I am not sure that I accomplished anything on my 2020 New Year’s resolution list (and that’s okay), but I know that it was important that I made one. New Year’s resolutions are an opportunity to set our intentions for the year ahead. I think that just by writing them down, we are in some way subconsciously more likely to implement them in our everyday lives, even if it is just in small ways. So I am continuing my annual tradition of creating New Year’s resolutions based on the teaching of the year prior. This is what I resolve to do in 2021, and I hope you’ll join me.
1. Support more BIPOC creators and entrepreneurs
I have always loved shopping small and supporting local. But if 2020 taught me anything, it is that we need to be doing more to support the BIPOC community. One of the many ways I can do better to support the BIPOC community is to be more thoughtful about where I spend my money. The Niagara Region is full of amazing BIPOC creators and black-owned businesses and just a quick Google search can help me find them.
There are fewer barriers than ever to supporting the talented BIPOC creators in Canada. And we would love to hear more about the black-owned businesses that you love and support!
2. Incorporating rest as part of my to-do lists
This year has been exhausting in so many ways. Even when everything is closed during lockdowns, I still somehow find myself with a mile-long to-do list every day. I often feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and underachieved. After hearing stories of parents homeschooling while working from home full-time and small businesses working double-time to stay afloat, I can’t believe that I didn’t recognize the signs of burnout in my own body.
I am not a parent or a small business owner, so perhaps I thought I had no reason to be exhausted, to complain, to not achieve everything on my to-do list each day. But, the reality is that everyone, no matter who you are, needs rest. Nearing the end of this year, I have already started this New Year’s resolution, but today I resolve to continue it. Rest is a priority which is why it is always at the top of my to-do lists.
3. Be a generous leader with my knowledge
2020 was a year of learning. I learned about working from home, being a better leader, trusting myself, taking time for me, and so much more. I discovered that there are ways in which I am a leader and never even realized it before. So now, in 2021, I was to empower and enable the leader in me to support others and raise others up into leadership – whatever that may look like for them.
With all the lessons I learned in 2020, from professional to personal growth, I have knowledge and experience that may someday help someone else through a challenging time. This year, I resolve to be generous with all that I learned and work to build community through leadership.
4. Be a better listener (and therefore better advocate)
At the YWCA Niagara Region, advocacy is a large part of the work that we do. One thing I have learned from working at the YW is that advocacy is a skill that’s learned and nurtured. First and foremost, advocacy starts with good listening skills. In order to empower someone’s voice, we need to hear firsthand about what is going to be helpful for them. We cannot assume we know what they need or what will be most meaningful for them in our advocacy. We need to listen to their story, believe their story, and be open to listening to their needs. Only then can we be good advocates for those who need our voices to be heard.
5. Forgive myself for saying the wrong thing and try to do better
The other day, I said something that perpetuated an anti-feminist narrative and my husband called me out on it. Right away he said, “that wasn’t very feminist of you”. It was… embarrassing (read: mortifying) to say the least. I thought about that moment for a long time and beat myself up for it – why did I say something like that? Is that how I really feel? Am I not a true and honest feminist?
After being far too mean to myself, I realized something: All my life, social influences have been encouraging me to think with an anti-feminist mind frame. It is the way the world has always worked. So now, to think and act with feminist, I am constantly rewiring my brain. The reality is that, even as a die-hard feminist, I will say and think the wrong thing sometimes. But I have since realized that these moments are actually just learning opportunities to rewire my feminist thinking so that I don’t make the same mistake again. I have forgiven my feminist self and that is progress.
This isn’t a comprehensive list of everything I want to accomplish, but it is a start. It can be daunting to set ourselves up with mile-long lists of resolutions – and it doesn’t always set us up for success either. But I believe these resolutions are reasonable, measurable, and actionable. Most importantly, I think these resolutions and impactful – for me and for others. So, if you’re looking to set some intentions for 2021 that will make your community a better place, I hope you consider some of the items on this list for yourself!