Reflecting on my 2020 New Year's resolutions and a couple other changes

I was reflecting on my 2020 resolutions, as well as some of the other lifestyle changes I made in my life during this year, and thought it would be nice to share my progress and my reflections on my blog 😊

For reference, here were my three New Year's resolutions for 2020:

  1. No substance use (including caffeine 😮)
  2. I've deleted the Facebook and Instagram apps from my phone, and would like to transition into checking social media platforms around once per week instead of multiple times a day. 
  3. Month-long challenges. (For instance, in January I went the month without wearing makeup or applying heat to my hair.)
The other two big changes that I made this year that weren't tied into my resolutions were becoming a vegetarian and limiting my online shopping, both of which I will also be reflecting on at the end!

No substance use

I would say that this was the biggest change that I made this year. I decided to make this resolution over the circling retreat I attended over the new year (2019 going into 2020), when I realized how important clarity was to me and felt inspired to make a big commitment to help myself by avoiding substances that regularly or semi-regularly detracted from my mental clarity in my present lifestyle. I was actually able to do this successfully with these two exceptions: I didn't factor in chocolate when I made this resolution, and later decided that chocolate would be an exception (although I avoided consuming it just for its caffeine content); and I also took some prescription painkillers when I got an IUD earlier this year (probably not worth it).

Was it hard? Starting with caffeine, I don't think this one was too difficult for me. After starting work in August 2019, I was starting to consume a lot more caffeine, but I think my (light?) addiction was more mental than physical. After stopping my semi-regular consumption of chai lattes and random carbonated caffeinated beverages, I remember, especially at the beginning of the year, feeling like I just had to accept that there would be some days where I would feel poorly and wouldn't be able to work effectively because I hadn't slept well the night before. However, since then, my sleep and relationship to sleep have improved a lot, and I don't often feel that way anymore and also only rarely even have the thought that caffeine would be helpful. Going forward, I plan to continue not drinking caffeine for wakefulness reasons, but will allow myself to occasionally drink it for beverage reasons (I miss milk tea and Thai tea 😭).  

Alcohol (and other party drugs)... This probably would have been more difficult if it weren't for... COVID. Even then, there were definitely several parties and hangouts when I felt so tempted to join in. A big one was actually the company retreat at the beginning of March—I felt SO awkward trying to socialize with many of my coworkers—but I stuck it out because of how strongly I remembered feeling about this commitment, and was still able to have a pretty good time (eventually). This change has helped me reflect on my relationship to not participating in substance use when most of the people around me are, but I think I still need to reflect more on this. Going forward, I'm pretty sure I won't consume alcohol anymore (although I have a lot of nostalgia for chill drunk house party vibes, as well as messy drunk club vibes, but I think I will still be able to experience those sober?), and I will be a lot more selective with the other drugs (party and otherwise) I take, leaning towards not taking them.

Checking social media less

This somewhat worked. I did delete the Facebook and Instagram apps off my phone, and would check my accounts on either the desktop sites or on mobile web. I feel like honestly the mobile web experience is so much worse than the apps that this alone mostly did the trick for preventing me from scrolling on them for extended periods of time as I had used to do. Something else that has helped me is logging off, especially on mobile web! However, I've been checking Facebook and Instagram more regularly than once a week (how often depends on the week, but sometimes I will check every few days and currently I'm checking multiple times a day). The time that I spend on these sites now is still a lot less than in the past, and I don't feel addicted in the same way that I was before. I think now, the challenge for me is to look more closely at why I'm going on these sites (and YouTube even more so, although that wasn't a part of this resolution) and to see if I can be more sensitive to those needs coming up and try to address them in other ways.

Month-long challenges 

I did this for a few months and then stopped because I didn't feel inspired once the pandemic started, and then never started back up. I don't feel badly about this though, and there aren't any learnings that stand out to me right now that I still remember. And as an aside: during quarantine, I started wearing makeup very infrequently (partially because I started breaking out a lot). 


This is something that I had also decided to do over that circling retreat, but I didn't make it into a resolution. I actually didn't end up fully becoming a vegetarian until several months into the year, but by now, I've cut all animal meat out of my diet. I honestly don't see myself going back, and I also do expect that at some point I will become more vegan as well. Currently, I have a hard time committing to becoming 100% vegan, but maybe that will change.

Limiting my online shopping

This honestly started because there was a month during quarantine when I was just doing a lot of online shopping. As a result, I instituted this rule for myself that I could only buy things online during the second and fourth week of each month. I could buy as much as I wanted to in person at any point, but couldn't shop online except during those two designated weeks. I did not expect this to help as much as it did, but I think it created a really positive loop with my growing interest in sustainability and minimalism, and I feel that my relationship to online shopping and materialism is much improved as a result. I no longer feel the same kind of urgent need when it comes to buying things. Now, even though I've stopped the second and fourth week thing, I will still usually take note of an item that I feel motivated to purchase and sit on it for some period of time before deciding to whether or not to buy it.

I feel proud of the progress that I've made this year, including with these changes. I have a few general intentions for 2021, but haven't felt inspired to make any resolutions yet! I would love suggestions of changes that have been really growthful for you or even that you've seen and felt inspired by. Thank you, and thanks for reading!


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