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There may be a light at the end of this quarantine tunnel, but we can’t exactly tell how close or far it actually is. However, 2021 is here and ready to bound over the incredibly low bar that 2020 has set… which included many lows and no bars.

We’re tired. We’re poor. We’re huddled masses yearning to breathe free. But in the Rockwellian spirit of America, we persist because we have been told that this is the way.

If I’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s that I am not going to wait and trust that in time, everything will work itself out for us. If I want a better year, I am ready to act it into reality. And you can too!

Here are 11 simple New Year’s Resolutions that anyone can do—no matter your abilities, willpower, or budget—to make life a little better for yourself and those around you. Feel free to adopt as many as you like and supplement them with more personalized actions.

1. If you see some trash, pick it up and throw it away.

You want a Green New Deal but those pesky politicians won’t be held accountable? Well why not a grassroots effort where you pick up things you see on the grass and put them into an actual trash can? It’s easy, selfless, and you can get one of those mechanical arm things if you get really into it. You may not be able to clean up all the pollutants, but you can do something to make your neighborhood better. Trust us, if you don’t do the dirty work… no one else will.

2. Hold a door for someone.

When, in the history of your life, has the extra 5 to 10 seconds it takes to hold a door for someone with their hands full, ever made you so late you couldn’t overcome it? Since you are reading The Prompt Magazine, I am going to guess a whopping zero times.

3. Spend 1 day of the next 365 volunteering.

More people need help than ever. Everyone can spend at least one full day doing something for others.

4. Ask questions.

I’m not trying to be snarky. We live in a big, scary, and changing world that is often confusing. Asking questions is the best way to get answers about the things you don’t know. Just make sure your question is authentic and respectful and not one of those NewsMax, “Did Señorita Kamala Harris brainwash Joe Biden to do her bidding? We don’t know, we’re just asking questions…” kind of ways.

5. Put away your shopping cart.

Here’s who benefits when you just leave your shopping cart next to your car: you. Here’s who benefits when you put your shopping cart back into the designated area: the next person who parks in your spot, your parking lot neighbors, the person who has to collect all the shopping carts, anyone whose car the shopping cart may roll into, anyone driving past a wind blown shopping cart that is now stuck in the road.

6. Eat a little less meat.

I know this doesn’t help our image of being a neo-liberal commie blog, but I am not asking anyone to give up all meat or even a lot of meat. Just occasionally consider foregoing meat. There are increasingly awesome substitutes out there, including just eating old school vegetables. Do you already not eat meat whatsoever? Great. On to the next resolution!

7. Come up with a cool handshake with a friend.

Pick someone or a small group and develop a multi-step, fun, unique handshake. This is instant fun for you and anyone who gets to be a part of it. BONUS: you can even adapt to a contactless mode of salutation, if you are one of those people who swears they’ll never do a handshake again.

8. Speak up if something is wrong.

We are all afraid of being labeled as “difficult” or being confused as cancel culture enablers, but there’s a difference between speaking up and cancelling.

9. Read a book (or watch a movie or TV show) where the main character does not look like you.

You were already going to be reading or watching like that little #content piggy that you are! Pick something where you can experience a different world view or perspective. If you, like me, are a white dude, may I recommend The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (also available on streaming as a full length feature movie), or Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward.

10. Cheer someone on.

I know we aren’t all going to sporting events yet, but you can cheer people on in many other ways. You can tell your boss about the great and unnoticed work a colleague has done. You can shout encouragement out your window at a runner. You can thank a delivery person or let a frontline worker know how much their work matters.

11. Don’t Give Up

On that hobby or that goal or that positive headspace or that last sit up or whatever feels like it’s just too hard. You can do it, and it’s never cheating to ask for help.

The year 2021 will only be as good as you make it, so make some good choices. You got this!

Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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