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21 Things I'm Leaving Behind Going Into 2021

I don't know about you, but part of me still can't believe we finally made it out of 2020. We did it! (Pat yourself on the back!)

I'm grateful 2020 brought an opportunity for introspection and much-needed self-reflection. And although I may have complained once (or a thousand times) about staying home all the time, ultimately, a slower year offered the chance to get to know myself better. To understand which parts of my life are and aren't in alignment, and how I want years to come to look.

I put together a list of 21 things I'm leaving behind now that it's finally 2021 as I look towards a brighter, better, more opportunistic future. From trends to mindsets to unhealthy habits that no longer serve me, these are the 21 things I'm leaving behind.


Recovering perfectionist here! I used to think that striving for perfection was literally in my DNA. And while I've gotten better at accepting messy over perfect, the idea of perfection is one I want to leave behind in all areas of my life. That means no more re-reading emails to eliminate minor errors, writing until the first draft feels perfect, or telling myself I can't start a project until it's perfectly thought-out.

2.Attaching my full sense of purpose to my job

I've always felt like this partially has to do with being part of the purpose-driven millennial era (shout-out to all of my purpose-driven friends). But I want to find purpose in multiple facets of my life--my work, relationships, hobbies, and more, to support a more well-rounded lifestyle.

3. Clothes that don't make me feel good about myself

Perhaps one of the greatest blessings that came out of 2020 was being able to live in sweatpants and hoodies without judgment. And one realization I had as I browsed through unworn clothes in my closet is that I have some clothing items that don't make me happy or feel good or about myself. Whether purchased for work, for a special event, or because it looked cute in the photos online, I will no longer wear clothes that don't make me feel good or flatter my body type.

4. Obnoxious alarm clock wake-up calls

I despise my alarm clock! And for whatever random reason, 2020 was the year I realized that not everyone uses alarm clocks. (Shout-out to my mom and dad, whose sleep schedules are some of the most consistent I've ever seen without alarm clocks.) I'm leaving the blaring alarm noises paired with an adrenaline-filled morning behind and using a wake-up light, and hopefully eventually a natural rhythm that allows me to wake up peacefully.

5. Oodles of self-doubt

Hello, imposter syndrome! Aren't we all battling imposter syndrome to a certain extent these days? (Please don't tell me it's just me...) I will no longer question or doubt my ideas, particularly creative ones. And as part of leaving behind self-doubt, I'm also going to focus on eliminating the need for external validation to turn a "bad" idea into a good one.

6. Unnecessary wasted time on social media

Setting boundaries with social media was not a strong suit of mine in 2020, and I'm leaving behind the endless, for-no-good-reason, addictive scrolling behaviors. I'll be utilizing Do Not Disturb mode more, implementing Screen Time, and leaving my phone in a different room now and then.

7. Not setting healthy boundaries

Any other "Yes!" folks here? I've never been one for turning people down, asking for extensions on deadlines, or giving myself time to do what I want guilt-free. This year, and moving forward, I'm going to work on setting healthy boundaries that allow me to not only show up better but also help me refresh and reset.

8. Living for the weekends

Since graduating and entering the working world, I've fallen in and out of living for the weekends. And while part of this feeling comes from the routine of a 9-5, I am in control of my mindset. I'll be building more fun into my weekdays to give me more to look forward to.

9. Consuming dairy products

One body lesson I learned in 2020 is that my gut doesn't like dairy products. Goodbye, Sweet Cow milkshakes (unless it's vegan, vegan milkshakes are still welcome.) I'm going to work on cutting out dairy products as much as possible.

10. Going too many days in a row without wearing something other than pajamas

While I'm an extreme supporter of wearing sweatpants and hoodies without judgment (see #3), I also need to remember what I look like in "real" clothes every once in a while. After wearing lounge clothes for so many days in a row, I start to lose all motivation. A pair of jeans, some jewelry, and light makeup between sweatpants rotations is on my agenda.

