Updated: Apr 16
Every year, I try to think of new resolutions to pass around January 1st. But for many of the last years, my resolutions have looked much the same. I want to be healthier, do more fun things, and be a better mom. I want to continue to expand my business and enjoy time with my husband and family. I want to be present more and focus on what I’m doing now rather than what I might do in the future or have done in the past. What I want is to continue to evolve as a person in all areas of my life. I want to learn and grow, not stay stagnant and definitely not move backwards. How do I create specific resolutions out of these goals for myself?
Resolutions versus Habits
Instead of resolutions, I’m starting to think that maybe I need to start creating better habits. See, I’m reading this book Atomic Habits by James Clear and it promised that tiny changes can create big results. This concept sounds good, but how to apply it to my life for 2021? The concept of resolutions is basically an end result. Say you want to lose 20 lbs, that’s a resolution. But how you get there is by changing your habits. Focusing less on the outcome and more on the process makes a lot of sense to me, because an outcome may take days to months to reach and by that time I’ve most likely lost all motivation for the resolution.
However, if I change up my thinking and try to focus on creating better habits, I might be able to see a daily impact. Going back to the weight loss goal of 20 lbs, I can change this up by saying “I will set aside 60 minutes a day to exercise” or “I will cook 3 healthier meals per week”. This is much more do-able for me, and I can measure my success easier. Making better habits for ourselves may lead to reaching an end-result such as losing 20 lbs, but the process of creating and sustaining the habit will likely make me a healthier person, which is really what my overall goal is anyways.
2021: Will It Be Better?
While I cannot guarantee that 2021 will be better than 2020, it sure will be a relief to say goodbye to perhaps the most difficult year most of us have had in a long time. 2020 was a year of incredible change and unexpected challenges. It was full of sadness, grief, depression, and anxiety for many of us. For others, the impact was through job layoffs or changes in your work environment. Parents of school-age children learned what it was like to try to work while simultaneously helping your children do remote learning. More time spent with your immediate family or those in your household also meant less time spent with extended family outside of your area.
But guess what. You survived. Maybe you didn’t thrive, but you got through the year. And you can now say that 2020 is almost over, and regroup for 2021. Instead of resolutions, what habits are you wanting to change? Both individually and even as a couple or family. What do you want to do more of, and see less of? What opportunities are available in the changes that 2020 brought you? Focusing on what you want yourself and your life to look like is a good way to kick 2020 in the butt and ring in the New Year. I know you can do it, and so can I!
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Shannon Heers is a psychotherapist, cinical supervisor, guest blogger, and owner of Catalyss Counseling in Englewood, CO. Shannon helps adults in professional careers manage anxiety, depression, work-life balance, and grief and loss. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.