After a rough 2020, teens challenge themselves

The new year represents a new start and since 2020 was such a rough year, New Year’s resolutions are peaking in 2021.

By Katie Silver, Junior, Ladue Horton Watkins High School

It was a year like no other. When a pandemic hit and shut down America in March, it discouraged many people who had been trying to maintain their New Year’s resolutions. However, 2020 also served as a learning experience and prompted many people to think about what they could do to better themselves in the next year.

With 2021 just beginning, many teens across St. Louis took those lessons to heart and established their own resolutions for the new year.

“My new year’s resolution this year is to make my bed every morning and to journal,” said Lila Goldstein, a freshman at Ladue Horton Watkins High School and a member of Congregation Shaare Emeth. “I wanted to start doing this in the new year because my goal had been to make my bed every day last year, and I didn’t do that. I thought the new year would be a good opportunity to try again.” 

Despite her excitement to better herself, Goldstein knows that resolutions can often be hard to stick to. Therefore, she decided that she has to find motivation every day. 

“I plan to stick with it throughout the year because I just got a new journal, so that’s some of my motivations,” she said. “Along with that I also just got a new bed. In my [school] Zoom calls it’s right behind me, so it has to look somewhat presentable.”

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Goldstein isn’t the only teen who found motivation from last year’s ups and downs. Parkway North junior and Shaare Emeth congregant Andrew Goldberg’s goal of being more social stemmed from his lack of socialization during online school.

“Usually, a lot of my social interaction comes from in-person school,” he said. “However, in 2020, a lot of that went away, and I haven’t been doing a lot to supplement that missing interaction. This impacted me in a negative way. I’m hoping that by being more social and talking to more people, it will not only make the people I’m talking to happier, but also help improve my mental health and make myself happier.”

Goldberg also recognizes that while creating a resolution is easy, sticking to it is the hard part. That’s why he decided to create a plan to stick with his resolution throughout the year. 

“I plan to set a weekly or daily goal of people to reach out to,” Goldberg said. “If on each day I reach out to one different person, I think I can stick to my resolution.”

Simple, small tasks such as making beds, journaling and being social can be important factors to a person’s mental health. However, a common resolution among American teens seems to revolve around physical health. Ladue junior and member of Shaare Emeth Marlee Singer is no stranger to these types of goals.

“My new year’s resolution is to exercise every day so that I can stay healthy and in shape,” she said. 

Like Goldberg, Singer understands that these types of resolutions can be hard to achieve without a more long-term goal. That’s why she thinks that it is important to have a support system.

“I plan to not only motivate myself but have my friends and family motivate me every day to keep me from feeling discouraged,” Singer said. “I think that this type of support is essential because resolutions can be hard to see through to the end of the year.”

Overall, while 2020 was a rough year, it will be remembered as a learning experience. We can build from it and take its lessons with us into 2021. 

“One lesson that I’m going to take with me is to not take anything for granted and to appreciate what I have in the moment,” Singer added.