Now that 2020 is in the record books, we may be eyeing our New Year’s Resolutions from a widely different perspective. As we venture into the first few months of 2021, we could ditch the typical resolutions in favor of even more life-enhancing ideas.
Year after year, studies show, we gravitate toward the same resolutions — weight loss, eating better, and general self-improvement goals. There’s nothing wrong with that, but by mid-February, about 80% of us have dropped our New Year’s Resolutions by the wayside.
That doesn’t have to be the case. We have an opportunity to make and keep meaningful resolutions that are in harmony with what we really want to create in our lives. Here are five ways to win at whatever resolutions you choose:
1. Clarity: Be crystal clear with your goals. Let’s say you’re an entrepreneur and would like to grow your business. What would that look like? You could choose a specific goal like “find two new clients every month this year.” In that case, you are breaking down your big goal into smaller chunks, which are easier to attain. Also, your goals are measurable.
2. If you care, you share: When you share your resolutions with people who care about you, and invite them to share their intentions with you, you build a support system. Let’s say you’re writing a book. You can share your daily promise to, say, write five pages — and your progress on that specific goal — with an accountability partner. When you share your goals, you also have someone you can talk to when you would like encouragement.
3. Check in with yourself: What if life gets busy, and leaves your resolutions in the dust? It’s okay. You give yourself permission to update your goals to match what’s really possible in your life today. Just be sure to check in with yourself as you go.
4. Celebrate: Resolutions can be hard work, so be sure to give yourself adequate encouragement along the way. Better yet, celebrate even your smallest victories! That will motivate you to keep achieving your goals.
5. Kindness counts: Be kind to yourself! If you stumble while trying to keep your resolutions, it’s not a failure. Instead, consider it an opportunity for growth. Believe in yourself, despite any setbacks.
Writing down and working your New Year’s Resolutions are powerful steps, but there’s one more thing to consider as you interact with your goals. That is your mindset.
Consider that there are two different types of mindsets — fixed and growth. Let’s say your resolution is to drop two pounds per month, but with COVID having you work at home — a dozen steps from the refrigerator — at the end of January, the scale registers a two-pound gain. If you say to yourself “I am awful at this,” with the only other possibility being good at losing weight, this fixed mindset is self-limiting.
What if, instead, you say to yourself, “I’m not good at this yet, but with effort, I can improve?” That is a growth mindset, which means you believe that — even though the month didn’t begin the way you wanted — you can improve. You can succeed.
Here’s another example. Your boss calls you and says, “You did this all wrong!” You hear, “I suck.” That response — feeling like a failure — actually cramps down on your creativity and your ability to learn.
Instead of that fixed mindset, try on a growth mindset, and, say to yourself, “Okay, it didn’t work this time. But what can I learn for my next try?”
Since the whole point of New Year’s Resolutions is to better yourself, consider that it may not be easy to push out past your comfort zone. A fixed mindset might have you saying to yourself, “I’m just not made for this.” But try on that growth mindset, recognizing that you may not be good at everything — at first. And you know what? With a growth mindset of trying new goals, you have a shot at achieving dreams you never imagined possible.
Finally, consider if Trapped Emotions are holding you back from achieving your goals. Trapped Emotions, unresolved feelings from difficult and traumatic experiences, may prevent you from making decisions to move forward or sabotage your efforts. The Emotion Code® is designed to help people clear this emotional baggage, and that can help you make a fresh start.
Embrace the journey of small steps, celebrate your wins, and recast any setbacks as learning experiences. When you set your 2021 resolutions, consider that you are creating a better you and a better life.
By Dr. Bradley Nelson