Create attainable goals for your New Year’s resolutions
By Cassie Weiss, Features Editor
The idea of a New Year’s resolution has never been my favourite concept. Truthfully, I’ve always thought of a resolution as just a half-hearted attempt to improve something lacking in a person’s life.
You gained a few extra pounds over the holidays? Just make a resolution to go to the gym more. You drank too much last year? Just make a resolution to not drink as much.
At the end of the day, a resolution just seems like a way out, a way to justify some of the unhealthy habits we’ve collected as the year has passed. In my opinion, we shouldn’t need to justify the things we have done to help get us through.
Rather, I think we should take a deeper look at the behaviour and settle down with a solid goal in mind – not just some line on a piece of paper that will be forgotten halfway through January.
Now, I’m not knocking New Year’s resolutions. In fact, I am all about goal setting. Every day, I look at a vision board on my wall that contains my meaningful goals and ideations. Regularly seeing those pieces of paper is what pushes me towards my goals, not the fact that I promised myself on Jan. 1 that things would be different.
We all say “good riddance” to 2020 – you’d be crazy not to. Even someone who had a good year would gladly say goodbye to the dumpster fire that was last year. I know many people who developed coping habits to deal with the pandemic, the isolation, and the unemployment. I also know just as many people who vowed that 2021 would not be the same.
But the thing is, we can’t control the world around us. We can’t control much of anything honestly.But we can control what we decide to do with our time. A New Year’s resolution is a way to gain some sort of control, but what people don’t realise is that it’s not about jumping five steps forward just to fall back another three.
“I’m going to get fit!”
We all have heard it before, and I’d be shocked if most of you out there have not said it at some point. It’s one of the most popular resolutions. But I’m sorry, can you explain to me what “I’m going to get fit” even means?
Are you going to exercise more? Are you going to eat healthier? Are you going to spend more time outdoors? Are you going to spend more time in a gym?
Even if you answer yes to any of these questions, it goes so much further than that.
What does “exercise more” look like? Is it running, swimming or playing catch with your kids?
Of course, a New Year’s resolution is going to fail when there is absolutely no context behind the words written down. On top of that, if those words are not slapping you in the face every single day, you’re going to easily forget them. Trust me, I speak from experience.
So, then what?
Having a New Year’s resolution is not about changing the person you are. Because the simple fact is that people don’t change very easily, unless they are highly motivated for that change. The clock turning midnight on Dec. 31 isn’t always enough to spark that motivation, and simply scribbling down some hurried goals probably won’t be enough to keep you pushing forward, especially if those goals don’t have any substance.
Anyone can say they want to get more fit – I say it all the time and I actively work out more than four times a week. But without a clear idea of what getting fit means to the individual saying the words, that resolution will quickly and easily fall apart.
This is why we have to start smaller – baby steps if you will. Don’t jump in headfirst when you are fully aware there are rocks at the bottom. Take that generalized resolution and rewrite it so it is attainable.
Write down that you would like to learn how to lift weights or that you would like to participate in a 30-day yoga challenge. Even something as simple as resolving to go on an hour walk at least once a week is enough to start pushing you toward that end goal of getting fit.
We are not machines. We have to give ourselves a little bit of credit because we are collectively experiencing a trauma unlike anything we have experienced before. Big goals right now are difficult to attain. Most of us don’t even know what tomorrow will look like, let alone five months from now.
Like I said before, make that resolution list. Make a list of goals and ideas that you would love to see through by the end of 2021. Decide that this year is going to be a better one than last year. But in making those decisions, don’t force yourself into broad categories that you may never achieve.
You can always add to the resolutions you create. There is nothing stopping you from learning how to lift weights or how to do a yoga challenge. But by starting small you are giving yourself the freedom and satisfaction of attainable goals. Those attainable goals will be the driving force to keep us moving forward through both this seemingly endless pandemic and honestly, just through life itself.