How to set effective new year’s resolutions for 2021

Dec 27, 2020 — Susan Verdes
How to set effective new year’s resolutions for 2021

New year’s resolutions are tricky because we put so much pressure on ourselves to do a hundred things. Usually the habits we pick are hard to maintain for an everyday lifestyle and the hazy feeling of productivity wears off after January.

Just as in meditation, the goal is not to change ourselves, but rather find ways to manage our daily life. 2020 has been difficult for everyone, so however you are starting the new year, just remember you are not alone. The emphasis is not on productivity, but self-improvement.

Goal setting or forming intentions can make the new year more meaningful. After all the craziness of 2020, it can be beneficial to re-group and plan what’s coming next. That’s why the first step is to mind-dump all your hopes for 2021. Big to small.

Some examples to include are soon to be released films, books you want to read, upcoming projects and education/ work goals. This list will help you see the bigger picture for the new year and is something you can work on throughout 2021. It can be a great motivator and will keep you organized.

If you'd like to start or improve your meditation habit as your New Year's Resolution, then check out our January Meditation Challenge to help you get started.

Let’s chat forming resolutions…

When people talk about resolutions, they’re usually thinking about habits they do / do not want to have. There are some obvious ones that wind up on our lists every year, like limiting our screen time, quitting smoking, exercising, eating healthy and / or meditating.

Perhaps there’s a reason you haven’t stuck with them. Harvard Medical School recommends understanding why you formed these old habits, before trying to change them. The key is to find the positive link to your unhelpful behaviour.

For example, if you want to quit using social media, think about when you use it the most. For me, it’s when I want to unwind after a long day of work. I can still relax, but I need a new hobby to replace the endless scroll, such as playing with a pet, listening to music, or taking a shower. Now use this trick for all the behaviours under your don’t category.

The best types of resolutions are ones that have a purpose. Think about the areas of life you want to improve on, like your health, relationships, creativity and school. Now create a couple goals under each section that are beneficial to your mental health, personal growth and everyday lifestyle.

Some examples under health could be remembering to take your medication, cooking more at home, meditating, working out. Whatever it may be, having a few goals to take care of your physical and mental health, can help alleviate sadness, or stress. A helpful tip is to incorporate fitness into your pre-existing routine, like going on a walk during your lunch break, or completing a yoga session in the morning before online school.

Under relationships, some goals could be calling your loved ones and scheduling it around your day, like before bed, on the drive to work or while cooking. Another practice would be to analyze the friendships that are important to you, and notice which ones you have outgrown.

For creative habits, think about the kind of projects you want to complete and set guidelines. Personally, one of my goals is to write a minimum of 3 short stories a month. This standard worked for me this year and allowed me to find my groove in writing, which led me to write more than my set target. Other examples include listing the songs you want to learn on a particular instrument, the types of videos you want to edit.

You could even go as far to list certain skills you want to improve on within your interests. I often think back to this quote, I saw on Instagram (@inspiredtowrite). “What if you are walking into the most creatively abundant year of your life.” It reframes your mindset, whenever you’re working on your passion.

For school, the resolutions might surround studying habits, such as having set periods for work, with scheduled breaks in between, keeping your grades above a certain level, etc.

These resolutions can be whatever suits your schedule and personal desires. Seamlessly integrating your new routines to your daily activities makes it easier to keep going. 2021 isn’t about having the perfect year and we should not feel guilty for having a list that is not too productive. It’s okay to slack off some days, but other days we may need to overcome the barrier of starting our resolutions and simply bite the bullet.

The main point of this article is to figure out your headspace, as well as to bring joy and motivation into the new year. While things may not be going great, a little bit of planning and forward-thinking can help ease our anxiety.

Even if you are unsure of where you’ll end up, make the list at the beginning of your hopes. The bar is low for the new year and that’s okay. Take a moment to be proud of yourself for making it to the other side of 2020.

Get January off to a good start by signing up for our January Meditation Challenge