No Cookie-Cutter Resolutions: How 2020 Inspired my 2021 Resolutions


cookie-cutter resolutionsThank goodness 2020 is in the rearview mirror—sort of. I’ve written previously about why 2020 was, in some ways, a good year for my family. There were parts of 2020 I was grateful for. But, by and large, it was a difficult year, even for the most fortunate (like my family).

But there are still lessons I hope will stay with me. Forget going to the gym, eating better, or any other cookie-cutter resolutions. Sure, those are important things, too. But 2020 taught me there is a lot more to life than how I look, counting calories, or how great of shape I’m in (admittedly, I’m not in that great of shape, especially compared to where I was in my 20s before becoming a mom!).

In 2021, I hope to focus more on what matters most, even as our lives start to become busy again. These are my 2021 resolutions, inspired by the glimmers of light in the dumpster fire that was 2020.

1. Value time with friends and family. I’m going to let go of those who don’t truly hold a place in my heart because life is short, and time is precious. It isn’t worth wasting energy on people who don’t put in the same effort I do (or who make me miserable). Relationships should nourish you, not drain you. Not seeing people I love for a year has showed me who I really want back and those I am ready to move on from.

2. Be present, mindful, and make sure the time I spend with my child is quality time. When you are stuck at home with a toddler, you either pull your hair out or learn to take things in stride and focus on all the little lessons kids can teach us grownups. I chose the latter, and hope to continue that into 2021!

3. Live simply. There are a lot of things that it turns out I really don’t need. Take time to breathe and enjoy the little things in life.

4. Be mindful of how I impact the lives of others and the larger community. If 2020 showed us anything, it is that taking responsibility for ourselves can have a profound influence on those around us.

5. Acknowledge the privilege I hold, and use that privilege to be an ally for others.  

6. Pick up the phone. Send that card. Share that photo. Find ways to connect with those who matter, however and whenever I can.

7. Do what makes me happy. Life can change in the blink of an eye; don’t squander the time I have.

8. Don’t overschedule anyone in the family because everyone was happier in 2020 without the pressure of a strict schedule (of course, we didn’t have to manage remote learning, so take my statements with a grain of salt)! My kid will be fine if he doesn’t do every possible activity. Downtime is important, too!

Like every New Year’s resolution, I’m sure I will fall short. But heck, I am going to try! Here’s to 2021 being better than 2020!

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

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Erin is the mother of one sweet, rambunctious toddler and wife to a talented chef. Professionally, she is a former special educator and preschool teacher, and is currently a cognitive neuroscience researcher and Ph.D candidate in Cognitive Science in Education with specializations in neuroscience, cognitive development, and neurodiversity/autism. She holds masters degrees in cognitive science, and neuroscience in education, from Teachers College, Columbia University, and undergraduate degrees in special education (with an additional concentration in elementary education and a minor in English) and early childhood education. As the wife of a chef, food is a huge part of her family culture, and she enjoy both cooking and baking. Some of her other hobbies include hiking, traveling, jogging, meditation, animal rescue, playing piano and guitar, crafting, reading, and of course, writing. You can follow her parenting journey and pick up tips on great kids activities here on Westchester Moms Blog, as well as her website (, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts.