Your Downsized Resolutions for 2021


Welcome. It’s nearly one week into 2021, and while the challenges of last year persist, we’re looking, when we can, to the new year’s potential. I glimpsed it in “The Man Who Turned Credit-Card Points Into an Empire,” a beautifully written and very entertaining piece from The Times Magazine by Jamie Lauren Keiles about Brian Kelly, a.k.a. “The Points Guy,” the loyalty-program guru who helps travelers alchemize their passively accrued Visa points into luxury getaways. (Jamie’s profile of Adam Sandler, from 2019, is also a tremendous read.)

Reading your downsized resolutions, the tiny, achievable ways that you’re planning to do things differently this year, was inspiring, too. Whether vowing to go outside each day or decline plastic utensils and straws when picking up takeout, many of us are betting that small changes to our habits can have real benefits. Here’s a handful of resolutions At Home readers sent in:

  • Go vegan one day a week. —Liani, 22, London

  • My tiny New Year’s resolution is to compost daily. —Phuong, 48, Vienna, Va.

  • I will learn how to graft tomato rootstock so I can grow and harvest lots of heirloom tomatoes. —Raphael, 76, Albuquerque

  • Eat something green every day! —Kim, 69, Menlo Park, Calif.

  • One of my goals this year is to improve my English skills, hoping one day I can work for an international company. So my daily resolution will be to read at least one full article from The New York Times and to listen to The Daily while commuting. —Daniel, 28, Madrid

  • One of my favorite takeout dishes is mapo tofu, and I’ve tried to make it but it always turns out underseasoned. I’m excited to to build out my spice cabinet and learn how to make this properly at home! —Elissa, 34, Minneapolis

  • As the primary caregiver for my husband, I don’t get out very much. My resolution is to go outside every day, even if it’s only for 5 minutes. —Terry, 69, Stamford, N.Y.

  • My resolution is to be dressed by noon each day. Small and achievable. —Jean, 68, St. Louis

  • I resolve to put my phone down when I am with my kids. —Joshua, 39, Kalamazoo, Mich.

  • Turn down or return straws and/or plastic utensils for my takeouts to reduce the consumption of one-time-use plastic. —Khoo, 42, Seattle

  • My manageable resolution for 2021 is to learn to play the new Billie Eilish James Bond theme song on the piano. —Julia, 50, Indianapolis

  • I will only wear comfortable shoes. —Kathy, 52, Cooperstown, N.Y.

  • I have really been enjoying dancing as a way to feel invigorated and alive each day. Just one song each day that I dance and move my body to. A reminder that I’m still here and I can still experience joy. —Poonam, 34, Dallas

If you’re still looking for ways to make some changes, check out The Times’s Well newsletter, where Tara Parker-Pope is leading a seven-day wellness challenge for the new year. It’ll definitely get you started.

If you’d prefer something soothing, let me draw your attention to the back catalog of “The Love Boat,” ten seasons of which are available for streaming on CBS.

I also loved Danyel Smith’s reflections on the musician Sade and her continued relevance.

You might put on “Lovers Rock” and play with this hypnotic app that generates pleasing combinations of colors with names like “Sleepless Blue,” “Jellyfish Sting” and “Columbo’s Coat.”



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