(And It’s Not By Flaky Resolutions)
New Year’s resolutions are not built to last, just like that summer ‘09 fling. How do we know? Because less than 25% of people keep their resolutions past January. There’s a trick to actually sticking to goals in the new year without missing out on the good stuff. The secret to success is consistent habits and routines.
Ditch New Year’s resolutions, embrace habits and routines
Diet programs, gyms, and banks are masters at guilting us into subscriptions or investments we’ll never use. These institutions know what they’re doing. People buy into their promises, then quit the hustle before Valentine’s Day.
There’s no magic potion that will make your year the best one ever. That’s because the process of dedication, consistency, and small milestones isn’t always sexy. But it gets results. Here’s how to embrace habits and routines in 2021:
Allow room for failure
The problem with resolutions is if there is failure, there is guilt. That’s why people quit.
For example, let’s say your resolution is to never eat dessert in 2021. After one particularly stressful day, you eat a pint of Jeni’s (Blackout Chocolate Cake is our fave). Now your resolution has technically failed, right? You’ll say, “F*** it” and keep eating desserts the rest of the year. You can see why only 8% of Americans actually finish their New Year’s resolutions.
When we set routines instead, there are no strict “do it or fail” parameters. It’s a way of living. So instead of “no dessert ever,” replace it with a habit. For instance, you may choose “no sugar after 2pm” so it doesn’t affect sleep. A few early daytime treats helps avoid accidentally eating a whole sleeve of Oreos during The Bachelor.
Habits and routines become ingrained in our day-to-day lives, which will provide far better results over time.
Focus on ability
If you get knocked off your routine, it can feel like an uphill battle to get back into it. Make a goal around an outcome vs. the process to get there.
For example, if you want to be able to run one mile in under 8 minutes, the only way to get there is to actually practice running. If you want to crochet a really cool blanket for your friend’s new baby, the only way to do it is to watch YouTube tutorials and practice with some yarn.
See? The “habit” will be built in when you focus on the end goal.
Choose a word
Some people pick a word to focus on throughout the year, like “balance,” “independence,” or “connection.” For instance, “balance” could mean setting boundaries on the shared work calendar, or meal prepping for the family every Sunday.
“Independence” could mean learning how to file the family’s taxes, get a car inspection, or lead a work project.
Focus on “connection” by joining a club or having a date night with one of your kids regularly.
What’s your word? This is where reflection about this past year can lead the way. What were you missing? What did you start, but want to do more of? How are you growing? Our founder is choosing these three phrases for 2021: “presence, awareness, build for the future.”
Make a plan
Nothing happens without a positive mindset and a plan. You can download an annual planning workbook to help you map out your intentions. Then be sure to find someone to keep you accountable. Remember, we all need a little help to get by.
A new calendar year doesn’t mean you have to completely change everything about yourself. In fact, we love you just the way you are. But if you’re looking for inspo on goals to put on that vision board, we have a few good ones for ya.
Making New Year’s resolutions — or rather, routines — doesn’t have to suck. With the right mindset, planning, and accountability, you’ll be set up for success.
Check out our list of six New Year's goals for your 2021 to get inspired.