8 Things We’re Removing From Our Lives so We Can Be Happier in 2021

Negative self-talk and imposter syndrome can go out with the trash that was 2020.

There’s a lot we’d like to leave behind in 2020: coronavirus (COVID-19), constant anxiety, political stress, the inability to see friends and family. However, we know the pandemic isn’t going to magically end at 12:01 on January 1st and we’ll have to endure much of this in the New Year, too. So, as 2021 approaches, we’re setting our sights on the things in our lives that we can control.

New Year’s resolutions and intentions (learn the difference here) are often focused on things we want to add to our lives—like plans to travel more, read more, learn a new skill, get a promotion, etc. While there’s nothing wrong with these goals, sometimes it’s the things we intentionally cut out of our lives—and our cluttered minds—that leave room for us to live more freely. And no, we’re not talking about cutting out sugar or carbs. We’re talking about things like negative self-talk, imposter syndrome, or following our exes on social media.

With many of our lives slowed down this year, we’ve had more time than usual to figure out what’s been bogging down our mental health or notice what we actually don’t miss from our busy lives pre-pandemic—and we’d like to share those discoveries. Below, read what some of the HelloGiggles team and our readers are leaving behind in 2020, so that we can all head into 2021 as our more confident, more genuine, and more unbothered selves.

I’m done falling into negative conversations about body image.

“With gyms closed and more time spent on the couch during quarantine, I—like many people this year—fell behind on my fitness routine. In turn, I started feeling bad about my body, the longer I sat at home binging TV shows and scrolling through Instagram, comparing myself to models. Over FaceTime, my friends and I commiserated about how we’d gained the “Quarantine 15.” But even though it was nice to know I wasn’t alone in my struggle, I never left those conversations feeling better. In 2021, I’m ditching negative talk when it comes to body image—internally and externally with friends. Instead, when I start spiraling into negative thoughts, I’ll remind myself of everything I’m grateful to my body for giving me—and encourage my friends to do the same.” —Claire Harmeyer, 23, Assistant Editor

I’m done caring about things happening at the ‘right’ time.

“If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that even the best-laid plans can go awry for reasons totally out of your control—and rather than stressing out about things not happening at the “right” times, you just have to go with the flow. This year, all my tightly-planned timelines regarding getting engaged, planning a wedding, and traveling with loved ones went out the window, and while it was disappointing at first, I realized after awhile that it was actually for the best. It made me focus way more on the present and all the good things that were actually happening in my life.” —Rachel Simon, 27, Deputy Editor

I’m done self-editing.

“The thing about being by yourself for days on end is—once you stop talking to the mirror—you have room to figure out who you might really be. I love crowds of people, but I’ve enjoyed getting to know who I am away from the public eye. Turns out I’m weirder, slower, and more fond of an ugly shoe and a Taylor Swift album than I previously allowed myself to be. I used to think I had to be a certain type of person with a certain set of visible tastes, but now I don’t care as much. If the clog fits, I’m just going to wear it.” —Danielle Fox, 27, Social Media Editor 

woman on phone

I’m done spending too much time on my phone.

“In 2021, I’m striving to put my phone down, and often. My screen time in 2020 was a bit out of control and I found myself picking up my cell phone hundreds of times a day. I could go hours scrolling on Instagram, TikTok, or even reading the news and not even realize until I was 40 minutes in. So, in the new year, I definitely want to try to be more present, in the moment and spend less time in front of my screen.” —Taryn Spiegel, 27, Pharmaceutical Sales Rep

I’m done letting imposter syndrome dictate my life.

“I was laid off unexpectedly in August. Since then, I’ve had many moments when I seriously doubted myself; doubted my skills that I gained over 15 years in a career I really enjoyed. I doubted my abilities and that I was in fact very good at what I did. After a lot of thought, I have decided to do two things. First, make a real effort to change my mindset. I am good at what I do, I just need to remind myself. So I am focusing on more positive self-talk and making a conscious effort to squash the negative doubts. Second, this year I’m going to focus on working as a freelancer. It will give me more control over what I do and at the same time, more flexibility.” —Katie Bromley, 45, Freelance Writer

“I’ve been working in a creative field for over eight years. I’ve done so much, and my portfolio shows me that every time I review it but, again, every time I get a new project, I still think: ‘I won’t be able to do that. My work is mediocre. People will find out soon that I’m a fraud.’ Although I achieved some goals in 2020—and I’m proud of myself, because this year was extra tough—next year I hope to shut this motherfucker impostor voice that keeps not only overwhelming me, but holding me back. In 2021, I will take the necessary action to reject imposter syndrome instead of being consumed by it.” —Larissa Xavier, 30 years old, Writer

I’m done comparing myself to other people.

“I’ve had a very bad habit of comparing myself to other people for probably my entire life. Whether it’s comparing my relationships to others’ or comparing my place in my career to those around me, it’s always been something. One thing I learned in 2020 is that my life is mine and that’s exactly how it should be. It doesn’t matter if I’m not going about things the way my friends are and it’s not a big deal if my career hit some unexpected bumps—I’m doing it my way and it’s time I embrace it.” —Hedy Phillips, 34, News Editor

I’m done following my exes on social media. 

“I don’t think about my exes often, that is, until they pop up on my timeline and then I fall down the rabbit hole of scouring their pages, getting sad about how everything ended, or comparing myself to their new S.O. 2020 has been the year of constant doomscrolling, and unexpectedly running into an ex online only adds to the negative, dread-inducing content that’s already abundant online. So, I’m hitting the mute button on all my exes profiles and leaving them in 2021—because my mental health doesn’t need any more of those unpleasant surprises. Of course, blocking is also an option, but muting allows me to keep exes out of sight and out of mind without them finding out.” —Morgan Noll, 24, Editorial Assistant

I’m done living without boundaries.

“My mental and emotional health has been negatively impacted by not setting boundaries in 2020. I moved in with my parents in March 2020 and even though I contribute financially to the household, I have allowed my parents to dictate how I spend my free time and shame me for following COVID-19 safety precautions. My parents have very different political ideologies than mine and it’s exhausting having to justify my leftist political beliefs, so I plan to set boundaries on how we interact. I will have to communicate my needs and expectations to my parents and listen to their opinions without allowing them to shame me for my own. Setting boundaries on social media is also important—and I don’t have to tolerate their negative comments on my posts. As more adults are having to move in with parents and relatives, I believe it’s important for us to not feel ashamed, guilty, or lose our independence.” —Logan R., 32, Financial Accounting 

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