The holidays are almost over, and what is the first thing people always talk about when Jan. 1 hits? New Year's resolutions. I am here to tell you - just don't do it. Resolutions rarely work, and they sure aren't going to be a good idea in 2021. There are better ways and reasons to set achievable goals.
Resolutions imply planning or promising, usually in our personal lives. Here is what a resolution typically looks like:
I will lose 20 pounds this year and keep it off.
I will work out/exercise every day.
I will quit smoking.
I will join a gym.
I will get better grades.
I will spend more quality time with my kids.
I will declutter and get rid of excess in my house.
While all of these sound great when someone asks us on January 1st what our resolution is, they are very big statements. Usually there is no real plan in how to do them, and the resolutions themselves are made without much thought or a catalyst that makes us want to do them. The fact that it is January is not a real reason to start a new good practice or break a bad habit. We WANT to do these things, but what we really need is a better REASON than just making a resolution.
We also need to think about how disappointed we are when these little promises to ourselves get broken. No one likes an empty promise, right? So why make one to yourself? And just think about 2020. Plans and promises of anything were just out the window. We are also now very used to disappointment and have perhaps become callous about changing plans, no matter how important they seemed. Not doing our resolution is going to seem like no big deal.
So if we throw the idea of New Year's resolutions out the window, does that mean that we should just give up the hope of New Year, New You and all the positives it COULD mean? Not exactly.
We still need goals, but we are never going to achieve them if there isn't a catalyst for them. Why do you want to exercise every day? Why do you want to quit smoking or declutter? Is it just because it's the thing to do? Because people are always telling you to do it? Then those are not good reasons. You need your own WHY.
Maybe your WHY for losing weight is health. But what was the "wow" moment? Was it when you got short of breath chasing your child up the stairs at bedtime? Was it pain in your knees when walking? Why declutter? Have you run out of room for things in your house? Would it feel good to lighten up and straighten up? Do you really want to join the gym? Or do you really want to walk more outside or work out at home?
So, what is the no-resolution solution? Goals. Achievable goals that are smaller, smarter, and inspired. Goals are things that you should be able to evaluate periodically and adjust the plan for achievement, not abandoning them entirely because they just seem unattainable. Usually your goals appear to you when you want to achieve more and grow. They flow from the pen when the idea hits you in the head. Sometimes something happens to us in our lives that makes it undeniable that change needs to happen. These are the times to take stock, write down the goal, and then make a plan to achieve it. That might be in January, but it might not.
Don't beat yourself up for not wanting to make a resolution this year. Instead, wait for your WHY moment to happen, and then take it seriously. Achieving goals is about happiness because it moves us ahead. If you are looking for guidance on goal setting for the big picture, pick up Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals by Michael Hyatt.
Also, don't let the resolutions make you feel failure when there really isn't any. You can't fail at achieving something that really isn't important to you. And if you struggle with feeling like you need to change yourself all the time, take a look at Brené Brown's book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of You Think You are Supposed to be and Embrace Who You Are. This is about YOU not the calendar or what other people want.
Let's work toward a better tomorrow and a happier 2021. Achieving your small, smart, personal goals can make that happen. Happy New Year!
Lisa Leuck, author
I am a trainer, a coach, a tutor, and a business owner, but more importantly I am a mother, a wife, a mentor, a sister, and a child. I am like you, and I want you to reach your full potential. I want you to have your dream. I want you to feel fulfilled. I want you to seek and find your purpose. We can do it together.