12 Bad Habits Readers Are Excited to Leave Behind This Year—and How They’re Doing It

published Dec 29, 2020
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Whether your sense of time crawled by at a snail’s pace or hasn’t stopped racing since March, the year of 2020 is almost, officially, a thing of the past. And while setting goals or drafting New Year’s resolutions might feel a bit pointless amid one of the strangest years of all time, the flip of the calendar undeniably presents an opportunity for turning over a new leaf.

As one year ends and another begins, we checked in with a few people from all over the world about the habits, emotions, and themes they’d like to leave behind. Ahead, find out what they’re parting ways with in 2020—and where they hope to be in 2021.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

“I’m ready to stop picking dumb fights with my partner. He and I have fought so much more this year in quarantine and we’ve been working on breaking through that. It’s hard because we’re both home, so we don’t get to ‘miss’ each other anymore. But we’ve been trying to communicate more, and give each other additional space so we don’t get underneath each other’s skin.”—Trevor, 36, South Carolina

“I’m trying to be less judgmental in the new year. I don’t like how the pandemic has forced me into judging people, from friends to strangers on the street. I’m constantly thinking about others’ behavior because right now, there is no such thing as ‘you do you’ when it comes to public health. When I see someone without a mask, I have an immediate judgement about what sort of person they are. It makes me feel gross.”—Erin, 38, Massachusetts

“I am a bit of an introvert and the pandemic has let me thrive in this regard. But next year, I want to push myself to be more outgoing and stay connected when it’s safe to start going out again. I am feeling a little stuck in a rut at home wearing yoga pants. I’d like to get back to wearing interesting clothes and jewelry, and dressing for being out in public.” —Maude, 65, Pennsylvania

“I’d like to leave behind the word ‘can’t.’ I’m trying to stop making excuses for why I might not be where I want to be and focus on hard work, blood, sweat, and tears. If you remove the word cannot from your vocabulary, the sky is the limit. The only thing to hold you back is the reflection in the mirror.”—Owen, 35, Virginia

“As a woman, a Latina, and a young adult, there are so many circumstances in which I’ve felt uncertain about my qualifications or inclusion in specific spaces. I want to leave that feeling behind. I want to work on recognizing that I am knowledgeable, I am in these spaces for a reason, I have the qualifications to be in the conversation and deserve to be in these spaces even if I initially doubt myself.”—Camille, 22, Florida

“I’m trying to stop anxiously biting my lips and picking dry skin by practicing mindfulness and progressive muscle relaxation exercises.”—Jen, 30, Massachusetts

“I’ve been feeling really unfulfilled in my work this year, so I hope I can shake that off in 2021. I’m actively applying for editorial jobs at magazines; this is what I originally wanted to do in my early career and I feel like I got derailed along the way. I’ve also never had a proper job with colleagues since moving to London in 2017, so I feel like I’ve been missing out on that sense of community as well.”—Iris, 25, London

“I want to stop procrastinating so much. Working from home has made it worse and I just leave everything until the last minute. I’ve been giving myself fake deadlines in addition to the real ones. That way, I get ahead of my own schedule and stay on top of my tasks.”—Jules, 27, California

“I want to say goodbye to all my anxiety about the pandemic. I’m immunocompromised and it’s really upsetting to see so many people disregard the health of people like me. I hope it will be better next year and I can worry less.” —Jac, 25, Washington

“So much screen time. Between COVID and the election, not to mention work Zoom meetings, I’ve been on my phone all the time. I’ve been setting timers on my phone to let me know how much time I’m spending on different apps, and trying to keep my phone in a different room in the evening. It’s a process, but I’m hoping to lessen the screen usage in the new year even more.”  —Kyle, 29, New York

“I’d like to stop being so reactive and being too hard on myself. I’ve been working on pausing and taking a deep breath before reacting, and being conscious of which emotions are a reaction or a projection first. I try to take my time and not be afraid to go slow or disconnect every once in a while. I want to practice more self-compassion and extend the same kindness I give everyone else to myself too.” —Jess, 29, New Zealand

“Putting off important doctor appointments has always been a bad habit of mine, and the pandemic has made it worse because I haven’t wanted to leave my house. I recently made a spreadsheet of all the appointments I should try to catch up on in the new year and have been going through one by one every few days and making them. Surprisingly it feels very productive!”—Becca, 44, Rhode Island