Ah, New Years resolutions. We make them, break them, and keep coming back for more. Some avoid them altogether, while others dive headfirst into lofty goals and then face inevitable disappointment when their goals are impossible to meet.
2020 has been an exceptional year. As a self proclaimed optimist, I have struggled this year to see the bright side at times. Some of the most positive people I know have struggled this year. Realism looks like optimism in 2020. 2020, to be frank, was hard AF, for most people I know, and myself included.
Even though this year has been challenging, we haven’t lost faith. We are building our resiliency, even and especially in the moments of despair, where we may find ourselves wondering, what’s the point? When the world turns a corner, as it appears to be now, with the vaccine, a new year, a new US president, and financial relief for millions of Americans, perhaps all we’ve went through will help us appreciate the simple riches of daily life that much more.
If there’s something else 2020 taught us, it’s to manage our expectations, and appreciate the present moment. Life has proved, quite dramatically, that we don’t know what will or could happen at any given moment, and so ya better try to relish the one you’re in, because you truly never know.
With all that said, it’s been a fucking doozy of a year. A real clusterfuck. A shitstorm. So don’t fret if you haven’t made an extra six figures from your side hustle, or gotten into the best shape of your life, or mastered the art of banana bread. What we’ve just went through, and are collectively going through, is traumatic and exhausting. Cut yourself a little slack, and be gentle on yourself as we reflect on 2020 and welcome 2021.
And maybe most importantly, let’s learn from 2020 and manage our expectations. Appreciate the small wins, and the windows of peace.
New Years can be used as a tool for growth, and it’s the perfect clean slate. But there are a few tools I’ve learned over the years that help me stay on track with resolutions and goals in general, and they keep me accountable. If you don’t make your goals a part of your daily life and shift your mindset to meet them, you’ll probably eventually forget about them and slide back into your old habits.
So, how do you stick to your New Years resolutions?
These are Four Ways You can Keep Your New Years Resolutions and Accomplish Your Goals
Review your resolutions from 2020 if you wrote them down, or try to remember what you set out to do. I have a tendency to feel like I’m never doing enough, but reviewing my goals helps put things into perspective. Did I achieve everything I set out to do? No. Did I make progress than I realized? Absolutely. When you realize you’re still moving forward, it helps renew your commitment to your goals. We are often too close to our work to see how far we’ve come.
Taking a step back and reviewing what worked, what didn’t, how far we’ve come, and where we’d like to go next helps us stay on track, make a plan, and take the next steps.
Make a Best of List
Make a list of all the highlights from the year. You can write this down, or go through photos on your phone to jog your memory and make a digital photo journal, too. I do this every year and it always feels awesome. Our brains evolved to remember negative memories more clearly than positive ones as a survival mechanism, so when we look back on 2020 our memory might go, “Jesus Christ…” BUT if we actually think back to all the fun we managed to have, adventures we went on, connections still had, goals still accomplished, you’ll find that this year (or any year) was not all bad, and there’s still plenty to celebrate.
Get a Day Planner
It sounds simple, but this has been life changing for me the last three years. For too long, I absentmindedly missed appointments, and wrote down my goals in my journal only to forget about them in a few weeks. When I got my first day planner three years ago, my productivity and well-being improved immensely. I was able to get more organized with appointments, my to-do list, and I avoid overwhelming to-do lists because seeing my daily tasks set out visually keeps them manageable.
I’ve been using the Many Moons planner for three years, and I can’t say enough good things about it. This is not sponsored content. I genuinely love this planner. Modern Women Projects combine astrology, tarot, cycles of the moon, observed holidays, and a little witchcraft. It’s fantastic, and beginner friendly. There’s a section to carve out your goals for the year, for each month, and regular reflection periods/prompts. It makes getting organized fun, and I can’t recommend them enough.
Even if you feel like you don’t have enough going on in your life to warrant a day planner, having a place to write down your daily and weekly to-do list helps keep life manageable. It also is a place for you to break down your goals into small daily, weekly, and monthly steps and stay accountable.
Make a Vision Board
Making a vision board is putting your dreams and goals in visual collage format. You can use magazines and find images and words that resonate with what you’re looking to accomplish, or create a digital collage and make it your computer or phone background, or print it out and hang it where you’ll see it every day. When you can see a visual representation of your goals and dreams every day, you’ll convince your brain these things are already in the making, they’ll become more familiar to you, you’ll be reminded of what your working towards, and this, my friends, is how you manifest.
Seeing is believing! Believing is manifesting.
Shift Your Mindset from Perfection to Progress
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with lofty goes so long as you prioritize progress over perfection. Forget about instant results, forget about linear progress and embrace the very messy, complex, roundabout journey to your goals. It may be cliche, but there is truly no “end” destination. Once you achieve something, you’ll want to achieve something else, so get used to striving and being content with what is, because that’s all there ever is, if you catch my drift. Remember how 2020 taught us the importance of presence? Well, the same thing goes for your goals. Find a way to enjoy the process, or find new goals.
Small progress, slow progress, messy progress is still progress. For the most part, making progress won’t happen in leaps and bounds. It will happen incrementally, silently, in your sleep, and when you’re not looking.
So, set your lofty goals. Set small goals. Pick yourself up and try again. And again. And again. And again. If you keep trying, you’ll eventually get somewhere. And if you do get to where you want to go, you’ll just want to go somewhere else.
Happy New Year. Keep striving. Keep the faith. Keep on keepin’ on with your bad self. You’ve got this.