2020 has been one hell of a year, and I'm sure that anyone reading this can agree. But whether we believe it or not, 2021 is here. I am looking forward to this new year because even though 2020 has been extremely different and chaotic, to say the least, I feel like I have grown a lot more than I would've if it were another normal year. 2021 is an opportunity to begin the new year with a different perspective and attitude than ever before. But most importantly, we have to enter the new year with REALISTIC and ATTAINABLE goals. Usually, that's easier said than done, so here are 6 easy steps to make it happen!
1. Be Optimistic & Hopeful
Leaving 2020 behind (thankfully), it's hard to imagine going into the new year with high hopes and optimism. But, being positive and grateful is the best option for you once January 1st comes around. Think about it like this. 2020 happened, and it was something you would have never imagined to experience. And yet, you did, and you are still here today. So 2021 will be nothing you can't handle. Have hope and look at the brighter side of things. I recommend writing down one act of positivity that you want to achieve each day. This will keep you accountable and show you that being a bit more optimistic each day can improve your mood more than you expected.
2. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals for Yourself
S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.
Specific: Be specific and thoroughly write out your goals in detail. This will help you clearly see your goals instead of just writing down a vague or general statement that can apply to anyone else. By being specific, you know what your plan is, and you will be more likely to want to achieve it.
Measurable: Use specific terms and dates to track your progress. When making your goals measurable, ask yourself: How will I know if I am on track to reaching my goal? Define how you will measure your progress by organizing your objectives to get closer to success.
Attainable: Be honest with yourself. Setting goals that you know that you're unlikely to reach will only lead to disappointment and feeling bad about yourself. Make goals that challenge you but are achievable and will give you a sense of achievement and satisfaction.
Relevant: This is a very important part of S.M.A.R.T. goals. Don't waste your time and energy writing down things to accomplish that you already do every day. Write down tasks that will make you grow and become the best possible version of yourself. You will benefit so much from this because it will help you realize what's important to you.
Timely: The timely aspect of S.M.A.R.T. goals relates to them being measurable. Give yourself reasonable deadlines and hold yourself accountable. Being timely will give you a final date to achieve your goal and keep up with your progression. However, don't be too strict on these dates. Life happens and things change, so set logical dates and don't be afraid to make changes if necessary.
3. Be Patient
The most important thing I've learned about making realistic new years resolutions is being patient with yourself. We are not perfect and sometimes life gets the best of us. And that's ok. What really counts is being patient with yourself and not giving up. There's no better feeling than overcoming your struggles and sticking to your goals. It makes you feel that much more accomplished. Entering the new year, you have to understand that many things won't go as planned and will try to take you down... basically 2020. So be patient and give yourself some breaks. You're not always going to be on your A-game and that's perfectly ok.
4. Think Practically
Thinking practically has helped me feel so much more accomplished and satisfied when reaching my goals. This point relates mostly to making S.M.A.R.T. goals when writing out your resolutions. Don't make promises to yourself that you can't keep. In the end, you will feel like you let yourself down, but in reality, your goals were not realistic and practically impossible to achieve, given your circumstances. Be honest with yourself and know your limits when making your resolutions. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't push yourself and avoid lying around all day. Practical thinking includes balance. It will help you understand yourself better, and you'll be much more productive throughout the year instead of only during the first weeks of January.
5. Adapt to Change
If 2020 has taught me anything, it's to adapt to change! We can all agree that this is a very important life skill, especially after everything that has happened this past year. Change is inevitable, so be open to it and do your best to accommodate yourself. When you learn to accept change and adapt to it, you will feel more control over your life. Turning a situation around and putting it in your favor gives you a sense of freedom and will make your life so much easier. I am terrible at this, but it's something I'm going to focus on throughout the year. I definitely recommend taking the time to think about this and finding ways to have a better attitude when things unexpectedly change in your life.
6. Don't be too Hard on Yourself
Making New Year's resolutions can be kind of a drag and make you feel unmotivated for the upcoming year. Or it can excite you because you want a fresh start as far away from 2020 as possible. I feel both drained and excited, but I'm writing my New Year's resolutions with an open mind and doing my best to be more optimistic for the future. If you fail or don't quite reach your goal, don't beat yourself up about it! Keep in mind that no one is perfect, and things change. The important thing is to continue to work towards our goals and strive to be the best. You learn so much about yourself in this process, especially your strengths and weaknesses. Push yourself to let go of bad habits but don't make yourself feel terrible for setbacks or not completing your original tasks. It's all going to be ok.