It is finally 2021! There was a point where I thought 2020 would never end but alas, here we are in the early days of the new year. Inevitably, most of us will set new year's resolutions - most of them look like some lofty, immediate change that requires us to go cold turkey as we attempt to overhaul our lives in mere weeks.
It is this all-or-nothing thinking that gives us false hope that we are actually making a positive change. For example, the classic new year’s resolution is to ditch junk food and work towards our “summer body” (plot twist: your current body is already a summer body, just throw a bathing suit on it and off you go), eliminating every and all morsel of junk food leftover from the holidays and start a strict exercise regime that will eventually burn us out, cause us to feel guilty for eating “bad” food and reverting back to our old ways.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with setting new year’s resolutions, even if one of them is to become healthier and lose weight. What I’m advocating for is reframing these all-or-nothing, black and white “resolutions” to goals that are broken down into smaller, more attainable goals so it doesn’t feel like such an uphill battle that we are bound to fail.
Goal setting is one of my favourite journal prompts. I love coming up with big goals for the year (1-3 main goals) and them breaking them down step by step so they feel less daunting and more attainable.
“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow”
How to do it:
- Decipher what your core values are. Those values that are so important to you that when you live by those values, you feel in tune with who you are. You feel accomplished and satisfied because your core values match the way you are living. Often, our unhappiness or feelings of being “stuck” in life come from living in a way that is not in line with our core values so we do not feel like our most authentic selves. Choose 5 of your core values, ones that are non-negotiable for you to live your best life. Some examples of core values could be: happiness, success, balance, connection, wealth, loyalty, knowledge, adventure, health, personal development, energy, affection, creativity, stability, inspiration, community, respect, communication, freedom, love, career, growth, fun, comfort, nature, accountability, trust, etc.
- Pick 1-3 main goals you want to accomplish for 2021 that are in line with your core values. These can be your big, lofty goals because we will funnel them down to smaller, SMART goals (P.S SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely)
- For each big goal, break it down into 3 smaller goals that will ultimately help you to reach your main goal. For example, if your core value is health and your big, lofty goal is to become healthier, your 3 smaller goals could be - drink 8 glasses of water a day, incorporate 30 minutes of movement into your day 3 days a week, and incorporate at least 1 green vegetable into your meal at dinner time.
- Use a journal to track your accomplishments throughout the week and ensure that you’re accomplishing what you set out to do. This helps you stay accountable.
- Every month or so, write down your accomplishments, do a check-in. Are you meeting your goals? Are they too easy? Are they too hard? Adjust as necessary!
These are some friendly suggestions and things that I like to incorporate into my daily life to meet my goals and live a life that I dream of. Change can be a good thing. But remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective. The main thing is that you keep going. Consistently making small changes has a better chance of getting you where you want to go than the mindset of overhauling your whole life overnight.
What are some of your new year’s resolutions/goals?