6 Achievable New Year's Resolutions for 2021
January has rolled around again, and it’s that time when people get to work on their new year’s resolutions. These generally follow a similar pattern, with people pledging to get fit, eat better, or change their lives in some other meaningful way. But if you’ve ever set yourself a new year’s resolution, you’ll know how difficult it can be to stick to them.
Everything tends to start off well, but come mid-March you’ve forgotten all about your ambitious goals and fallen back into your old ways. And this repeats every year. It’s like that classic tale of Sisyphus rolling a boulder up a mountain - you make some progress at the start but before long that boulder comes rolling back down and you end up right where you started.
So what seems to be the problem? Why is it so hard to stick to a simple new year’s resolution? The problem lies in how you frame your goals. Most people tend to either set themselves vague resolutions such as “eat better,” or extremely ambitious ones like “run a 5k every single day.” The problem with overly vague goals is that it is hard to track your progress, and therefore you lack the motivation required to keep it up. Eating better is not measurable, so you can start off eating more vegetables and fewer desserts but ultimately there is no metric for success. If you eat one more carrot stick than you did last year, you’ve technically eaten better.
On the other hand, setting yourself extreme goals that require daily action makes you more likely to fail. If you are striving to do ten pushups a day, you will inevitably encounter a day when you are just too busy or you forget. And once you’ve missed your target once, it’s a slippery slope. As soon as you’ve lost that forward momentum you will have less motivation to keep it up.
So what’s the solution? To forget about new year’s resolutions altogether? This would be a shame because a new year provides a kind of blank slate, where you can move past any mistakes and poor decisions you made last year and take meaningful steps to improve your life. All you need to do is create smart resolutions.
What are smart resolutions? In business-speak, people commonly refer to having SMART goals. SMART, in this case, is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Sensitive. Although it is usually used in the context of increasing sales and business profits, it is just as applicable to your new year’s goals.
How to set smart resolutions
In order to maximize your chances of meeting your goals, your resolutions should be:
Specific: A clearly defined goal, such as running a marathon
Measurable: You have some way of tracking your progress, as well as clearly determining whether or not you have achieved it, such as losing two stone
Achievable: By all means set a challenging goal, but don’t make it so difficult you will give up after a few weeks
Relevant: Don’t set a goal for the sake of it or because you feel you have to. It should be enjoyable, worthwhile, and add value to your life.
Time-Sensitive: There should be a deadline for accomplishing your goal, for example, the end of the year.
To put these criteria into context, here is an example of a smart resolution. Supposing you want to get fitter this year, we’ve already established that this on its own is vague and up-in-the-air to make an impact. If you were to turn this into a smart resolution, however, it might be something like: run a half marathon by the end of the year.
This goal is clearly specific. It is measurable, as you can easily track your progress towards completion, and for anyone with some base running fitness, it is achievable and relevant. And crucially, it is time-sensitive, which creates a gentle sense of urgency that will motivate you to achieve your goals.
Of course, this is just one example of a million possibilities, but it provides a useful template for setting an achievable new year’s resolution. If you are stuck for ideas, here are some examples of achievable goals you can set in 2021.
Read a certain number of books
Everyone wishes they could read more. It broadens the mind, transports you to exciting new worlds, and makes you more articulate and informed. But in this day and age, it’s so much easier to switch on the television or pick up your phone than sit down and pick up a paperback. There are so many fantastic books out there, it would be a shame to let them all go unread, and the best thing is, there is something for everyone. Whether you prefer an exciting adventure novel, a work of classic literature, or an autobiography, there are plenty of options for you. If you want to read more this year, why not create a reading list, or better yet, a reading pile? This way, you can visually see your progress as you work your way down the heap of yet-to-be-read books. You’ll enter 2022 more enlightened and intelligent.
Compete in a sporting event
Getting fitter is one of the most common new year’s resolutions, but as we’ve already seen, this goal needs to be more specific. No matter how often you hit the gym or how many workout supplements you order from Sarmsstore, you’ll never get to where you want to be unless you set a smart resolution. The most effective way to motivate yourself and track your progress is to sign up for a sporting event. This could be running a 5k, entering a cycling race, or playing in a tennis tournament. It totally depends on your preferred sport. Not only will you have an easy method to measure your success, but you’ll also have the added satisfaction of completing a difficult sporting event. And maybe even a medal!
Learn to cook
If you want to eat better this year, the best way is to prepare nutritious and delicious meals yourself. Make this the year of culinary delights by learning how to cook for yourself. Making healthy meals is surprisingly easy, and a lot more affordable than the alternatives. You don’t need to be Gordon Ramsay, but you can start by learning to cook one new dish every week, or every month if you are short on free time. There are so many healthy recipes online you can use for inspiration. One of my goals this year is to use a new ingredient or cook a new recipe every week.
Quit a bad habit
Everyone has bad habits, whether it’s smoking, drinking too much, or a smartphone addiction. One of the healthiest resolutions you can make this year is to quit that bad habit for good. 365 days is a long time, and more than enough to completely obliterate these costly, unhealthy, time-wasting behaviours from your life. It’s rarely a good idea to go cold turkey completely, as the unpleasant withdrawal can be overwhelming and will make you more likely to revert to your old ways. Instead, make a plan to reduce your behaviour slowly over time. This could take the form downloading an app that sets a time limit on your smartphone usage. Keep reducing it over the course of the year, and by the time December rolls around you’ll be free from the shackles of your unwholesome habits.
Everyone has something they desire, whether it’s a house, a world trip, or a brand new sports car. Whatever it is, it likely costs a great deal of money. By being smart with your money, you could bring that dream a lot closer this year. Create a pot of money to set aside for your dream purchase and set a target for how much you will save this year. Work out how much of your paycheck you’ll need to put aside each month, and by the end of the year, you will hopefully have hit your target. Make a plan for other ways to save money such as cutting down on takeaways, finding discounts and bargains, and reducing your energy bills.
Prioritize your mental health
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. 2020 has been stressful and worrying for everyone, and if you add this to the general pressures of work, finances, and family, these can add up to something significant. Stress is unpleasant and can lead to even more severe mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression. Make your mental health a priority this year by taking some time for yourself. Spend more time indulging in self-care, in whatever way you prefer, whether it’s taking a long bath with a cup of tea or snuggling in bed to watch a romantic comedy with a face mask on. Nothing is more important than you, so schedule some time each week to check in with yourself and boost your mental wellbeing.
These are just a few examples of achievable goals you can set this year, but hopefully, they have inspired you to set your own resolutions and be the best version of you you can be in 2021.