Blog: Resolutions

We just “celebrated” New Year’s (Covid-style) which, of course, makes me think about the ever-present New Year’s resolutions. We survived 2020, and there is the excitement of a New Year, especially this year. Social media was filled with articles and memes of 2020 being swept away. The clock strikes midnight, the ball drops in New York City, and all of our troubles are supposed to be magically behind us. That is what many of us hoped for, but as the first week of 2021 has already proven: The road ahead it not completely clear.

I am afraid that we still may have a long way to go. Somehow the pharmaceutical companies did create vaccines with warp speed. Now we need an operation to increase the mass production of the vaccines and to get them into those willing to take them.

With these challenges as a backdrop, I think our resolutions this year need to take on a different tone. Most people often either do not make resolutions; they set unattainable goals; or they break them by February. With that being the case, and with the climate being so uniquely challenging, I think this is a time to adjust our goals. For me personally, rather than setting my usual goals of some weight loss or incorporating more reading/less TV watching, I am keeping my resolutions a bit more abstract in nature. I suggest that we all consider being a bit less concrete -- a bit less specific. With everything in the world being so fluid, I believe we should prepare our expectations in a completely new way.

My resolutions this year will be vaguer and more all-encompassing to allow me to live more in the moment. Specifically, I am going to focus on being more OPTIMISTIC. Optimism, as we know, is the hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. It is very hard for many to remain optimistic with the constant bad news engulfing us. However, I think there is good reason to believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we will return to some semblance of our pre-Covid lives.

I need to temper that with the second part of my New Year’s resolution: REALISM. Being realistic (accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly) is particularly important in these uncertain times. To be both optimistic and realistic requires GRIT, the third element of my resolution. Grit is a strength of character and it is exactly that degree of perseverance that is needed to succeed in defeating this virus.

Finally, the fourth part of my resolution is to embrace PATIENCE. We are all living through a pandemic for the first time and are simply doing our best. Undoubtably, we will stumble along the way and learn from our mistakes. We need to be patient with ourselves and others as we navigate through these uncertain times.

But, with optimism, realism, grit, and patience, I know that we can all continue to focus on the joy and positive aspects of daily life – even when all around us may seem so dark. There is light, and we can, with the right mindset, stay focused on that.

So, it is appropriate to not only wish you a healthy and happy New Year but to remind you with my optimism, realism, grit and patience of the likelihood that 2021 WILL BE a better year than the last.

Happy New Year

By Steve Lasin, MD

January 11, 2021