I’ll admit it: I don’t think I met even half of my New Year's resolutions for 2020. Sure, I was able to get some smaller things tackled and taken care of. The current state of the world is making it pretty challenging to check things off my long-term to-do list, though.
I know I’m not alone. Lots of us probably didn’t meet our 2020 goals, and that’s okay.
It might feel a little silly and overwhelming to make resolutions and goals for 2021 when we have no clue what the year will hold. It’s still an important thing to do. We need to have goals and milestones to work toward in order to keep us motivated and keep us moving through these unpredictable circumstances.
Here are seven things you can do to set New Year’s resolutions during uncertain times.
1. Make Sure Your New Year's Resolutions Are SMART
SMART goals are:
Here’s a quick example. Saying, “I want to start making more money in 2021,” is a start, but it’s pretty vague. How are you going to accomplish that New Year's resolution? Why do you want to do it?
Instead, you could say, “I want to make $500 extra per month by freelance writing and tutoring during 2021 so that I can save up to purchase a new car in 2022.” Then, make sure you come up with a detailed plan for how you’re going to find the work and make that money.
2. Take It Slowly And Start Small
This sort of goes hand in hand with making sure your New Year's resolutions are SMART. It can be really easy to get caught up in the hype of a new year and list dozens of tremendous goals to accomplish. This can be even more tempting if you’re eager to bounce back from the hot mess that was 2020.
If you set your sights way too high or take on too much all at once, you’re more likely to get overwhelmed and lose motivation when it comes to reaching your goals. This is not to say that those big New Year's resolutions are not good ones. You’ll probably have more success in meeting your goals if you whittle them down and make sure they’re actually attainable, though.
Good New Year's Resolutions:
I want to start a new business and earn a million dollars in 2021.
Better New Year's Resolutions:
I want to develop a business plan by February 15.
I want to launch a website for my business by March 10.
I want to earn enough each month through my business to quit my day job by August 1.
3. Identify Potential Roadblocks
This is a bit harder to do now than it usually is. We really don’t know what 2021 will hold as far as lockdowns, the economy, and life in general. You can still identify a few obstacles you know might prevent you from reaching your goals. You can also develop a plan for working around those things.
Here’s an example:
Goal: I want to focus on my health and work out twice a week.
Problem: Gyms in my area might be closed or operating at a limited capacity.
Plan: I will purchase a few simple pieces of workout equipment and find home workout videos I can follow along with in case I can’t go to the gym.
We can’t accurately anticipate exactly what the future will hold, but we can do our best to plan for overcoming possible difficulties.
4. Write Your New Year's Resolutions Down
Once you’ve decided what your goals or New Year's resolutions are for 2021, write those goals down! Seeing your goals written down will help solidify them in your mind. Plus, you’ll be reminded of what you’re working toward every time you see the goals.
You can write them in your planner, on a whiteboard in your office, or anywhere else where you’ll be able to see them on a regular basis. If you’re a very visual person, try creating a vision board, a collage, or a journal spread based on your New Year’s resolutions.
5. Share Your New Year's Resolutions
Sharing your goals and your progress with a friend or colleague is an excellent way to hold yourself accountable. Plus, it’s a great way to let your network know that you’re open to accepting help. If you share that you’re planning to start your own business in 2021, one of your peers might be prompted to connect you with a person or a resource that can help you get the job done.
If you can find someone who has the same New Year's resolutions and wants to work toward them with you, that’s even better. Having an accountability buddy to celebrate and commiserate with is always a bonus when you’re aiming to reach a significant goal.
6. Be Flexible
We’ve all heard this phrase: “Improvise, adapt, and overcome.” If you really want to reach your goals in 2021, this needs to be your motto.
As we’ve clearly seen over this past year, things can drastically change at any moment. You don’t need to sacrifice your ultimate vision due to the uncertain state of the world, but you should keep in mind that your path to achieving your goals might change over the course of the year. You might have to alter your timeline, change up your methods, and re-evaluate whether your New Year's resolutions are still realistic.
Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with adjusting your goals for the year and modifying your plan for achieving them, especially during these uncertain times.
7. Go Easy On Yourself
It’s important to hold yourself accountable, but it’s equally as important to be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a self-imposed deadline or fall behind in making progress toward reaching your goals.
The best (and really only) thing you can do is regroup, learn from your mistakes, and keep trying. The longer you dwell on your slip-ups, the longer it’ll take you to get back on track and reach your goals.
Conclusion: You Can Still Set New Year’s Resolutions And Goals During Uncertain Times
Nobody is sure of much of anything right now, and there’s honestly a good chance that 2021 is going to throw us a few more curveballs. No matter what happens, you can reach your goals by planning ahead and keeping an open mind.