According to a handful of studies I looked at before writing this, somewhere between 80% and 90% of New Years resolutions are abandoned shortly after making them. This is often due to goals being too ambitious, too vague, too much of a departure from our current lifestyles and interests, depriving us of something we really enjoy, or too focused on achieving a particular goal rather than improving our lives by increasing or reducing behaviors.
Life is difficult enough without us being hard on ourselves or setting ourselves up for failure by establishing unrealistic goals. So, this year, maybe we should all consider focusing more on progress than perfection, setting intentions instead of rigid goals, and sticking with resolutions that we can keep and that will improve our lives, health, or community involvement at least a little.
One of the key components in making resolutions you can keep is making them measurable and being specific. For example, instead of a vague goal like “I am going to walk more,” try something you can easily quantify like, “I am going to walk three additional miles each week.”
Secondly, your goals are going to be easier to achieve if they help you live in line with your values. As I mentioned in last year’s New Year column, one thing that many of us gained in the pandemic is clarity regarding our priorities. We now have a better understanding of what is important to us and deserves our energy. If your resolutions help you live in line with these values, they will be easier and more satisfying to accomplish.
Something else that will help you keep your resolutions this year is building on goals you are already achieving. An example would be expanding the water-saving efforts you have already fully incorporated into your life to gently push yourself to up your water-conservation game even more. This might include adding another rain barrel to your gutter system, expanding your drip system, or reducing your family’s meat consumption.
Whatever you choose for your resolutions this year, remember to be kind to yourself, grateful for the loved ones in your life, and committed to making time for self-care.
Here’s to the new year! May it bring you peace, joy, love, and prosperity however you define each of those.
AimeeJo Davis-Varela is a freelance writer specializing in real estate, sustainable home improvement, eco-friendly landscaping, green living and travel writing. She is also the owner of Mind Your Manors, which provides second home management services.
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