Here it is, the new year has finally started! We are happy to say goodbye to 2020 and start afresh with 2021. Even though it will probably be another challenging year around the world, there is something about January that makes us feel hopeful and makes us want to turn over a new leaf.

At Brooklyn School of Languages, we took the challenges of 2020 and turned them into a new opportunity: 2021 will be the year we launch ‘English Outdoors‘ – a unique concept to learn English while discovering more of New York City, to make every moment count! Sometimes something positive can come out of the darkness and we are seeing lots of interest in this new way to study and see the city, proof that it pays off to go down a different path and do something new.

But “New year, new you” is easier said than done. We have all been tempted to go for the big new year changes like losing weight, moving to another country, starting a business, quitting smoking or saving more money… These classic New Year’s resolutions are all great but often too hard to stick to and can end up making us feel down if we fail. Instead of setting ourselves up for disappointment, how about setting some small achievable goals for a change? Little adjustments to our behavior can go a long way in making us – and others – feel better.

Here are a few examples to make the ‘2021 you’ a better version of the ‘2020 you’.

1. Get organized. It can be decluttering your home (hello Marie Kondo), trying batch cooking or organizing the paperwork that has been piling up, but it will leave you feeling more in control of your life this new year.

2. Drink more water. Keep a glass bottle on your desk, by your bed, in the car… and have a drink of water every chance you get. 

3. Take the stairs. Each time you have a choice, choose the stairs over the lift, it’s one of the things you can easily change to be more active daily. New year, new healthier you!

4. Be kind. Always, to everyone. You never know what someone is going through. It’s not all about physical health, let’s be kind to each other and watch out for our mental health too.

5. Ask someone how they are. A neighbor, a colleague, a family member… and really listen to the answer. Someone to speak to might just be what they need that day.

6. Give back to the homeless. Not everyone can volunteer their time, but most of us can spare $1 or $2. If more people did this, it could be the difference between an empty stomach and a hot meal for a homeless person.  

7. Read more books. Smartphone scrolling and excessive social media are addictive and can negatively impact our mental health. Bring back the simple joy of reading a good book in bed, in the bath or by the fireplace! Bonus: it is also a great way to support your local bookstores.

8. Eliminate plastic. There are plenty of ways to use less plastic, but you can easily start by keeping reusable cloth bags handy in the car for when you go shopping, and replacing plastic water bottles and tupperware for glass containers in your home. You’ll be doing the planet a favor!

9. Spend more time outside. This has been hard to do for obvious reasons in 2020 but being cooped up inside can get depressing so let’s get back out there this new year to walk, run, cycle, or simply people-watch.  

10. Stop procrastinating. How satisfying is it to feel productive and tick something off your to-do list? Very satisfying indeed!

And if you need inspiration for a bigger objective – how about planning a trip to learn English in the most exciting city in the world? This will tick several big boxes: traveling, learning, or improving a language, discovering a new city, trying new foods, meeting new people, getting out of your comfort zone…

NYC and BSL are waiting for you in 2021! See you soon!