Image description: Colourful fireworks against the background of a night sky
Needless to say, 2020 was a tough year for us all but in spite of the adversities, many of us used it as an opportunity to re-evaluate our priorities. Over the past year, we have all had our fair share of tears, laughter, frustration, hope, anxieties, and reflection. In light of the pandemic, many of us have perhaps changed how we set aspirations, moving from a more superficial approach to focusing on the things which truly matter. Given that we are now over two weeks into 2021, it seemed fitting to explore how our approach to New Year’s Resolutions has changed to investing energy into more meaningful commitments. We may have spent New Year’s Eve differently this year, but did the low-key celebrations mark a significant shift in the way we value our time going forward?
Why can we not stick to New Year’s resolutions?
On average, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. One of the biggest reasons for why people fail to keep to their resolutions is because they tend to set superficial, non-specific, fixed goals: “I want to exercise more”, “I want to drink less coffee”, “I want to eat healthier.” Do you notice a pattern? Not only are these goals meaningless, but they tend to focus on short-term satisfaction rather than thinking about commitments that will make us feel happier, healthier, and fulfilled. It is no wonder that so many of us struggle to stick to our resolutions!
There needs to be a shift away from creating superficial goals based on materialistic issues and instead, we need to transcend the surface-level to achieve a true state of fulfilment.
A shift in resolutions
2020 gave us all a great deal of time for introspection and wholesome activities. Whether that was connecting with friends over FaceTime, walking for a few hours in nature with loved ones, journaling, or doing artwork, self-care became a top priority for many of us.
If this year has taught us anything, it is that perhaps it is time to evaluate the way we set our goals and aspirations. Would it not be better to set goals which focus on benefitting our mental health and make us feel better about ourselves? There needs to be a shift away from creating superficial goals based on materialistic issues and instead, we need to transcend the surface-level to achieve a true state of fulfilment.
Be kinder to yourself
As cheesy as it sounds, this year has taught me to be kinder to myself in every sense possible. During the months of lockdown, I learned to acknowledge the situation we were in and found ways to stay positive. That meant that instead of forcing myself to do intense workouts five days a week, I found other ways to stay fit and healthy in an enjoyable way. Some ways I did that was by doing dance workouts, yoga or taking long walks in nature. With everything that I do now- be that studying, exercising, cooking, planning- I think of how I can do these things in ways that keep me positive and happy.
Another thing that has greatly altered the way I feel is by practising self-affirmations. Telling myself that I am handling a situation really well or reminding myself that I am proud for taking time out to tend to my mental health has made a great deal of difference to my general wellbeing. Essentially, I think that 2021 is the year for people to become more in tune with how they feel, create more balance, and take every day as it comes.
Top tips for setting goals
We may be a couple of weeks into 2021, but it is never too late to set new goals. I personally love goal setting regardless of the occasion- be that the start of a term, month, or new venture – as it focuses me on what I want to achieve.
1. Split goals into sub-categories
Compartmentalising my life into subcategories gives me the breadth to consider all aspects of my life. I split it up as follows: physical/mental health, self-growth, intellectual, relationships, spiritual, hobbies, finance.
2. Be specific
As I make my goals, I think of how I am going to achieve my aims, instead of what I want to achieve.
3. Why do you want to achieve your goal?
Your why will give you purpose and push you to make your dreams a reality when you feel like giving up.
4. Make measurable goals
You need to hold yourself accountable for the goals you have set. How are you going to know when you have reached your aim?
5. Review your goals regularly
I review my New Year’s Resolutions at the end of every month as I can reflect on how far I have progressed and perhaps update them thereafter.
A different NYE, a different year?
New Year’s Eve was different from usual. This year, I valued the fact that I was able to spend it with people I love, having meaningful conversations as we reflected on the past year, topped off with a good boogie of course!
If this year has taught us anything, it is that life is incredibly unpredictable. Going forward, every opportunity to spend with a loved one is one that I will make the most of. As much as I will remain driven and work-oriented, I believe that this year is time to invest more energy into relationships and self-care.
If this year has taught us anything, it is that life is incredibly unpredictable. Going forward, every opportunity to spend with a loved one is one that I will make the most of.
It is time for us all to be kinder to ourselves, focus on the things which we truly value and remember that every day may not be the best. The most important thing is to deal with these days by reminding ourselves of how well we are tackling the hurdles, reaching out to our support networks, and looking after ourselves. So, in the words of Mika, “relax, take it easy.”