11. Procrastinating to the point of agitation

Last year's introspection taught me that so much of my stress is a result of self-induced procrastination. I'm learning that there's a difference between functioning well under pressure and procrastination for no good reason other than to feel highly agitated. I'm leaving behind the latter for the sake of my sanity.

12. Sitting for too many hours in a row

Maybe it's because we spent so much time at home in 2020 overall, but I am exceptionally tired of sitting for too many hours in a row. I'm too young for creaking knees and lower back pain! (At least, that's what I keep telling myself.) I will make 2021 and years to come full of movement, stretches, and less time on my tush.

13. Others' expectations of me

This ties back to #1, but releasing the art of chasing perfection comes with leaving behind others' expectations. Think about it, if you're striving to be perfect, there's a good chance you're aiming for perfection based upon how others will see you. And the reality is that I spent the first quarter of my life trying to meet expectations that, quite frankly, I don't care about anymore. The only expectations I'll be fulfilling are those I hold for myself (and they won't include perfectionistic tendencies.)

14. Avoiding conflict that may end up being beneficial

Have you ever been in a situation where something someone said or did is bothering you so much that you can't stop thinking about it? It consumes your thoughts, rattles your emotions, and distracts you from everything else going on around you? And you know that deep down, you'd feel better if you said something to that person about how you're feeling, even if it was uncomfortable? Those are the conflicts I'll be pursuing in 2021, as I genuinely believe that sometimes confrontation sets relationships up for success in the long haul.

15. Not allowing myself to make plans during the week

At some point in my life, I learned and clung to the notion that I can't make plans outside of work during the week. I'm a creature of habit, but there are many hours outside of work on weekdays that I haven't been utilizing fully! I'm swapping social media scrolling and Netflix binges for more exciting, fill up my cup type of activities on weekdays.

16. Self-rejecting due to a lack of qualifications

In Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg referenced a study conducted by Hewlett Packard that suggested women apply for jobs if they meet 100% of the requirements, men if they meet 60% of the requirements. The statistic's validity is questionable, but I can't help but think about how many opportunities I've lost due to self-rejection. Last year I opened up a newfound sense of bravery and started putting myself and my skills out into the world, even when I didn't feel fully qualified. As a result, I've been able to build up my writing portfolio and social media toolbox (and made some extra cash too!)

17. Not going outside enough in the winter because it's "too cold"

I'm a born and raised Colorado native, and I have the utmost disdain for the winter. I prefer to observe winter and the snow that comes with it from indoors, which is an easy excuse I've been making all my life to avoid going outside during colder months. Not anymore. I see you, beanies, scarves, and oversized sweaters.

18. Not scheduling enough date nights

Date nights with my husband, my mom, and my friends consistently light me up. Sure, 2020 looked different and went entirely virtual, but whether virtual or in-person, I'm committed to scheduling more date nights with the ones I love most. And I'll throw in spontaneous date nights too!

19. Plastic bags at the grocery store, or any store for that matter

My reusable tote collection has grown tremendously over the years, but I'd be lying if I said I always remembered to bring bags with me to the store. I cringe at the thought of having to ask for plastic bags, and some stores have even started charging for bags, regardless of whether they're paper or plastic. See you never, plastic.

20. Not feeling educated or passionate enough to vote

I never, and I repeat, never cared about the significance of and power in voting until 2020. I struggled to pass political science in college, and I always felt overwhelmed by the amount of research it takes to make an educated vote. With extra free time on my hands, though, I realized that voting isn't as complicated or difficult as I made it out to be previously. And from now on, I'll always make it a point to participate in all elections.

21. Tiger King

Arguably one of the most significant entertainment distractions of 2020, I'm going to leave the chaos that is Carole Baskin versus Joe Exotic in the past. (Seriously, I can't imagine ever watching that show again. What even was that?)

If you know me, you know I'm not a fan of New Years' resolutions (if you want to change your life, you can and should do that any day!). This isn't a resolutions list, but rather, a list of ongoing lifestyle changes.

Now tell me, what are you leaving behind?

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