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Good morning and happy new year If you’ve made resolutions for 2021, we’ve got tips on how to keep them.
Last night, mostly in muted celebrations, people around the world said goodbye to a difficult year and rang the doorbell in 2021. We hope your night was meaningful and enjoyable in its own way.
We’re keeping it a little shorter today. Below, of course, we get the latest news and some readings that can brighten your day. (There’s llama news!) We also have tips on how to keep your resolutions for 2021, if you have made any. A snack: don’t be too hard on yourself.
A morning reading: Search parties, infrared drones, and sniffer dogs have spread across Westchester County, NY this week. They were looking for Gizmo, a missing lama.
Modern love: A writer has a five-week first date – on a ship headed for Antarctica.
Lived life: Born in London and raised on Long Island, Daniel Dumile – the masked rapper known as MF Doom – has died at the age of 49. After growing up with early hip-hop influences, he built a lasting underground fan base on -Book Persona with his edgy pun and comic book.
We lost: From the pandemic to racial justice protests to the Supreme Court, the news in 2020 seemed like death. Articles by William McDonald, editor of the Times Obituaries, and Daniel J. Wakin, who publishes the Times obituary project “We Lost”, look back on the year.
New Year’s resolutions starter pack
New Year’s resolutions can be difficult to keep. Most people give up theirs by February, studies show. Here is some advice if you are determined to set a goal and achieve it in 2021.
Make it specific and realistic. “Resolutions are usually too big without thinking about whether they are practical or even possible,” says our colleague Tara Parker-Pope. The decision to exercise more is a vague decision, but the decision to add five or ten minutes to any workout is measurable.
If you find yourself recycling a target from years past, consider why it doesn’t stick. “The ‘I’m going to lose weight’ resolution doesn’t address the underlying question of why your diet isn’t as healthy as you’d like it to be,” says Tara. “Maybe the solution should be, ‘I’ll stop buying packaged snacks and snacks on fruits and vegetables instead.'”
Spares you If the thought of making ambitious resolutions feels overwhelming, shrink them into smaller yet satisfying goals. “It’s still important to celebrate that you are working towards positive change,” writes Christina Caron of The Times.
Consider making positive change a longer-term habit starting in 2020. The pandemic will shape a large part of 2021. But even after they finish, you may want to build on new habits you’ve developed, whether it’s cooking healthier meals or spending more time on self-care. “These things were in the foreground during the life of the pandemic,” says Tara. “We should keep them in the post-pandemic life.”
Today begins a seven-day challenge for Tara and her colleagues at the Well Desk to build positive habits in 2021 and beyond. Today’s challenge is to make gestures of gratitude – like giving bigger tips for delivery staff or appreciative texts to friends – a regular part of your day. Sign up for the Well newsletter to get the next challenge in your inbox.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook
The pangrams from yesterday’s Spelling Bee were Hotline and Neolith. Today’s puzzle is up – or you can play online if you have a game subscription.
Here’s today’s mini crossword and a clue: Julie Andrew’s role in “The Sound of Music” (five letters).
Thank you for spending part of your morning with The Times. David Leonhardt will be back on Monday. – The morning team
PS A New Years fact courtesy of @NYTArchives: The New York Times invented the Times Square Ball Drop in 1907.