for everyone. Personally, I really struggled with the fact that every single day felt the same. I also hated (and still hate) online school. I spent the majority of last semester in my small Boston apartment with my two roommates. And while I love living with other people, it can be hard sharing close quarters with people for 99% of the day, every day.

I also had never had so much free time during a semester of school. But instead of using that free time to my advantage, I used that time to scroll through my phone and watch copious amounts of TV. Which, for a while, was very fun. However, once I hit the middle of the semester, I was really struggling with every day feeling the exact same and feeling stuck in my apartment.

So, I decided to make a few changes in my life in order to find a more healthy balance. In 2021, I am actively trying to make three changes: read more, spend less time on social media, and take more walks.

pile of books
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Let’s start with my reading goal. For context, I have not read a full book for maybe seven years. I do not think I ever finished a book assigned in high school. I’ve just accepted that I am not a reader. However, last October, I read the entire Harry Potter series in three weeks. To this day, I still have zero clue as to where my motivation to do that came from. Regardless, I realized after reading Harry Potter that I was capable of actually finishing a book.

I also realized that in order to complete a book I need a due date. When I read Harry Potter, my due date was the day my roommates and I had planned a Harry Potter movie marathon, so I felt the need to finish the books by that date. Therefore, I thought forcing myself to read one book per week was a doable yet still demanding task.

Before the new year, I created a list of books I have always wanted to read and books that were recommended to me on TikTok. I am already done with six books, and I am so proud of myself for not only keeping up with my schedule, but also being ahead of schedule.

From now on, at the end of every month, I will be writing an article recapping the four or five books I read that month and rating them. So, keep an eye out for that.

Woman looks at a photo on Instagram on her phone.
Photo by Kate Torline from Unsplash

Next up: spending less time on social media. I have a pretty toxic relationship with most social media, especially Instagram. I actually started this goal before the new year, but I have been setting app limits on all of my social media. Since doing this, I have actually seen an improvement in my general self-confidence and self-worth.

I was constantly comparing myself to the people I follow on Instagram and other social media, but without the opportunity to do that, I feel much more confident and positive about myself. Right now, I only spend five minutes per day on Instagram. I am even thinking about deleting my personal Instagram account altogether because of how much it has changed my life already.

Finally, I want to walk more. This seems like a simple goal—mostly because, in theory, it is. I regret how little I explored Boston pre-pandemic. But, I realized that I can still explore while staying safe and COVID-free. And the best way to do that is to walk.

Sahaj Bendi/Unsplash

Since coming back to campus, I have gone on a walk almost every day. Most of the time, I walk around my neighborhood, but I have also walked around other neighborhoods in Boston. The difficulty of this goal lies in the fact that I do not always feel like going on a long walk or the weather is not conducive to walking. I have gotten better at allowing myself to take a day off every once in a while or when it is snowing/raining.

Even so, walking has become an important part of my daily routine. I love how I get to explore the city I love so much and get exercise at the same time.

The most important thing that all of these resolutions have in common is that I am prioitizing my own physical, mental, and emotional health this semester. And I encourage you all to do the same.

This is a unique time in all of our lives, and I hope that by completing these resolutions, I will have a better year than I had in 2020.

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Grace is a sophomore at Boston University. She is studying Public Relations with a minor in Anthropology. Grace is originally from Raleigh, North Carolina.
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