'Believed in resolutions until the pandemic hit'

The beginning of a year has always been synonymous with New Year resolutions. It is when people leave behind their flaws and follies, and travesties and misgivings, and look optimistically toward a new dawn. In a strange way, this transitory period is empowering — it gives people the impetus to challenge themselves and do things they have never done before.

But the one thing that collectively challenged all of humanity last year, was the pandemic, which engulfed all of 2020. It made people cancel their plans, made them worry for the well-being of their loved ones. It changed outlooks, and naturally, it made people forgo some new year resolution(s), too.

Tasked with the enormous responsibility of doing away with 2020’s chaos, has 2021 given people a flicker of hope to resume their plans? And do they even believe in resolutions anymore?

Indianexpress.com reached out to a few people from across the country to find out what they feel about pursuing their personal goals.

Year of little travel

Bengaluru-based edupreneur Anna (28) had planned to take 12 trips in the 12 months of 2020. Unfortunately for her, only four of those trips happened — she could visit Meghalaya, Puducherry, Kolkata and Vattakanal in Tamil Nadu. “Three of these trips were from before the lockdown. 2020 has taught me a lot of things, mostly about perspective. It has taught me how to handle myself when expectations are not met because of unexpected circumstances. There may be a million reasons to crib, but we can look at the bright side and be grateful for good health, a solid career, food on the table, a roof,” she says, adding her only plan for 2021 is self-care. “I am not going to use the word ‘resolution’ anymore because it is unhealthy. You are robbing yourself of the opportunity to fail and recover. I believed in resolutions until the pandemic hit.”

Much like Anna, 31-year-old Priyanka from New Delhi had planned a few things for 2020, but the pandemic rained on her parade. “I love travelling and had planned an international trip. But because of COVID-19, everything came to a halt,” she says. “But, I feel I have now changed as a person, emotionally and physically. The things that used to matter earlier do not hold any relevance now. The best thing that happened in the last one year was that I accepted myself the way I am.”

Priyanka says she is “prepared for 2021”. “I started a small venture in December 2020; I am a home baker and have a page on Instagram @cravings_n_more_by_priyanka. So, I am hopeful about it…Otherwise my resolution will be to stick around.”

In Chennai, travel photographer and the founder of Madras photo Bloggers Srivatsan (30) had “planned to travel and explore northeast India extensively”. “But the pandemic rendered me unable to accomplish this. I’ve, therefore, pushed the plan to 2021 instead.”

Srivatsan, who has been conducting photography classes for over two years now, “for both normal as well as hearing-impaired students to help discover and promote their photography skills”, tells indianexpress.com he wishes to “identify and nurture 50 independent hearing-impaired students to become successful professional photographers by the end of 2021”. “Resolutions help give direction to our personal goals. If we don’t have any, we cannot use opportunities to gauge our own growth as a person, or help others.”

Spiritual wisdom

Serial entrepreneur, storyteller and writer Sudhanshu Rai (35) of Gurugram, however, feels that while resolutions are important, they must not be “confined” to be a yearly affair. “I did make a few resolutions, of which the foremost was to evolve as a better human being. I had also resolved to progress further on the path of meditation and breathing exercises. I was able to achieve them in many ways. I developed a sound-based therapy and participated in discussions around the same. As a storyteller, based on my enhanced imaginations, I launched some of my major stories, which eventually helped me start my own storytelling show on radio,” he shares.

Rai is of the opinion that evolution of self is necessary and it should be a priority before everything else. “People should try and evolve themselves physically as well as mentally, rather than only focusing their time, energy and acumen on materialistic things. Those who sought spiritual resolution, they must have achieved it as the developments throughout the year ensured we had ample time for ourselves,” he weighs in.

Weight loss and fitness

Gurugram-based Rupal Bist rues that she could not lose weight like she had planned, in 2020. “The lockdown happened and I was at home eating unhealthy food and binge-watching shows online.” In 2021, she hopes to undo it, by “learning karate” and “going on an adventure” with her husband. “The pandemic may have impacted people’s plans and changed resolutions, but it has also made them learn something new while at home. I have learnt that anything can happen to us at any time. So, one needs to make the best out of the worst in life.”

Professional goals

Makeup artist, beauty vlogger and content creator Aamirah (28) wanted to “create more content and makeup videos” in 2020, but the lockdown made it difficult for her. “It was challenging getting all the paraphernalia. I, however, resumed my work in the unlock phases, thereby achieving professional targets.”

Unlike Anna, Aamirah says “resolutions are important”. “Without them, we can’t achieve anything. I prefer to have short term resolutions/goals which are easily achievable and can give me a sense of gratification, too.”

The pandemic has made her learn “the importance of maintaining work-life balance, and taking a break from professional commitments whenever possible”. In 2021, she wants to “focus on quality content creation”.

Additi Jain (42) from Delhi wanted to start her own online clothing store IKI CHIC by the end of 2019, which she managed to do in 2020. In 2021, she wishes to expand her business. “In the pandemic year, I read a book called ‘Ikigai‘, which helped me learn and find myself. Resolutions are important as they help people do what they actually want to– be it a change of habit, or a dream, anything that brings positivity to life.”

2020 takeaway

For Nitin Latwal (28), co-founder of a New Delhi-based company, saving money and getting to travel again soon is the dream. “Resolutions are meant to be made and achieved. But, if there’s one thing that 2020 gave us, it was a chance to learn. It made us learn the importance of family, and it made us realise life can be lived on minimalism. Every year, we raise our resolution bar because that is where our capability works.”

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