As the new year approaches, your thoughts may naturally turn to resolutions for your life. The beginning of the year feels like a new beginning, with new possibilities, and most people want to take the opportunity to establish habits or accomplish goals that will help them feel revitalized. When you know how to set great New Year’s resolutions for 2021, you’ll have a better chance of being successful with your plans.
Why Make a Resolution?
People who set New Year’s resolutions are ten times more likely to change their behavior than people who don’t make resolutions. However, it’s important to set resolutions you can actually accomplish, rather than a lofty or unattainable goal, to set yourself up for success in the new year. Pursuing a realistic goal can give you the opportunity to overcome struggles with willpower, determination, and initiative, which can be a great accomplishment by itself.
It’s important to have a plan as to how you will make progress toward your end goal. Many resolutions fail because they are not accompanied by a solid and specific strategy. Breaking your resolution down into small, tangible steps can help you set great New Year’s resolutions for 2021 that you will be able to keep.
Resolutions Look Different During COVID-19
Recent polls show that more than two thirds of Americans are planning to make resolutions for 2021, about the same as in years past. Although the determination has not wavered, the objectives are strikingly different for the upcoming year, as well as the attitudes about when, how, and why to tackle key goals.
Typical ambitions such as going to the gym more or asking for a raise aren’t as applicable to the pandemic lifestyle, according to about half of Americans participating in the polls. About 70% say they are not focusing on materialistic goals for 2021, but instead want to learn new life skills, improve their overall wellness, or savor their experiences more fully.
A Different Approach to Resolutions
The first half of the new year will certainly continue to be filled with pandemic-related concerns, such as health, financial, and social stresses, so it may be even more challenging to stick to your resolutions. To set great resolutions – and to be able to follow through with keeping them – focus on your progress rather than a perfect ending.
As part of its guidance on the 12-Step program, Alcoholics Anonymous offers the reassurance that progress is more important than perfection. When you feel you cannot go through with the actions necessary to accomplish your goals, do not be discouraged. As AA states, “No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles,” adding that the principles “are guides to progress.” So should your plan for a New Year’s resolution be your guide to progress in achieving your desired goals in 2021.
Framing Your Goal
Knowing how to frame your goal is half the battle in understanding how to set great New Year’s resolutions for 2021. Experts in behavioral research and psychology recommend the following evidence-based strategies for goal setting:
Commit to Change – A study conducted at the University of Scranton found that people who made an explicit resolution were far more likely to successfully change their behavior than those who didn’t. Make that commitment today so that you can plan for a new routine, with an anticipated start date of January 1.
Pick a Single Resolution – The new year will be challenging in many ways. Focusing on one important goal for 2021 will help you be better prepared to make significant progress and succeed in that goal. Your goal may be to complete one of the milestones in the 12-Step program, such as making amends to the people you have harmed. The first step in this resolution would be to make a list of the persons you have harmed and be willing to make amends, then make a plan for how you will accomplish that in the new year.
Be SMART About Your Resolution – Vague, unachievable goals will only frustrate you further. While you are developing your resolution, be sure it is SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Set dates for making progress toward your goal so that you can measure your achievements along the way. Completing step 4 in the 12-Step program, making a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourself, is a productive example of a SMART resolution.
Tell Others – Make your resolution known to a trusted friend, to keep you accountable for the results. A separate study found that the odds of reaching a goal increased to 65 percent for those who shared their resolution with another person, and increased to 95 percent for those who took the additional step of setting up regular check-ins with that person.
Makana Path Offers Help in the New Year
At Makana Path, we want you to reach your goals for 2021 and throughout your life. We offer a 12-Step Intensive Program that will help you incorporate the 12-step principles into your everyday lives. We are here to guide you through your addiction recovery as you regain control over your life. To learn more about getting help for your mental health or addiction during COVID-19 and into the new year, contact Makana Path today by calling 1-866-313-0978.