As we head into 2021, I am starting to think about my resolutions for the new year. Like many others, I feel like I did not accomplish everything I wanted to in 2020, but considering all the curveballs that 2020 threw at us, I think that’s okay. While I am deciding what my goals will be for 2021, I have been reflecting on the resolutions I have made in the past that really worked out well for me. Here are a few of my favorites:
Give one compliment a day.
This sounds simple, and it is! However, having this goal was a reminder for me to set the intention to be kind to at least one person every single day. Even on bad days. Even on days when I just wanted to be alone. And this turned out to be one of the best resolutions I have ever set. I tried to be very specific with the compliments I gave and always sincere, such as telling an airline worker how impressed I was with her poise and patience during significant flight delays that made many people angry. It turns out giving compliments feels just as good as receiving them sometimes!
Read 12 books written by women.
I set this goal for myself in 2019 and really loved it. My only parameters were that I needed to read 12 books and the books needed to be written by women, but that’s it! They could be biographies, novels, poetry, memoir – anything! I ended up reading a mix of fiction and nonfiction, old and new! I learned so much and enjoyed my year immensely. This year, I think I will set a similar goal, except instead of books written by women, I will read 12 books written by disabled people.
Have dinner with a new friend.
I am an extrovert at heart, but I still get nervous when it comes to making new friends. I don’t know why, but I am always anxious that perhaps people do not actually want to be my friend, so putting myself out there and intentionally trying to make friends is terrifying for me. It’s also really rewarding! I have incredible friends that would not be in my life if I did not have the courage to get out there and talk to them! For this reason, every year I set the goal of having dinner with a new friend. I think having dinner with someone can really help to solidify a friendship and I also really love food! Whether we go to a restaurant or have a picnic or make dinner at our houses, having dinner with a new friend is always one of my favorite goals of the year!
Donate a specific dollar amount.
When I was 26, I decided I wanted to be more intentional about the way I give back to the community. I had always given whenever someone asked me if I wanted to donate a few dollars to a veteran’s event or a children’s charity, but I never really set goals for giving. So, I decided to put a specific dollar amount on how much I wanted to give that year – it could be to a church, my niece’s school, disability rights organizations, animal shelters, or a mix of any organizations I wanted, but I needed to hit my goal! I was really happy at the end of the year when I hit my goal. I knew that I had helped many organizations that needed the money and it felt good. Every year since, I have increased my giving goal and met it! I love being able to give back. Remember, no giving goal is too small.
Visit five new places.
I am often juggling many priorities that keep me very busy, and because of this, it is easy for me to fall into routines. Just like it’s hard for me to make friends, sometimes it is hard for me to venture out and try new things! That is why I love to set the goal of visiting five new places every year. This goal gets me out of my house and gets me exploring everything the world has to offer in my power wheelchair! There are no rules on what “new” means. A new place could be a country I have never visited or it could be a nearby park that I have never been to or it could even be a restaurant or a coffee shop! The point is not for me to have to travel far – the point is for me to explore! This goal has brought me so much joy as I discover gems in my hometown and plan exciting trips to cities I’ve never been to before!
About Stephanie Woodward: Stephanie is a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab® and works as a disability rights activist. She has received many awards for helping communities become more accessible, as well as for her actions in fighting for the rights of disabled individuals as it relates to Medicaid and other support services. Click here to learn more about Stephanie.