I have really enjoyed writing this series on New Year’s resolutions and goals – thank you for indulging me! I’d like to share a few parting thoughts and some resolution ideas to close out this series.
The most important thing about setting a resolution or not setting a resolution is that it’s a practice that is FOR YOU! If you want to make a change, great! The New Year can be an inspiring time to make that change. If you feel pretty comfortable with where you are or the idea of adding one more thing to your plate is overwhelming, jettison that excess cargo. But if you do set a resolution, it should be something that you care about, that’s important to you. Don’t let the media, your family, your friends or some article on the internet set your goals for you – think about what you want first and foremost. Because if it’s something you care about, you’ll work on it.
In Sight In Mind
Second, should you decided to choose a word or make some resolutions, I strongly suggest that you keep your word or resolution visible. Tape it to your mirror, post it on your dashboard in the car, write in on paper and use it as a bookmark, make it your theme or wallpaper on your computer or smart phone. Remind yourself frequently of your desired outcome to keep motivated through the year.
Sharing is Caring
Next, you are the only one who can accomplish your goals, but you don’t have to do it alone. Share your resolution with trusted friends or family and ask them to gently remind and support you. Enlist professionals who have experience and resources in the area of your focus. If your goals are health related, I’m happy to be of service with suggestions and accountability.
And lastly, I encourage you to be gentle with yourself and positive in your self-talk, regardless of the outcome of your goals. I’ve set goals in the past that I marked off my list because I decided or realized that I was never going to accomplish that goal. That’s okay, too. I have set goals and resolutions that it took me a while to realize that I didn’t care about, so they weren’t important to me. That was part of the process. I encourage you to set small goals to experience some successes, but I also encourage you to think about “failure” for goals and resolutions differently. It’s part of the process and it’s actually vital for cultivating resiliency and building towards success.
“Good judgement is the result of experience and experience the result of bad judgement.”Mark Twain
Summary of the Series
Here’s a quick reminder of the options I wrote about this week:
- Word of the Year Set a guiding word for the year instead of making specific resolutions.
- SMART Goals Set Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely Goals.
- Monthly Mini Resolutions Set small goals each month which may build on one another.
- Atomic Habits Develop systems to achieve desired outcomes rather than focusing only on the outcomes.
- No Resolutions Give yourself a break and make no resolutions from a place of kindness and self-love.
These methods are just a few ideas of systems you can apply to thinking about resolutions each year end and goals in general, but these are methods I have personally used and found helpful over the years.
Common “Failed” Resolutions
One of the reasons I commonly hear people reject the whole concept of resolutions is how often they aren’t met. According to a 2012 article by Time magazine, these are the most commonly “failed” resolutions:
- Lose Weight, Get Fit
- Learn something new
- Eat healthier and diet
- Lower debt and save money
- Spend more time with family
- Be less stressed
- Drink less
- Quit Smoking
I was going to write about each of these and why they might not work and how the methods I described might help one have better outcomes with these goals. But for each of them, I could say the same thing – applying SMART Goals, Mini Resolutions and/or Atomic Habits alone or in combination could help someone achieve their goal in this area. And honestly, I wonder how many people set this goal without it really being THEIR goal, something they actually want and plan to work on that year. None of these resolutions feels very specific and each of them could be a part of a mini monthly goal or could be a part of an Atomic Habit system.
In the prior posts in this series, I’ve often used diet change as an example. My favorite way to encourage people to eat healthier is to encourage eating more vegetables – that might be 1 serving per day for the first month or it might be part of a system where you buy and prep vegetables every week. Be less stressed fits best in the Atomic Habits arena, because the outcome is based on the system of behaviors – one might become less stressed by changing their work habits, exercising or meditating (or all three!), but each of those would need to be regularly practiced to result in one being overall less stressed. So I’ll let you think about that a little – if any of the above are your resolution for 2021, think through the methods we’ve covered and how they might help you accomplish your goal.
Now I’m so excited to share some ideas for resolutions you may not have thought about. Some of these are mine, some have come from friends, some have come from the internet. Some of these are also nonspecific, some are silly, some require a certain amount of privilege to accomplish, but all are here for your consideration and enjoyment. I wish you peace and plenty in 2021 and beyond. Happy New Year!
- Practice kindness
- Send snail mail
- Walk a mile a day
- Hang up an artwork, poster or photograph
- Compliment someone every day
- Set a phone-free time or zone
- Unfollow social media accounts that make you feel bad
- Do something that scares you
- Washes the dishes every evening after dinner
- Pack your lunch
- Make a budget
- Sleep 8 hours per night
- Listen to comedy collections on your streaming platform
- Try intermittent fasting
- Stretch your hamstrings
- Play with whoever you live with every day
- Say please, thank you, excuse me, and I’m sorry
- Have a weekly date night with your partner or yourself
- Make a cleaning schedule
- Set a screen time limit
- Release toxic relationships
- Work with a counselor
- Try Acupuncture
- Practice Gratitude
- Make popsicles
- Join the library
- Read a book a month
- Start a blog
- Write a journal
- Have an “intentional summer” (more on that later!)
- Schedule “office hours” where you are always available for phone calls from friends and family or try it on Zoom
- Call or Zoom someone you love once a week
- Track a habit
- Love yourself more
- Buy fresh flowers for your home (or bring them in from the garden)
- Plant something
- Adopt someone
- Plan for a future trip – watch videos, learn a little of the language, figure out where you would go and how you would get around
- Start a new tradition
- Keep your word
- Celebrate the little things
- Take a photo of yourself in five interesting places
- Find a place with the number 2021 and take your picture there
- Find a place with the number of your age and take your picture there
- Learn a magic trick
- Play in a tournament – even if it’s just among your family and friends
- Make a new friend
- Practice body positivity
- Learn something new
- Try a new food once a week … or ever
- Pay it forward – do something kind for someone
- Join your local Buy Nothing group
- Delete the game you play most from your phone
- Visit a new park in your town
- Learn to recycle items you currently throw in the garbage
- Start composting
- Schedule all your doctor and dentist appointments for the year in January
- Do a craft project, even if you do it badly
- Go for a hike
- Make a scrap book
- Ride a Segway
- Play a musical instrument
- Go to a drive in movie
- Volunteer at the food bank
- Get lost
- Donate something
- Use something in your house that’s been gathering dust (dehydrator, roller blades?)
- Reorganize a tiny area of your home
- Take a break from social media
- Have a game night
- Become a Big Brother or Sister
- Dress up and take photos just because
- Have a picnic
- Dye your hair a fun color you’ve always wanted to try (especially if you are working from home – why not?)
- Write a poem or story
- Illustrate your poem or story
- Learn to juggle
- Explore your own town like a tourist
- Do something totally spontaneous
- Eat more burritos
- Make your bed every day
This is the final post in a 6 part series about New Year’s Resolutions. The prior posts in this series are linked above or you can simply arrow back for prior posts.