Catch (20)22

In a new year and a pandemic, it’s possible to set goals and still have grace for yourself

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Have you heard about “Quitters Day”?

While most people begin each year fully committed to their new year’s resolutions, research has found many tend to abandon them by the third week of January. And, as someone who “I’ll go to the gym tomorrow”-ed myself clear up to June once, I get it. Old habits are incredibly difficult to break.

Add to that, we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warns of difficult weeks ahead. Though some may want to act as if things are business as usual, they’re not. We just watched how the Omicron variant forced many of us to do a complete pivot away from relaxed social distancing protocols. We are not okay and no amount of acting like we are will push us any closer to that falsehood becoming truth.

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That’s why we might want to reevaluate our goals for 2022 to ensure they are rooted in the reality of the moment we’re experiencing and allow grace for the fact that we’re very much still in the thick of it. As I consoled a friend who had become unrelenting in her self-criticism for gaining weight last year, I had to remind her that the body she was being so hard on was the very body that enabled her to live through another year of a pandemic. In an unprecedented moment where we have lost more than 800,000 people in the United States alone, perhaps a few extra pounds can be put into greater perspective.

But here’s the truth: we can know this and still want to shed 15 (or more). We can read about the economic impact of COVID-19 and still want to save an additional $500 every month. Some of us have felt burdened by unachieved goals for so long that we want to seize this time no matter what. And, here at theGrio, we get it. Enter Catch (20)22.

For the rest of this week and in honor of Quitter’s Day, we’ll be offering practical steps to strategize and approach your goals in healthier and safer ways. Instead of solely focusing on the weight you want to lose this year, let’s reframe the conversation to highlight the medical appointments you need to make to ensure optimal health or resetting your love-hate relationship with comfort food. While saving half of every paycheck may be on your vision board, committing the year to becoming financially literate just might save you more in the long run. Additionally, many have set resolutions to travel more and discover new hobbies. Maybe it’s time to explore the wonderful ways technology allows us to do that while remaining safe and as far away from variant surges as possible.

There are ways we can thrive and win while being realistic and refusing to set ourselves up for failure by leaning into unsustainable thoughts and unhealthy behaviors. And, even in the midst of cultivating greater discipline, there should be space for joy and pleasure.  

COVID-19 has taken so much from us already; it doesn’t have to take all of our hopes and dreams with it. While allowing ourselves the room to continue to adjust to our“new normal,” we can refuse the unrealistic expectations that suggest we’re only valuable and successful when we’re crushing above-average goals all the time. There’s a space—a healthy one—in between where we can do some amazing things. So let’s do them!

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