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What were the resolutions you made for 2020?

To get in shape? To lose weight? To spend more time with family?

We actually talked about this very topic back in January here on our blog, outlining some of the top resolutions people were making for 2020. But then…2020 didn’t really go quite like anyone expected, and it’s very likely your resolutions — like many of ours — fell by the wayside in the wake of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Who really was able to think about eating more vegetables in the face of everything going on?

And now here we are again, with 2021 right around the corner, and the question is: how will a year like 2020 affect how we think about our goals and resolutions for the coming year? After all, there’s a lot of hope and optimism riding on 2021 as COVID-19 vaccines start receiving FDA approval and rolling out across the country.

But the anxiety and experience of living through this year — with shutdowns and quarantines and canceled holidays — have definitely left a mark. A recent poll conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Affirm found that 65% of Americans who responded said that they’re abandoning traditional new year’s resolutions after the stress of this year, instead choosing to think of it more like setting intentions.

The overall focus of these intentions is shifting, too. More material concerns like building up a gym habit or losing a few pounds aren’t ranking as high on the list anymore, replaced instead with a focus on learning life skills or expanding their practical experiences.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the main goals Americans are pursuing for 2021:

  • Saving money for the future and improving their financial situation — The survey found that 62% of respondents want to build up their savings, which is unsurprising considering how hard so many were hit financially by the pandemic-driven economic downturn. An experience like this can make a dramatic impact on how we think about and plan for the future. In a lot of cases, this desire to get into a better place financially will lead people to pursue career advancement or a total career change. One in a growing field — like information technology or healthcare — that better weathered the economic storm. Career education will be vital in helping many of these workers make the jump to a more secure career path.
  • Learning a new skill — With so many people being asked to stay at home as much as possible, it’s natural that many of us got a little stir-crazy and started to do things to stay busy, like develop a sourdough starter or take up knitting. That new desire for education is still hanging around, with 51% of survey respondents planning to learn a new skill in 2021. For many, this may just be a hobby, but a number of Americans have rediscovered the joy of having a hands-on, tangible skill that keeps them busy and working. Education that further develops these proficiencies may even lead to new job opportunities in everything from the trades to the tech world.
  • Cultivating meaningful experiences — If you ask what people are most looking forward to when the world goes “back to normal,” you’re likely to get a lot of responses that circulate around who they want to see or where they want to go. In fact, the survey found that 68% of respondents want to focus on experiences over stuff in the new year, like spending time with family (53%) or traveling more (49%). We’ve learned the value that comes with having time to live our lives, being with the people we love and seeing those things we’ve always wanted to see, and we don’t want to take that for granted anymore. This one, in many ways, goes hand-in-hand with the first goal, too, because having the right job that gives us financial security and more time in our day-to-day lives makes it more possible for us to focus on cultivating these experiences.

Whatever your resolutions or intentions for 2021, the fact of the matter is that this year has made a big impact on how many look at our lives and our goals moving forward. We want more for ourselves and more for our families, and we’re ready for the chance to pursue them in the months ahead.

If one of your goals is to build a more secure future in a better career, now is a great time to reach out to us at Vista College about how our career education programs might make a difference in your life.

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