Happy New Year

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Good morning and happy new year. If you made any resolutions for 2021, we have tips on how to keep them.

Last night, mostly in muted celebrations, people around the world said goodbye to a difficult year and rang in 2021. We hope your night was meaningful and enjoyable in its own way.

We are keeping it a bit shorter today. Below, of course, you’ll get the latest news, and some reads that may brighten your day. (There is llama news!) We also have tips on how to keep your resolutions for 2021 if you made any. One takeaway: Don’t be too hard on yourself.


The Virus

One reason the U.S. is falling behind in its coronavirus vaccination campaign: Federal officials left much of the planning to overstretched local health officials and hospitals. “We’ve taken the people with the least amount of resources,” one expert said, “and asked them to do the hardest part of the vaccination.”

In West Virginia, 42 people who were scheduled to receive a vaccine mistakenly received an experimental antibody treatment instead.

The authorities arrested a pharmacist at a Wisconsin hospital and accused him of purposefully removing more than 500 vaccine doses from refrigeration, rendering them useless.

President Trump’s management of the pandemic — unsteady, unscientific and colored by politics — has in effect been reduced to one question: What would it mean for him? The Times’s Michael D. Shear, Maggie Haberman, Noah Weiland, Sharon LaFraniere and Mark Mazzetti spoke to more than two dozen current and former administration officials and others in contact with the White House.

Israel could become the first country to be completely vaccinated against the virus. Almost 10 percent of its population has received the first of two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine.

Some doctors in Britain said they would defy the government’s instructions to postpone people’s second vaccine doses. The government’s approach aims to give more people the partial protection of a single dose.


Senator David Perdue, Republican of Georgia, said he would go into quarantine after coming into contact with someone who had tested positive for the coronavirus. Perdue faces a runoff election on Tuesday.

Several Republican senators have criticized a plan by Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri and a group of House Republicans to object when Congress meets next week to certify the Electoral College results. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska called the effort a “dangerous ploy.”

Other Big Stories

The Minneapolis Police Department released body camera footage yesterday that shed new light on a fatal police shooting this week. The 28-second video shows a chaotic scene.

The hedge fund Alden Global Capital proposed a deal to buy full control of Tribune Publishing, the parent company of The Chicago Tribune, The New York Daily News and several other major newspapers. Alden, which controls a media empire of roughly 200 papers, is known for slashing costs in newsrooms.

Australia changed a lyric in its national anthem from “we are young and free” to “we are one and free” to recognize Indigenous populations that have lived on the continent for more than 60,000 years.

FarmVille, the simple but addictive Facebook game that took over social media feeds a decade ago, has shut down. But it lives on in the behaviors it instilled in everyday internet users and the growth-hacking techniques it perfected.

Morning Reads

A Morning Read: Search parties, infrared drones and sniffer dogs fanned out across Westchester County, N.Y., this week. They were on the hunt for Gizmo, a missing llama.

Modern Love: A novelist goes on a five-week first date — on a ship bound for Antarctica.

Lives Lived: Born in London and raised on Long Island, Daniel Dumile — the masked rapper best known as MF Doom — has died at 49. Having grown up steeped in early hip-hop influences, he built a lasting underground fan base with his offbeat wordplay and comic-book persona.

Those We’ve Lost: From the pandemic to racial justice protests to the Supreme Court, the news in 2020 seemed shaped by death. Articles by William McDonald, The Times’s obituaries editor, and Daniel J. Wakin, who edits the Times obituary project Those We’ve Lost, look back on the year.

Subscribers help make Times journalism possible. To support our efforts, please consider subscribing today.


New Year’s resolutions starter pack

By Ian Prasad Philbrick

New Year’s resolutions can be difficult to keep. Most people abandon theirs by February, studies show. So here’s some advice if you’re determined to set — and meet — a goal in 2021.

Make it specific and realistic. “Resolutions tend to be too big without any thought about whether they are practical or even possible,” says our colleague Tara Parker-Pope. Resolving to “exercise more” is vague, but resolving to add five or 10 minutes to each workout is measurable.

If you find yourself recycling a goal from years past, consider why it didn’t stick. “The resolution ‘I’m going to lose weight’ doesn’t address the underlying issue of why your diet isn’t as healthful as you want it to be,” Tara says. “Maybe the resolution should be: ‘I’m going to stop buying packaged snack foods and snack on fruits and vegetables instead.’”

Go easy on yourself. If the thought of setting ambitious resolutions feels overwhelming, downsize them into smaller but still satisfying goals. “It’s still important to celebrate that you’re working toward making a positive change,” writes The Times’s Christina Caron.

Consider turning a positive change from 2020 into a longer-term habit. The pandemic will still shape much of 2021. But even after it ends, you may want to build on new habits you’ve developed, whether it’s cooking healthier meals or devoting more time to self-care. “Those things were all front and center during pandemic life,” Tara says. “We should keep them in post-pandemic life.”

Today kicks off a seven-day challenge from Tara and her colleagues on the Well desk to help build positive habits in 2021 and beyond. Today’s challenge is to make gestures of gratitude — like giving larger tips for delivery workers or appreciative texts to friends — a regular part of your day. Sign up for the Well newsletter to receive the next challenge in your inbox.


What to Cook

Something simple and satisfying to kick off the new year: maple baked salmon.

Tune In

Tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern, “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” will debut as a virtual benefit performance, with Tituss Burgess starring as Remy the rat. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how it came together.

On Demand

The critic Elisabeth Vincentelli watched a dozen Bruce Willis movies from the past five years, and patterns emerged. “I saw more shootouts than I could count,” she writes.

Now Time to Play

The pangrams from yesterday’s Spelling Bee were hotline and neolith. Today’s puzzle is above — or you can play online if you have a Games subscription.

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Julie Andrews’s role in “The Sound of Music” (five letters).

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. David Leonhardt is back on Monday. — The Morning team

P.S. A new year’s fact, courtesy of @NYTArchives: The New York Times invented the Times Square Ball Drop in 1907.

You can see today’s print front page here.

There’s no new episode of “The Daily” today. On “The Argument,” Opinion writers discuss how 2020 changed their minds and offer hopes for 2021.

Claire Moses and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at [email protected].

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