Six Ways to Set Healthy, Attainable New Year’s Resolutions in 2021

December 31, 2020

2021 is upon us (finally), and the vision of leaving 2020 behind and wiping the slate clean has many of us seeking a hard reset and fresh start in 2021. In fact, according to a survey conducted for the productivity app creator Evernote, more people are making resolutions in 2020 than in years past – 32% compared to 28% in 2019. And a recent IPSOS poll found that nearly three-quarters of those making resolutions say the pandemic has shaped the goals they’re making for next year.

With the life-altering upending of our personal and professional environments due to COVID-19, it’s no surprise that many healthy habits and routines took a back seat this year. And that is okay. Because of this, health-related goals are the top priority among Americans who plan on making resolutions, with 66% indicating that theirs will be health-related resolutions, including self-care.

Whether it’s finding the motivation to implement an exercise routine to lose quarantine weight or focusing on mental health and overall wellness, it’s important to be mindful that you may be putting too much undue pressure on yourself (and the year 2021, in general) when it comes to your New Year’s goals. So, if you want to make resolutions that will last beyond January, it’s important to reframe how you think about resolutions themselves. A few tweaks to how you handle New Year’s Resolutions could make a world of difference in whether you reach them.

Keep it Simple
Having a goal of losing 50 pounds this year can be overwhelming and unrealistic. First, break that goal into doable micro-steps. This could be as small as walking on the treadmill for one minute a day or cutting out one dessert a week. What’s important is that these small goals feel possible to stick to, persist, and you can build upon them. The hardest part of change is making it automatic. Tiny habits will flourish if you stick with them.

Be Mindful of Your Motivation
Remember, just because it’s the first day of January, that doesn’t mean you will automatically feel motivated to crush your new goals. It’s important to focus on the reasons why you’ve set the goal, and remind yourself of that why. Are you afraid something bad might happen to you if you don’t reach this goal – like getting sick if you don’t quit smoking? Or did you choose it because you want to improve your life and have a better time – like being able to be active with your kids by summer?

Keeping positive “what-if” scenarios in your head instead of worst-case scenarios can help you stay motivated towards your goals. And remember to feed that motivation with small rewards along the way as you reach mini milestones.

Don’t Post Your Goals to Social Media
It can be very tempting to put your goals out into the Facebook and Instagram universe as a form of manifestation – especially with social media being the main source of connection in these isolating times. But according to Shawn Daugherty, PsyD at the Medical Center of Aurora in Colorado, posting goals on social media can actually cause a lack of motivation. If you post prematurely, all the likes and positive feedback you receive can create a false sense of accomplishment and weaken your commitment to your goal. If you must, it’s a much better move to post after you’ve reached your goal, and “wow” your followers then. However, according to researchers, individuals are much more likely to achieve their goals if they keep them off social media altogether.

Identify, imagine and focus on your desired positive outcome
Visualizing your goals is a powerful way to not only help keep you focused on the desired results of reaching them, but can help you identify the specific resources your resolution requires. It will also help you mobilize a sustained pursuit of the goal. BrainTap’s guided visualization sessions can help you envision your goals and give you the motivation to see them come to life this year.

Treat Your Goal Like An Internship
Some studies say it can take 66 days for a new habit to become part of your routine. At Brain Health Sciences, we know using your BrainTap sessions can make that time much shorter and make accomplishing goals faster and easier. Use this “internship” time to research the habit you’re trying to change or implement. Read up, take notes, and set a strategy that breaks your long-term goal into digestible, short-term learning goals. According to Dr. Daugherty, this type of mindset can help you stick with your resolutions long past the end of January.

Go easy on yourself
No one can be perfect all the time, especially when we’re in survival mode. We are human and we’re going to fail. The important thing is that you don’t let a setback become a spiral. Big changes are made up of small victories over time — but they also include setbacks. Plan for mistakes and envision yourself getting back on track if you slip off.

If you’re pursuing a New Year’s resolution for 2021, then following these steps might just make your goals a reality. Remember to lead your journey with self-compassion. And whatever your goals may be, we’re here to help you reach them. Get in touch with us and let us put you on the right path to achieve your best year yet! And check out our personal wellness and professional achievement programs, uniquely designed to guide you on your path to optimal mental and physical health.

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