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Even though 2020 is in the past, experts say it changed how we look at New Year's resolutions

"People are also moving away from more externally focused goals to looking at, 'How can I be more mindful?'" said clinical social worker Grace Dowd.

AUSTIN, Texas — The year 2020 transformed our lives in almost every aspect – even how we set goals and New Year's resolutions for 2021. 

On social media, with just a click and a quick search of New Year's resolutions, instantly you see the usual non-believers, people who plan to workout more and just plain old jokesters.  

But it's goals like these, where people are stepping back and reassessing their values, that Grace Dowd, a licensed clinical social worker, said she is seeing more of, even if people are not tweeting about it.  

"I'm noticing people are also moving away from maybe more externally focused goals to looking at, 'How can I be more mindful? How can I be more present? How can I be more grateful? How can I be more compassionate? How can I be the kind person to myself and to others and really looking internally?,'" said Dowd. "I think that, that's huge and that's important and very transformative."

Transformative accurately describes 2020. We went from shaking hands, to avoiding one another on the street and self-isolating. Things that were status quo, like walking into a restaurant without a mask on, were no longer.  

We also built resiliency and adaptability. According to a finder.com survey, more Americans planned to set New Year's resolutions for 2021 than in years past. 

Dowd said when setting goals, it's important to break them down into actionable steps, making them easier to achieve. Her biggest piece of advice is to be kind to yourself when making these changes. 

"It's always important to have compassion and kindness with ourselves as we try to pursue lifestyle changes or habit changes, because change is difficult and it's an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and grow from there," said Dowd.

Dowd added it is OK to not have huge goals this year; these are tough times and just know you are not alone.


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