New Year, new you, right? Ahh…2020 has been a while ride and I am ready for it to be over and start a new year with a brand new list of goals I want to accomplish!
We all get excited to get a clean slate, to start over, and we think this year will be different. But according to U.S. News & World Report, 80% of us will fail our New Year’s resolutions. It’s hard to believe that 25% of the people will give up their resolutions merely just after the first week.
If that’s the case, then why do we keep making them only to keep failing year after year? Has it become such a norm that we don’t really think twice about keeping our promises to ourselves?
Why Resolutions Don’t Work?
We often set goals that are too high to reach and without a clear plan on how to tackle them. We have nobody to hold us accountable except for ourselves and we’re not always the best at that.
I will give you an example: Your alarm goes up in the morning. You don’t want to get up and go to work. But you force yourself to get up and go to work. Why? Because if you don’t, there are consequences.
Resolutions we set for ourselves don’t have real and direct consequences. You want to lose 20 pounds, but that pizza looks good right now so you tell yourself that diet can start tomorrow or whenever. Sure, they might be consequences down the road (obesity, diabetes, etc), but you can’t be bothered with it right now.
So it begs the question: What can we do differently this year to make sure that we achieve 2021 resolutions? After all, we can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
How To Reach Your 2021 Resolutions?
1. Learn From The Past
We can’t move forward until we learn what we did wrong. Now is a good time to think back to your 2020 resolutions and analyze why you weren’t able to achieve your goals. Here are a few things to ask yourself:
- Did you have too many resolutions?
- Were your resolutions too broad?
- Where did you struggle?
- Why did you lose your motivation?
- Did you have a realistic plan for your resolutions?
Knowing what went wrong or what didn’t work will help you tackle your 2021’s resolutions. For me, I just had too many things on my plate. I was being pulled in many directions that I ended up not really achieving anything I set out to do. My plate is still full or even fuller for 2020, but I’ve come up with a plan to tackle them.
2. Are Your 2021 Resolutions Realistic?
Most people’s resolutions are to eat healthier, exercise more, and save more money. While these goals are great in making you better, but you mostly will not achieve them unless you have a realistic plan.
Let’s use exercise as an example:
- How are you going to exercise more?
- How long will you exercise each day? (i.e. 30 minutes a day x 5 days a week)
- Will you exercise before or after work?
- When will your rest day(s) be?
- What kind of exercises will you do?
- Do you want to lose weight or just to be healthier?
Something as simple as “exercise more” is not so simple right? I set a goal for myself to do just 30 minutes a day before work and I follow a program. I don’t wake up wondering what I will be doing because I know exactly what I have to do. Without a plan, I’d be on my phone scrolling through social media.
You are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. I am a firm believer in writing down everything I want to accomplish and set a time allotment for each task. It can actually help with stress and anxiety because during that time frame- your only job is to focus on that one task.
3. Make Your 2021 Resolutions Visual
If you can see it, you can achieve it.
I have the attention span of a goldfish and get distracted easily. I have found over the years that writing down my tasks and schedule them can really help me stay on task and get them done.
For 2021, I am taking things to the next level. I got myself a corkboard to pin my resolutions and inspirations. Think about it – what better way to achieve your resolutions by seeing them every day. If you don’t remember your resolutions, how will you ever achieve them?
Here are some of the things I’ve done to help me remember:
- Write my goals in my notebook
- Post-it notes on my laptop
- Reminders on my calendar
- Vision board – this is by far my favorite. The board is big enough for me to pin multiple things (yearly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals, and daily goals). I also share it with someone else so that we can keep each other motivated.
4. If You Fail To Plan, You Are Planning to Fail
Benjamin Franklin said it best – if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Without a plan, how would you know what it takes or how much work it needs for you to achieve your resolutions?
Your plan should detail what actions you need to take to achieve and maintain your resolutions. The more detail, the better.
For my board, I’ve written all the things I want to accomplish for 2021. I then break it down to each month, each week, each day, and then by the hour. By assigning a time for my tasks, I realize that I don’t have much time or the task takes me a lot longer than I originally thought.
What I am doing differently this year is that every month, I add on a “challenge”. If you write 5 to 10 blog posts a month, you can make it a challenge to write 30 articles for the month. Next month, you can make it a different challenge (i.e. write 10 guest posts). A month is not too long of a time for you to get burnt out, but long enough for you to make a dent.
5. Set Smaller Goals
A year might seem long, but 2022 will be here before you know it and you will be left wondering “what happened?”.
To keep you stay motivated and not overwhelmed, approach your 2021 resolutions by writing down everything you want to accomplish, then further break it down to what you want to accomplish each month.
At the beginning of each month, write down your daily to-do list for that month.
What has helped me is assigning time slots for all the tasks, even something as insignificant as cleaning the house (if I don’t write it down, then I won’t do it).
6. Track Your Progress
Tracking your progress is the best way to keep you motivated and staying on track. This is the reason why writing down your 2021 resolutions is so important in making it happen. You can see in black and white what you have or have not accomplished and what you need to do to make your 2021 resolutions possible.
I change/modify my goals all the time. Things happen and sometimes you just can’t work on them and it’s ok. As long as you keep going and don’t give up, you are making progress.
7. Create Habits
Old habits die hard? Don’t believe that for a second.
The best way to make your 2021 resolutions stick is by making them a part of your daily routine. It takes a minimum of 21 days of doing the same thing daily for it to become a habit.
If you want to drink more water, create a habit of drinking a tall glass every morning when waking up. If you want to run a marathon, start with just one minute of no stopping. Small actions repeated daily will become a habit and you can keep building on it until you reach your goals.
8. Find Ways to Stay Motivated
“When you want to give up, remember why you started”
Do you want to lose weight because you want to have more energy and be around longer for your kids? Do you want to work on your blog after a long day at work because you want to be able to make money from it and leave your job? Whatever your “why” is, just keep reminding yourself and work towards your goals.
Here are a few things you can do to keep yourself motivated:
- Create a vision board and look at it every day to remind yourself. I always thought it was a silly idea until I started doing it myself and realized how powerful it is.
- Reward yourself
- Surround yourself with like-minded people
- Visualize yourself succeeding is a powerful technique that can help you stay motivated.
9. Reward Your Success
Everybody loves a reward. Your employer knows that and gives bonuses to keep employees motivated.
The reward doesn’t even have to be something big. It can be something as small as giving yourself a day off to just to be lazy (that’s my favorite reward right now).
If your reward saving X amount of dollars so that you can take your dream vacation, then put in on the vision board. Check your progress and keep working at it.
10. Just Do Your Best
At the end of the day or year, all you can do is try your best. Even with the best intentions and a well-thought-out plan, we will occasionally slip up. After all, we’re only humans.
Don’t be so hard on yourself when this happens. The key is to celebrate small wins and keep working until you accomplish all your goals.
Resolutions are not easy since 80% of people will not be able to stick to their resolutions. But don’t give up and think that you will fail, instead, think of what you can do to achieve your resolutions.
What are your 2021 resolutions?