Smashing 2021: Making Resolutions that Stick
Happy New Year!
It’s a new year and even though we’ve often been told that time is “nothing but a social construct”, the start of a new calendar year always gives us a fresh perspective and renewed vigour. There’s even a bigger case for a fresh start if you’ve just experienced a year like 2020.
And this is where resolutions come in. There’s an argument that resolutions are over flogged and performative. This might be true in some instances. However, at their core, resolutions are commitments people make at the beginning of a year to achieve certain goals or make certain personal changes. Resolutions can include a range of goals and activities – from life-changing commitments like fighting or overcoming an addiction, to becoming better at budgeting and spending. You can also start a new fitness regime or focus on being more present with your family (this is one of my resolutions).
Whatever resolutions you commit to, the basis of following through is forming habits around them. Habits account for about 40% of our behaviours daily, so you are a total (well, almost) of your habits. So how do we change our habits to achieve our goals? I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve been reading up.
- Identify the habits you need to change to reach your goals: If your habits form who you are, then it goes without saying that you need to change your habits to be who you want to be. For instance, if you want to be more fit, you should start to exercise more every day. If you want to quit smoking, you should identify the triggers or stressful situations that cause you to reach for a cigarette stick.
- Commit to 28 days: Once you’ve identified the habits you need to pick up or drop, your next step will be making them stick. I’ve read somewhere that it takes twenty-eight days for a habit to stick. Committing to at least twenty one days helps you build a routine around these actions.
- Be Consistent: Reread No 2. Life-changing habits take consistency. This is why exercise and learning plans require you to perform actions consistently. If you want to make a lot of progress, then you need to be consistent and committed.
- Hold yourself accountable: Nobody will arrest you if you’re not consistent but do you really want to play yourself this new year? Hold yourself to the highest standards, and if you can’t, look for an accountability partner. When you start to slack, your partner will keep you accountable.
- Reward Yourself: Of course, the reward for consistent action is a changed life and achieved goals. But what if you rewarded yourself for showing up to your goals. It’s how, for instance, you get streaks for every day you meet your daily goals on Duolingo, or for spending time in the Bible App. Reward yourself if you’ve gone days without returning to your addiction, or if you’ve consistently taken action on your goals.
- Be kind to yourself: Even though the plan is not to allow any excuses, sometimes you can find that you’re absolutely unable to show up for yourself. For instance, you can’t stick to a restrictive diet if you’re under the weather. When you miss a day or two (or three), pick yourself up and begin right back where you left off.
- Celebrate your wins and milestones: Similar to rewarding yourself, take out time to celebrate your milestones. For instance, if you’ve achieved your target screen time for a month, or gone without alcohol for a few months, take out time to celebrate your milestone with your closest friends. The positive reinforcement will keep you going.
I hope this helps you smash your goals this year 2021. What are your resolutions for 2021? Please share in the comments below.