As a new year (finally) dawns and we bid adieu to a wild and crazy 2020, you are likely being bombarded with inescapable New Year, New You messaging. But while the tradition of New Year's resolutions is well established, its effectiveness is not. As you probably know from personal experience, most resolutions die in January.
So why, after decades of ineffective yearly goal-setting, do we keep pushing this resolution rhetoric? Perhaps it's because the benefit of setting goals doesn't necessarily lie in the goal's completion. In order to set a goal, you must first sit down and take stock of your life. What makes you happy? What isn't working? Where do you want to drive your individual ship? Taking a moment to check the wind and adjust your sails is an incredibly beneficial practice — even if you change course several months (or weeks) later.
However, if the pressure to change your life or adopt better habits just because it's January 1st is making you feel anxious or overwhelmed, you do NOT need to set those goals today. If you've been in survival mode for 75% of the last year, you may actually just need to rest. Don't let the "do more, be better" cultural narrative make you feel inadequate. Making time to simply relax is a goal in and of itself (and a difficult one at that).
Despite it all, there's something undeniably fresh and hopeful about the dawning of a new year. If you do in fact want to harness that juicy January energy and set some goals you'll actually keep, there are a few proactive habits you can adopt that will help you beat the odds. Read our tips below for a better shot at long-term goal keeping.
How to actually meet your goals
Take smaller bites.
At the star of a new year, it can be tempting to want to make big, sweeping changes — especially if you’re coming off the heels of a long, unsatisfying, and disappointing year (cough cough 2020). However, this is a surefire way to give up well before you see any progress. First, determine the amount of work and effort that feels reasonable to you. For example, if you’re writing a book, ask yourself: how many pages could I realistically write each week without feeling overwhelmed? Even if the answer is one, a full book is still only a couple years away (and you’ll probably exceed that cadence once you gain momentum). Focus on creating consistency, and progress will follow.
Success is consistency, not results. Think your goal is to lose five pounds? Wrong — it’s turning on a workout video three times a week. The number on the scale has nothing to do with it. Think your goal is to run a marathon in under four hours? Wrong — it’s showing up to your practice runs even when you don’t want to. Your pace has nothing to do with it. At the end of the day, the only way you achieve your original goal is by showing up to do the work. Getting stuck on the "numbers" is usually just discouraging (and often out of your control). Showing up is the most likely indicator that you will do what you set out to do.
Celebrate along the way.
Don't save your big celebration for the end. Every micro-goal on the path to victory deserves your acknowledgment and your excitement. Get addicted to the feeling of success. The more little wins you have, the more you'll feel like a winner. And feeling like a winner is half the battle!
Be extremely clear on your “why.”
Write it down. Put it on your wall. Make it the background of your phone. Visualize how you’ll feel at the end, and let that fuel you. If you don't truly want something, you probably won't make it happen.
Find your support system. Maybe it’s your friends and family, but also, consider that friends and family might be the very people who are holding you back. If that’s the case, search for a community online. Include that support group when you celebrate your little wins along the way.
Ignore the haters.
Inevitably, there may be some naysayers who, consciously or not, will try and sabotage your progress. When people see others doing something they feel they should or can’t do themselves, it can rustle up a bit of jealousy. (By the way — jealousy is a great tool for figuring out what you really want. The key is to view it from a place of self discovery instead of a place of lack.) We’ve all been the jealous person before, so try and have some empathy. Remember: this is not a reflection of your reality, it’s a reflection of theirs. Observe when people plant seeds of doubt in your mind, and put them on a “do not engage” list. Don’t give them updates or ask their opinion. Simply send them love, and turn towards those who make you feel bright.
You can set a goal any day of the year. There is nothing special about January 1st — it is merely symbolic. In 2020, you’ve up-leveled your resilience and adaptability. No matter what happens in 2021, you are prepared for it and ready to receive its lessons. Every year is your year. Every day is your day. Every minute is your minute. Get clear on what you want, and surrender to the flow. You got this.
Wishing you a beautiful, brilliant, and bountiful year. We’re so glad you’re with us, and we can’t wait for you to see all we have in store for you in 2021.