HAPPY 2021!

The new year is the perfect time for reflecting on what you want out of life and for taking intentional steps to create your future. This can be done in the form of a New Year’s Resolution. It is an opportunity to think about engaging in new behaviors and routines that can help you grow psychologically, emotionally, socially, or physically.

According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, people who make a New Year’s Resolution are 10 times more likely to actually change their behavior than people who don’t make a yearly goal. This means that the idea of a “fresh start” can really spur you on to make positive changes in your life.

Here are ideas for New Year’s resolutions for 2021 that may speak to you:

1) Love YOU more!

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” —Oscar Wilde, writer

An example of a New Year’s Resolution designed to increase self-love is the practice of daily affirmations. These are positive phrases or statements that are used to challenge negative or unhelpful thoughts. Practicing positive affirmations is actually rather simple; all you need to do is pick a phrase and repeat it to yourself.

One strategy is to write your affirmation, such as “I am a kind person” on a post-it note and put it up on your bathroom mirror where you will see it every morning. This will remind you to say your daily affirmation. Some other examples of daily affirmations are, “I am brave” and “I deserve respect.”

After a few days of practicing your daily affirmation, you may be pleased to see that you feel more motivated, and you feel more positive. Good for you! You are now on your way to replacing negative narratives to more positive self-talk.

2) Challenge Prejudice in all Forms

“If I wait for someone else to validate my existence, it will mean that I’m shortchanging myself.” Zanele Muholi, South African activist and artist

Sometimes LGBTQ+ individuals feel different from their peers even if they know that everyone is equal and everyone deserves respect, love, and support. But bringing about the change needed to create a future where LGBTQ+ people do not feel different requires that the LGBTQ+ community and their allies speak up when prejudice exists.

Advocating can be scary and overwhelming. One strategy to help find your voice is to think about the people you care about who are being mistreated. Often, we find it easier to advocate on behalf of someone else rather than ourselves. Ask yourself what kind of friend you would be to someone who is being treated with prejudice – would you stand by them and stand up for them? You probably would! Practice advocating for yourself and your friends, and maybe consider joining an LGBTQ+ Advocacy group. You are braver than you think!

3) Face Challenges With Courage

“Once you have done something that you used to think was impossible, what could ever scare you again? – Elliot Page, actor and activist

We all tend to tell ourselves stories about how the world operates. This helps us to make meaning out of our experiences. But sometimes, without really understanding why we are doing it, the stories we tell ourselves are not actually true. We make the story fit the way we see ourselves as helpless or to describe an experience we found overwhelming

The good news is that we can all reframe the stories that we tell ourselves. One way to do that is to look at a situation as a close and trusted friend would view it. A close friend may find the situation stressful but they would encourage you by telling you that they believe in you and your abilities. The trick is to treat yourself as well as your good friend would do. This shift in perspectives is called “reframing.”

Reframing can help you to face challenging situations with courage. For example, instead of saying, “I can’t,” you can say “I am willing to try this.” Or instead of saying, “This is too overwhelming for me!” you can say, “I am going to just take this step by step.” Reframing can help you to feel more competent and courageous.

Happy New Year from Kaleidoscope! Every January brings opportunities for positive change, for new optimism, for fresh starts – anything is possible!

About the author

Jeri Rochman, JD, MA is the Program Director for Kaleidoscope and the very proud mom of a wonderful gay son. She is a National Board Certified Counselor, Certified Parent Educator and Trained Crisis Counselor. Interested in learning more about Kaleidoscope’s programs and services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.