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I’ve always been big on New Year’s resolutions. I love setting goals. I love change. I love believing that I can better myself. In addition to my New Year’s resolution, I also pick a word of the year—a word that I anchor myself in for the year. After all of the challenges of 2020, I chose “joy” as my word of 2021. I challenged myself to continuously focus on joy and write down one thing that I found joy in each day. I decided to look back in my journal at the things I found joy in during the month of January. Here are eight highlights. 

My Family

Spending a weekend at home or a few minutes on the phone with my family brought me joy! I found that I often find my joy in people I love (which definitely makes sense for my extroverted self).

Walking Outside

I love an outdoor walk (Lake Herrick is the most underrated place on campus—change my mind) and found joy in walking around taking in fresh air and spending some time unplugged.

Spending Time with Middle School Kiddos

I am a middle grades education major and would normally be spending a lot of time in schools this semester, but my program has looked a lot different because of COVID. I got to spend some time in middle school classes on Zoom this month, and it really made me remember why I want to become a teacher.

Singing in the Car

From a long ride back to Athens to a two minute drive to work, every time I am in the car, I put on a concert. I found joy in singing really (badly) loudly to great music.

Working Out

Another one of my goals for the year was to move my body more (not workout, just be more active), and a good workout killed two birds with one stone. I moved my body and found some joy in breaking a good sweat!

My Friends

Again, I found joy in people! I got to see friends again after winter break, and it brought me immense joy.


This one might be the most random one on my list—apparently one day I found joy in fresh fruit from Publix!


As someone who is always on the go, I found joy in rest this month! 

I challenge you to also find joy in 2021. Joy can be found in things as big as getting a new job or as small as a five minute car ride blasting music; you just have to be on the lookout for it.

Kenzie is an education major.
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