With the year 2020 finally behind us, many of us might have high hopes for a better upcoming year. Countless people, including me, start into a new year with fresh ambitions and a list of resolutions they want to keep. A new year is like a fresh chapter in a book and a great place for a retrospective view into the own life: how did i do in the last year? What would i like to become? What more do i want to do or learn?
While i made some kind of new years resolutions for as long as i can remember, i often used to have a really hard time actually keeping them. Over the years i learned some things how to better achieve them, though. I would like to share 4 valuable tricks that you can use right now to make sure you'll stick with your 2021 goals.
1. Make it precise
Goals should not be too abstract. Rather they should be clear and tangible. If your goal is to "read more", try setting a defined target:
- "I want to read 20 books in 2021"
- "I want to read for at least 5 minutes every single day in 2021"
Or if you're planning on staying healthy and drinking less alcohol, you could write down one of the following goals:
- "I don't want to drink more than 1 glass of alcohol every day"
- "I will, at maximum, drink alcohol on one day of the week"
When you revisit your goals at the end of the year, it will be clear if you reached them or not.
2. Revisit often
While at the beginning of the year the resolutions are still fresh and present, they tend to fade away when the year further unfolds until you revisit them at the end of the year again, realizing in horror that you didn't follow through with them.
To make the resolutions actually stick, make sure to keep them present and revisit them often. I write them down on the first pages of my journal and take a look at them at the beginning of every month but there are many more possibilities:
- You can write them on a paper, frame it, and hang it on the wall, somewhere you see it everyday, making sure it stays at the top of your head
- You can make an audio recording of them and set it as your alarm in the morning
- You can write them on a piece of paper and mark the days in your calendar where you want to revisit them
However you choose to do it, make sure to regularly revisit your goals to keep up with them.
3. Make a plan
This is where i messed up in previous years. If you've taken the time to actually define who you want to become and what you want to achieve, but don't have a clear plan on how to make it happen, those goals are destined to fail.
There are various types of goals and thus also various ways of implementing them but for me, goals are usually one of the following: they either are task-like or lifestyle-changing. I can fit all of my goals into one of those categories. The implementation strategies are quite different.
Everything that can be finished, meaning that at one point in the year you are done with it, is what i call task-like. That might be certain personal or professional projects, big life events (proposing to someone or getting married) or other goals like travelling to a certain country.
Those goals can best be achieved by breaking them down into small chunks. In my blogpost on how i journal i explain how i break down goals into small chunks of work. You don't need to keep a journal for this, though. Just make sure that every time you revisit your goals, ask yourself what you can do in the upcoming month/week/day to get a step closer to achieving this goal.
Goals like "becoming fit" or "establishing a morning routine" are what i call lifestyle-changing. The implementation differs from the task-like goals as in they can't be done or finished. It's an ongoing process and thus requires systematic changes in your behaviour and routines.
I'm a big believer in the usefulness of habits and in order to accomplish my goals, i like to introduce new habits to my daily life. Here's a few of my 2021 goals and the responding habits i want to establish to make them stick:
- "Be in my best physical shape for my own wedding": going to the gym every single morning at 5am and eat healthy
- "Be able to lead a conversation in Hungarian (with my girlfriend's relatives)": do three lessons on Duolingo every single day
- "Be a better reader": read at least 30 minutes every day
Introduce habits into your life and see the positive change after doing something small every day. It adds up.
4. Challenge them
Your views on life change. Your aspirations change. People change. Don't treat your goals as set in stone and actively challenge them every time you revisit them. You can grow a lot in a year and resolutions might not always be able to keep up with you.
If you deem something to be unworthy of your time, if your priorities have changed or if you simply don't see the point in them anymore, feel free to cancel outdated resolutions.
Likewise, if you want to redefine or even add new goals, feel free to do it as well. Don't wait until the next year to set great new resolutions for yourself.
I hope that these tips make it easier for you to stick to your new years resolutions for 2021 and if you happen to have some other tips as well, i'd be very thankful if you could share them with me on Twitter.