Gearing up for the next marathon.

I am by nature an optimistic person, but I have to admit that 2020 pushed me about as hard as I’ve been pushed in recent memory. That’s probably why I greeted the dawn of 2021 with an almost superstitious sense of optimism — as if a single night’s sleep could make all the difference. With the arrival of vaccines for COVID-19 and the increased availability of rapid testing, it really did feel like stepping out from under a black cloud at last.

Then, after a week of sunny optimism, my cheerful resolve ran up against new and troubling headlines. Caught off guard, I started rethinking my ambitious New Year’s resolutions. And then, as I started to compare what I was feeling in that moment to where I was last year at this time, I had to laugh.

Is there anything more irrelevant than whatever we resolved to do in January of 2020? Most of our well-laid plans were quickly compromised by the pandemic. Spend more time at the gym? Nope. Take the stairs instead of the elevator? Not a thing. Spend more time with clients and people in the field? Not hardly. And the usual-suspects-of-new-year’s resolutions — weight loss, better diet, listen more and talk less — I’ve actually been working hard to adopt in the form of daily habits.

So here’s my 2021 resolution, and I encourage you to join me. Let’s do what it takes to restore and bolster our own resilience this year. And let’s nurture resilience in others. Face it, 2021 isn’t going to be a cake walk. It’s going to feel like another marathon run, and pacing ourselves, while keeping an eye on the horizon, is a realistic approach. A little kindness will go a long way. So will things like getting more sleep and spending less time focusing on headlines we can’t alter.

In her book, “Letter to My Daughter,” Maya Angelou wrote, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” That’s the banner I plan to carry into the new year — this next marathon. My resilience may drain more quickly on some days than on others, but I trust the people I run with to keep me moving forward. And I am determined to return the favor. Resilience is a gift, a promise, and a personal resolve we owe ourselves this year. We have a better sense of what lies ahead than we did twelve months ago. And whatever that is, let’s choose not to be diminished, but to pull together to see it through.

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