New Year resolutions 2021: challenges you can still achieve while in lockdown - from eating healthier to spending less

The pandemic might put a halt on running marathons and travelling to idyllic destinations - but you can still challenge yourself with these resolution ideas

It's that time of year again, we ponder over our habits and routines and decide we will become an improved version of ourselves as of January 1.

But with changes to the way we live, how we work, and where we can travel to - it might seem pointless to set further goals for the year ahead.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

While it is perfectly acceptable to view the coming months as challenging enough without added pressure, here are a few ideas for how you can continue to develop and grow despite the ongoing pandemic.

You can still achieve your goals in 2021 (Picture: Shutterstock)
You can still achieve your goals in 2021 (Picture: Shutterstock)

Eat healthier

While you may be reading this as your dip your hand in the tin of Quality Street, slumped on the couch, 2021 could be the year you eat healthier, better balanced and home cooked meals.

If you have been furloughed or are working from home, the temptation to dip into the biscuit tin might be hard to resist.

On the other hand, you now have all your home appliances to cook up a healthier breakfast and lunch, as well as more time spent at home to prepare dishes.

If you are a parent, this could also be the perfect opportunity to introduce more family meal times and try new dishes with the kids.

Communicate better

You could be wondering how you could possibly communicate better when the world is seemingly at a standstill and you haven’t seen your friends or family in months, but this could also be the reason you make more of an effort.

2020 has allowed us all to discover new ways to keep in touch, as well as the importance of it. In years gone by you may have lost touch with old friends and family members, and been admittedly terrible at giving those you love a call or message.

If you can’t remember the last time you checked up on your mates, asked a colleague how they are, or phoned you folks, this could be the ideal resolution for you.

Smoke and drink less

Giving up on unhealthy addictions and habits is one of the most popular resolutions attempted each year, yet one of the hardest to stick to.

While staying at home more might mean you find it harder to keep your mind busy and ignore the urge to light up a cigarette or pour a second glass of wine after dinner, it could be easier to give it up now.

Shops are shut and trips out limited - so ask yourself whether the extra trip out to buy a packet of cigarettes is really necessary, or if that extra bottle of wine you’ve just added to your online shopping basket is such a good idea.

The extra effort needed to ensure you have these items in the house may allow you to stall before buying and have another think about your health and habits.

Shop locally

As businesses continue to struggle throughout the pandemic, you could make a conscious effort to support small businesses this coming year.

Small businesses have adapted in a bid to survive the economic downturn caused by coronavirus, and with Brexit looming, now is the perfect time to show support and buy your food, clothes, and gifts from smaller online retailers and individuals.

Many are now online or advertising on social media, and supporting locals also allows you to shop close to home - in line with government guidelines.

Find time for yourself

For some, this year feels like it only just started and now it's over, but for others it may seem like the year they thought would never end.

Have you been rushed off your feet with adapting to a new working pattern and routine? Did you spend the first half of the year homeschooling and finding new ways to keep your children busy? Did you leave no time for yourself?

Kick off 2021 by running yourself a hot bubble bath, or finally cosy down on the couch and turn on that Netflix series you’ve been meaning to start.

Or why not find one of the best winter walks in your local area and get out for some fresh air? There are lots of great places to discover without travelling far.

However you prefer to unwind, try to promise yourself at least one evening a week to enjoy time for you.

Spend less time online

As online working has proven to be the only way some workers can continue to earn during lockdown, many people will have taken time to adapt to new software, tools, and resources.

Others will have been furloughed and it could be too easy to lose hours of your day just scrolling through social media and news articles.

Therefore, finding time for yourself and connecting with others around you might have become less often and harder to prioritise.

However, with Apple and Android devices now giving users weekly breakdowns of their screen usage, you will be able to track how long you spend online and challenge yourself to spend more time reading, keeping active, and enjoying the company of those in your household.

Reducing social media usage could also support better mental health and reduce stress.

Spend less money

While you may have spent more than planned on online shopping, renovating your home, and buying loungewear in 2020 - this habit could now be left behind.

You no longer need to renovate your home, travel may still be restricted, and social events will likely take some time to be reintroduced.

Therefore, rather than tapping your card on the contactless monitor or typing in your pin to quickly spend a small fortune, the added stage of entering your card details could allow you more time to consider if you actually need to purchase the items in your basket.

Additionally, working from home could allow you to save on the price of coffee shop lattes, takeaway lunches, and commuting - and staycations and days out to local areas could allow you to save what you would usually have spent on travelling.