Goodbye 2020: Practical resolutions for a very different year

By Emen8, updated 2 months ago in Health / Mental wellbeing

two happy guys with vibrant tops lean back to back laughing

Boys. It’s finally over. We have nothing to add to the general consensus on 2020, except to say ‘Bye, Felicia’. It’s very nice to be looking ahead to a different year.

We are already a month into 2021, and for some of us our New Year’s resolutions fell by the wayside on the 2nd of January. It’s been a struggle trying to keep normal routines, let alone make plans for the future.

As we all get used to the idea that this year is going to be different, maybe it’s also time to rethink this year’s commitment to ‘new year, new you’ – getting in touch with the ‘old you’ might be more important. Rather than signing on for a smoothie diet or deleting Grindr (again), this year we’re putting forward for your consideration some more practical and (hopefully) sustainable resolutions.

1. Find a fitness routine that works for you long-term

If you managed not to put on weight and/or lose fitness during 2020, stop reading now, you gorgeous unicorn. For everyone else, it’s the perfect time to find some practical ways to look after your body in a COVID-normal world. It might be a team sport, walking with a friend, classes at the gym or CrossFit… but choose something you’ll be able to stick to.

Hate early mornings? Boot camp isn’t for you, but jogging on your lunch break might be. Enjoy socialising while you exercise? Try an LGBT sports club (if local COVID restrictions permit). This isn’t about setting ideal goals for weight loss or muscle gain. Instead, it’s about finding ways to exercise that you will enjoy to the point that you keep doing them.

2. Reassess what you eat and drink

For many of us, the fastest way to a six-pack in 2020 was to order one with our family-size stuffed-crust meatball pizza. If you’ve let your nutrition slide, the New Year is a good time for a step-change. The excesses of Christmas and New Year’s Eve are done, and you’ve got the chance to establish some healthier eating patterns.

Again, this isn’t about setting strict goals or calorie counting – it’s about turning around the slow creep of bad habits. Start with small, achievable steps like cooking instead of ordering food one extra night per week, and try to moderate your alcohol intake.

3. Take care of your mental health

The COVID kilos aren’t the only baggage we’ve picked up in 2020. There are a lot of us who just aren’t feeling like ourselves after a trash fire of a year, and others living with existing mental health issues which only got harder to manage during the pandemic.

If you haven’t been giving your mental health the attention it needs, the start of a new year is a good time to set up a proper mental health plan — now 20 sessions a year are covered under Medicare. There are lots of ways to get information online (through your local LGBTI health organisation, Movember or Beyondblue). A chat with your doctor is a great place to start.

4. Work out a sexual health plan

If you’re a single or non-monogamous guy, your sex life has probably been disrupted over the past year. With various lockdowns and bans on travel, parties, bars, clubs and saunas – as well as curfews in some places – it hasn’t always been possible to meet guys. Your regular visits to the doctor for STI testing, HIV check-ups and PrEP prescriptions may have gotten out of rhythm too.

For 2021, why not take a fresh look at your sex life and work out a sexual health plan that will work for your new normal? Assess how often you’re having sex, your number of partners and whether you’ve got plans to get amongst it in the future (ahem Mardi Gras), and take a look at the different options to protect against STIs and manage your HIV risk.

And remember, things have changed in the world of HIV prevention – there are now new ways to use PrEP, which give you more flexibility than ever before.

There are new ways to use PrEP in Australia! | Emen8

On-demand PrEP is great for one-off encounters or hook-ups with at least two hours’ notice. If you’re planning to get busy over a finite period like a holiday or Pride month, then periodic PrEP may be more your style. And if you want the peace of mind of 24-hour HIV protection, daily PrEP could be right for you.

As always, have a chat with your doctor about what’s best for your circumstances, and treat yourself to a full STI screening while you’re there. Find sexual health services near you with our quick and easy interactive map.

5. Make time to work on your relationships

If there’s one thing we’ve all relied on this year, it’s PornHub our relationships. But despite all the Zooming and Skyping, it’s also been surprisingly easy to fall out of touch when you don’t see your friends and family as often as you used to.

In 2021, consider making a point of checking in with the people in your circle you might have drifted away from. This is an especially good idea if they’ve been affected work-wise by the pandemic, if they have kids, or if they live overseas (or in Victoria). A little chat and a friendly face can make all the difference.

6. Get your work/life balance back

If your working life has been disrupted over the past year, it might be worth looking at your work/life balance and how it’s changed. Getting some routine back into your life can help with your productivity at work and your general enjoyment of your down time – everyone wins!

If you’ve been working from home, check that you’re getting enough separation between work time and home time – that means no emails after hours and no laptops in the bed. Finding a hobby that you enjoy (preferably not screen-related) can also help you switch off from work and genuinely relax. And don’t forget about your sleep cycle – during the week you should be getting a full eight hours of sleep every night, not passing out in front of YouTube at 3am.