Good habits to pick up in the new year

Five meaningful habits to boost your happiness and well-being this 2021.

Sarah Chan

Likes museum trips and is sometimes artsy. Can be found in pattern prints.

Published: 5 January 2021, 3:40 PM

It’s a new year and time to work on that “New year, new me” plan. Setting a resolution might sound challenging but it can bring positive changes to your mental and physical well-being when you do see them through.

If you find yourself recycling the same resolutions from the year before or are simply lost on what you can do this 2021, here are five good habits you can pick up in the new year.

1. Reducing waste

After spending most of 2020 working from home, you might have started decluttering and realising that you do not need as much clothes or things than you once did before.

As you enter the new year, consider adopting a more sustainable lifestyle to become a less wasteful consumer.

Singapore generated almost 7.23 million tonnes of waste in 2019. Although it is an improvement from previous years, it does not discount the fact that our landfill is projected to run out of space by 2035 if no action is taken.

It is a grim reminder that our individual actions matter in closing the waste loop.

Changes in your consumption habits – like swapping single-use items for reusable alternatives – reduces what is being sent to the landfills, saves you money and is a habit that will ultimately contribute to the greater good of our environment.

2. Improving self-care

As you hustle and work hard in the new year, remember to prioritise time for yourself too.

Self-care is a conscious effort to keep your mental and physical well-being in check. Not only does it help you destress, but it also gives you the energy to keep going, which improves productivity.


Self-care is not a luxury but a necessity to make time for yourself. PHOTO CREDIT: ALISA ANTON VIA UNSPLASH


Engage in self-care by doing things that make you feel good. Exercise not because you want to look slimmer, but because it keeps you healthy and happy. Dedicate “me” time away from your devices and work emails to give yourself a short break from the stresses of life.

If self-care amidst a hectic schedule is a concern, use applications like Aloe Bud to set reminders or practice the Pomodoro Technique – a system alternating between 20-25 minutes of work and a short break in between – to manage your time better.

Self-care is about discovering what matters to you and going after the things that make you feel good. It might sound like a common new year’s resolution but it is an important one to start your year fresh and ready for what lies ahead.

3. Mindful eating

Aside from exercising and improving your fitness levels, what you consume can also bring about benefits to your overall health.

If you found yourself snacking endlessly and eating unhealthily previously, make it a habit this year to be mindful of what you consume.

You don’t have to cut off your favourite snacks or start counting calories. Rather, mindful consumption is about moderating your intake and nourishing your body with food that it needs to perform at its best.

Being aware of your diet gives you more control over what you consume and you can learn more about what goes into your food simply by learning to prepare your own meals instead.

Not only is a home-cooked meal healthier, but cooking is also a fun life skill that you can pick up along the way.

4. Embracing positivity

Despite the negativity surrounding 2020 and the constant worry about the pandemic, one thing that the year had taught us was to count our blessings.

Embracing positivity means that you don’t necessarily need a grand gesture to be content. But rather, being thankful for the little things in life and to live in the moment.

One way you can do so is by fostering positive relationships with others and surrounding yourself with people that matter. Learn to let go of grudges in the new year and start the year afresh on a clean slate.

If there is a loved one that you have not kept in touch with for a while, start making a conscious effort to check up on them. Who knows, a simple call or a handwritten letter can mean the world to someone else.


There is no right time to be happy. Seize the moment and practice healthy habits to embrace positivity. PHOTO CREDIT: BEKKA MONGEAU VIA PEXELS


Feel good about yourself by picking up a new hobby or doing something new to test your bravery this year. That dose of confidence is all you need to start living in the moment. You could even consider using your SingapoRediscover vouchers to sign up for an array of thrilling activities too.

5. Start a journal

Journaling is more than just a writing activity, but one that can facilitate mindfulness and help destress as you declutter your thoughts or feelings for the day with your own words.

Aside from the usual “Dear Diary” entries, there are different types of journaling that you can engage in. From daily journal prompts to gratitude journals, the type of journaling you choose depends on what you hope to achieve through this activity.

Habit tracking, for example, holds you accountable in keeping up with your goals while a gratitude journal focuses on being thankful for the little things in life to help cultivate a positive mindset.


The intricately decorated bujo (bullet journal) accounts on Instagram provide inspiration on how you can start a journal. PHOTO CREDIT: INSTAGRAM/@PENPALWMEL


All you need to start journaling is a simple notebook and 10-20 undisturbed minutes to focus on your thoughts, be it the start or at the end of the day.

If you wish to stretch your creativity, switch it up by using fancy stationery like washi tapes to dress up your entries. For the ones on the go, platforms like Penzu and 750Words offer a digital space for your entries without the hassle of carrying a physical notebook around.

Working towards your newly set goals requires patience and constant effort, so don’t fret if you do not see an immediate result. Find out more about how you can keep up with your new year’s resolution here.

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