Cover Image by Jenny Mae Wong
Seldom has there been a year when the expression “Happy New Year, homebodies!” was more welcome. We all know the reasons bidding good riddance to 2020 felt so sweet. Now it’s time to set our sights forward, and refocus on making this year the best year for homebodies!
Now if you’re like me, you have a spotty history with New Year’s resolutions. In fact, around 80% of people’s resolutions fail by the beginning of February! Only 38% of resolutions are kept for the whole year, according to a poll quoted here. No wonder so many people seem to revile the very notion of making New Year’s resolutions!
What’s the point, you may ask, of making a resolution that will likely end in failure and more self-loathing than I started with? It is a valid question – but I have a reply, if you don’t mind. As an authority on hatching plans that don’t pan out, I can tell you that there are some benefits to making promises, whether you ultimately succeed in keeping them or not.
First, making resolutions forces you to do some preparatory self-evaluation. There’s great value in just taking stock of where you (and your life) are at, physically, emotionally, financially, etc., and where you’d like to make some changes or improvements.
Secondly, making a commitment to yourself to do something is a step in itself, and brings you closer to the goal than if you had never committed.
Finally, it gets you in the habit of being accountable; and being accountable, even for a failure, is better than not being accountable for anything, at least in my book.
So, let’s talk about how we can increase our chances of success. Perhaps you’ll even start a resolution revolution! Maybe not. I don’t even know what that means exactly. Just wanted to say it. Okay I’m done.
Tips for Resolution Success
In order to maximize the chances that you’ll reach your goals in 2021, try following a few guidelines. For the first tip, let me quote the impressively intelligent and wonderfully eloquent Michelle Obama: “When they go low, we go high!”. Now flip that. That’s right, on its head, just like that. If you’re someone who has struggled to meet the goals you’ve set for yourself, one reason may be that you’re setting unrealistic expectations for You Now. That’s not to say you’re not capable of greatness, but you might not be conditioned for it. Failing to reach a goal that was set too high is great for high achievers – for them, the rule is to set crazy high goals, not capping one’s limit. But for the rest of us, failing may lead to negative self-talk and lower self esteem. We don’t want that. What we do want is to set little goals that we can confidently tick off as we achieve them, building our self esteem and conditioning us to expect success. As we begin to trust ourselves and believe in ourselves, we can start reaching for them stars!
Second, make your goals specific and measurable! Don’t say “I’m going to exercise more”; say “I’m going to walk or jog 2 miles (or ~3km for my Canadian friends – and the rest of the world, for that matter!), 3-5 times per week. I’m also going to do yoga/crossfit/strength training/etc. for one hour per week minimum.” Then go ahead and check things off on your calendar as you achieve!
So let me go first with my 5 little bite-sized resolutions for 2021, and I’ll be waiting to hear yours!
One thing I really hate about myself is my lack of consistency. My exercise habits are like soap bubbles floating on the breeze of my ever-changing moods, until “pop!”, they’re gone. I go hard for a couple of months, get a little bit satisfied, and then boom, I realize it’s been a month since I last did a pushup or climbed a flight of stairs. So this year, I’m setting reasonable, specific goals. I will walk, jog or stair climb (the last one gets rid of the bad weather excuse!), 3 times minimum per week, aiming for 5. An intense 10 minute stair sprint session, a comfortable 20-30 minute jog, or a leisurely one hour walk will all suffice to check this box off. And check them off I will, as I’m going to hold myself accountable by marking off every success on my calendar.
- Eat right
That shouldn’t be so hard right? Maybe you don’t know me. I wrote the book (or at least a blog article) on gluttony and cheating on diets. So this year, I’m keeping it simple. Limit processed foods to twice a week, and record every instance. Everything on top of that is that is gravy (since I’m not allowed to have the icing on the cake!
I’ve been dabbling with this practice for a couple of years now, but haven’t managed to stay consistent. So this year I’ve made a pact with my significant other to meditate (or practice mindfulness, as others like to put it) for a measly 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
- Spend quality time with those who matter
This one’s not so hard for me, as I keep a pretty tight circle – which may be another way of saying I’m unpopular, but what the hey – see point # 5. I heard someone say that people on their deathbed never say, “I wish I worked more hours”. The time you spend with those you love, this is the time that makes a difference.
- Commit to positivity
We all sometimes catch ourselves being dire, or dramatizing a little mishap as if it were the second coming of Covid, but hopefully one thing many of us have learned over the past year is how to put things into perspective. The things that upset us on a day top day basis, well, they usually just aren’t that big of a deal. When you catch yourself in negative mode, take a deep breath, blow all of your air out, and hold for a few seconds, until your body tells you “I need air!”, then take another deep breath in. You see how much you can appreciate a simple thing like air to breathe? That other stuff you were just stressing about, that was just noise. Be positive. Remind yourself as needed. Spread it to others. Now that shouldn’t be so hard, should it?
What are your goals for 2021? Let us know!