If you made a New Year’s resolution, chances are you’ve either quit already or you’re considering doing so. But you’re not alone—80 percent of people end their New Year’s goals by mid-February. While it doesn’t mean that your personal goals are unattainable, it is an indicator that you might need to make some adjustments. From altering your attitude to choosing short-term over long-term goals, there’s still time to salvage your “failed” New Year’s resolutions. But before we go around giving advice about good New Year’s resolutions, this is how ours are actually going.
As native Californians, we’re used to being surrounded by health-forward New Year’s resolutions, and this year, we decided to try them for ourselves. We checked in with a few folks at the One Planet Ops office (our parent company) to see how hard it really is to stick with our personal development goals. From financial health to physical fitness, this is how well our Bay Area team is doing.
I set several personal goals for this year, primarily focusing on my finances and getting outside. I typically set New Year’s resolutions for myself, so I’m pretty used to holding myself accountable, but some goals are easier to keep than others.
My boyfriend and I were tired of being homebodies on weeknights, so my New Year’s resolution list included playing soccer or basketball a couple of nights per week. While it was easy to stay consistent through most of January, the freezing temperatures and early sunsets in February made us want to stay inside. While we wouldn’t say this resolution has failed, it’s currently paused until the weather improves. We’ve found that being active is fun when we’re playing sports we enjoy—it's even become one of our favorite date-night activities.
In addition to getting active, I decided that 2020 was the year for me to take control of my finances. Along with monitoring my spending habits, I wanted to learn how to invest. To see what I spend the most money on, I organize my credit card expenses into categories and tally up how much I’ve spent by the end of the week. This simple step has made me realize just how frivolously I’ve been spending. Not only has it offered the wake-up call I was looking for, but it’s also allowed me to save 15 percent more than usual.
Investing has been much more challenging for me. Because I don’t know a lot about it, I fear that I’ll make the wrong choice. I feel like I still need to do more research before taking the leap, but I am hopeful that this will still be the year. A friend recently shared an investment app with me that would allow me to invest as little as $5 at a time, so I’m considering starting there.
My New Year's resolution was to start taking better care of myself. While I didn’t set specific steps, my goal was intentionally broad; I know self-care is not always a linear process, and I didn’t want to punish myself for not accomplishing something specific. Overall, I am having a healthy New Year, am happy with the progress I’ve made, and am eager to continue making improvements as the year goes on.
Between eating more protein and choosing healthier foods, putting on face masks, reading more, and going to a meditation class, I’ve been making small changes every week. While nobody else might notice a change, I feel closer to accomplishing my goals and aspirations than ever.
Apparently, I was feeling ambitious this year. I set 11 goals for myself, covering everything from fitness and gratitude to new experiences and reducing debt. While I’ve realized that it’s not practical for me to implement them all at the same time—I started to slip on some of the goals after the first week of January—choosing so many resolutions has also illuminated the areas I want to work on over the year.
Increasing my meditation from once each day to twice a day has proven to be manageable, especially since I haven’t put time restrictions on it—it could be three minutes, it could be ten, but what matters is that I’m doing it. Journaling once per week, trying new experiences each month, and setting aside a portion of each paycheck to pay off my debt have also been attainable thus far.
My other goals (such as doing yoga once a week, cooking two new recipes every month, practicing daily gratitude, and saving money) are still good resolutions, but they’ll take more time to accomplish. I’m currently on a two-week social media detox, and as I become more consistent with the resolutions I’m already working on, I will continue adding in my other resolutions each quarter.
*The names in this article have been changed for anonymity.
Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail
While we think our resolutions have been pretty effective so far, there are dozens of reasons why they often don’t work out. The best New Year’s resolutions are highly customized and pertain to things you can actually change. Though it can be tempting to focus on career aspirations and work goals, these elements are largely out of our control; while you can present yourself in the best possible light, you can’t force someone to hire you or your boss to like you. But there’s no use fixating on things that aren’t working, so instead, remember that achieving goals doesn’t happen overnight—and take it easy on yourself.
Goal Setting 101
If you’re struggling to stick with your goals and need to make some alterations to your original resolution, try to:
- Choose measurable goals you can realistically accomplish
- Opt for short-term goals if you can’t stick with long-term ones
- Focus on something that you actually want to do
- Frame it positively (e.g., say “I will eat more salad” instead of “I will stop eating junk food”)
- Make sure it’s within your control
- Take it slow so you don’t feel overwhelmed
- Celebrate the small victories and don’t get discouraged
- Consider the costs (of both time and money), and look for the least expensive alternatives
- Ask a friend to work on the goals with you
- Believe in yourself
So, how’s your resolution going? Let us know in the comments below.
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