Rethinking New Year’s Resolutions
Updated: Apr 13
Did you know that 90% of resolutions don’t even make it to February? Here are a few of the reasons, as well as something different you may want to try in 2021.
When we choose our resolutions, we try to tackle some of our biggest challenges such as weight loss, stopping smoking or exercising daily and then we dive head-first into the deep end of the pool. Huge goals are fine if you plan to take it one small action step at a time and celebrate each small success. But we are often unrealistic about our goals, like losing 20 lbs. this month when 8 lbs. would be a more realistic goal. We have always heard that it takes 21 days to change a habit. It actually takes 66-254 days, so when a goal is not met or a lifestyle change does not become routine after three weeks, we think we have failed. And then when we think we have failed—again—we beat ourselves up and give up.
So, if you do want to make a resolution in 2021, ask yourself whether this goal is specific? Is it realistic? Is it achievable? For example, saying you will get healthier this year is much too broad and vague. What does healthier look and feel like to you? What specifically do you want to attain? What is your timeline and measures for success? Then break it into mini-goals—small steps—that will keep you moving in the right direction. Remember that small changes, over time, can lead to huge results. Be sure to share your plan with a trusted friend or coach who can provide support, encouragement and accountability.
If resolutions have not worked for you in the past, you might consider other options such as setting an intention, creating a vision board or selecting a one-word mantra for the year. Unlike resolutions which tend to be success or failure-based, future-based and head-based; intentions, vision boards and focus words are more about effort, process and progress. They are heart-based and focus on the personal journey of growth and becoming rather than a destination. They place the focus on who you want to be rather than what you want to do. Discovering who you want to be and what kind of future you want to create takes quiet time for reflection on your values, passions and purpose. This type of life direction is less chosen and more revealed to you through purposeful, quiet introspection.
Once your vision has been created or intention or word selected, share this with at least one other person. Keep it where you will see it every day. As you meet with challenges and important decisions during the upcoming year, as we know we all will, your vision, intention or word will be your guiding force reminding you to listen carefully and stay focused on the desires of your heart. By keeping your focus on small victories and personal progress and you will be creating results that can last a lifetime.
~Dr. Linda Peterson, Life Purpose Coach