It’s Not Too Late To Achieve Your 2021 New Year Goals
It is really easy to set new year goals and resolutions but it is ten times as hard to achieve them. Given the rough year we all have faced due to the pandemic, it possibly made it 20 times as hard.
Setting a goal is the easy part, following through with it, not so much. This difficulty is compounded when the challenges we did not plan for arise. But difficult does not signify impossible.
Many of us began the year with the hope that the pandemic would settle and that we would again be in a position to go after the goals we missed in 2020. I got myself mentally prepared (at least I thought I did ) and stuck up every major major goal I had for this year on a foam board and hung it in the perfect spot- the section of my wall that I open my eyes to every morning.
It’s now September. Three-quarters of the year has passed and the equivalent measure of my poster-boarded goals look back at me every morning, reminding me of their incompletion.
Why you don’t follow your New Year’s resolutions- 2021
The Pain of Inconsistency in your New Year Goals
Inconsistency is the single most lethal act towards a failed new year’s resolution and to goals in general. On the first of January, even after the champagne wears off, there is still the sense of something special- a new beginning. However, as the days and weeks pass, the importance of your goals subside and you allow yourself to miss one…two…then three days in a row.
Before you have a chance to realise it, you find yourself off the main road that was leading to your intended destination.
There are many factors that have the power to break the consistency of a well-intentioned habit. They can be physical, mental and social. Below, I highlight an example of each.
Earlier this year, the number of COVID cases began to rise in my small and economically fragile island of St. Vincent. As experienced by many across the globe, non-essential businesses spoke of possible closures- including my gym. I decided not to renew my membership until things settled again.
The gym ended up closing for about a week or two. By this time though, I had broken the gym routine that I re-established in the previous year.
A physical interruption to our developed or developing routines serves as a perfect excuse to “take a break” or to “put it on hold for a while.” But it only becomes powerful enough to derail us when we give it that power.
You can’t become committed or consistent with a weak mind. How many workouts have you missed because your mind, not your body, told you you were tired? How many reps have you missed out on because your mind said, “Nine reps is enough. Don’t worry about the tenth.” Probably thousands for most people, including myself. And 99% are due to weakness of the mind, not the body.
— Drew Shamrock
Mental exhaustion is real. It is arguably more debilitating than physical exhaustion. It can happen when we have a lot on our plate or if we go in too hard, too fast. If you set goals that require you to dive in headfirst, without building up to it, you could be setting yourself up for an unsustainable challenge.
I am by no means saying it will be impossible but it will require more grit to stick with it.
How successful are your resolutions that go from 0 to 100 (real quick)? How does the success of those resolutions compare to the goals that require you to build upon an already existing habit?
If you put two drivers- we’ll call them Jo and Jay- into a Formula 1 Car, who is more likely to come out ahead in a race?
Jo: Moved from Karting to Formula 3 then to Formula 2.
Jay: Just got his driver’s license.
Jumping headfirst has taught a few to swim. However, it’s risky. Without grit and determination, it’s too easy to drown.
The influence from your circle can either be beneficial to your new year goals or detrimental.
Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.
We are not only influenced by our friends but by our entire social circle-Family, co-workers and in this decade and the ones to come, by our digital friends on Social Media.
Do the goals of the people in your circle align with what you are trying to achieve? Furthermore, do they make an effort to become better themselves?
The influence from those closest to us is in my estimation, the most difficult derailment to identify as the full effect is difficult to see until it is compounded. The subtlety of this influence also comes from the reality that our friends may not wish us any harm. A well-intentioned night at the bar too often is likely to convert to many missed mornings of your planned gym sessions.
You don’t get out of the planning stage
What does it mean to be stuck in the planning stage?
For just about the entire year, one of the unfulfilled plans is to create an offer for my newsletter (Subscribe if you haven’t yet!). Every so often, I write down ideas, make outlines…but to date, I have not actually made progress towards developing and completing the final product!
This is what it means to be stuck in the planning stage.
This could look like a number of things…
- Endlessly shopping for workout outfits without stepping foot in the gym
- Adding to your list of 100 books you would like to read this year without starting any
- Making a list of post ideas without making the attempt to begin writing
Bouncing back in 2021- It’s not too late to achieve your new year goals
You might feel like your goal for this year is now futile. Well, think again.
There are other means of arriving at your destination. Side roads and pathways exist. The main road isn’t the only route.
Though giving up may feel like the more comfortable route, you should know that you cannot improve by staying in your comfort zone– Not even if it’s “only for the rest of this year.” Instead of giving in to the procrastination mindset here are a few things you can try.
Refocus- for the year
Bring back the focus to what you really want to accomplish. Extravagant and distant goals can take you away from effective goals that can make an impact now. What you planned to accomplish this year may no longer be possible in the time available for the rest of the year.
Here is where you accept that and narrow your focus on the goals that matter most. Take a look at your unfinished goals. List them by order of priority at this point in time. You may just find that you feel a sense of urgency in one goal now more than you did at the beginning of the year. Highlight this goal and focus on achieving it within the time frame left.
Resize- your goals
There may be those goals on the list that you could still manage to do but on a smaller scale.
Take some examples from my 2021 new year’s goals for example:
New year goal: Travel to the US and Canada
Resized: Have a great getaway experience in my own country
New year goal: Work from home full-time
The fact that you can no longer, at this point, see your goals through on the scale you initially wanted to does not signal that you should give up on them entirely. Start anyway!
At least by next year, you would have a great head start and be more likely to accomplish them on the scale you initially planned.
Reform & Re-shape- your mindset
Don’t be afraid to adapt.
As times change, so might your resources, your situation and your way of thinking. The pandemic changed the dynamics of how we did a lot of the things that have been second nature to us. But as many people and businesses have realised, it makes no sense to waste time and other resources trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole.
The people who recognise this early on and adapt come out above and ahead.
One of your new year’s goals may have been to build your networking skills. However, if you are hung up on doing this by attending in-person functions and events, you’re likely to not hit this goal. However, if you reshape your thinking and adapt by being open to attending virtual events, your goal is still very much possible.
In my gym example earlier, I could have chosen to adapt to home workouts on my scheduled gym days.
Re-imagine- the timeline
Think in smaller increments of time.
A runner who thinks about the entire marathon is likely to become more exhausted than the runner who used checkpoints as milestones within the longer marathon. This reminds me of the way I forced myself to look at University. It was daunting to think about the years I had left to complete my degree. So instead, I focused on a semester at a time. Each semester was a milestone that dug into the overall Two and a half year milestone.
If you try this with your larger and daunting goals, you are likely to feel more motivated to get through it. And as you get through each milestone, it energizes you for the one to come. You, therefore, build the momentum that makes it near impossible to stagnate or to give up on it.
Commit- to your goals
For one week, set yourself a schedule. Be determined to follow that schedule for the next week only. Don’t think about the rest of the year. Commit to that one week and see the difference it makes in your willpower. Don’t focus on the results yet- focus on how it makes you feel at the end of the week. Commit knowing that the time you have left is shortened.
More on How to Achieve your New Year’s Goals — –> How to Have Your Best Year Ever!
Takeaway: How to achieve your new year goals before the end of this year
Move forward. That’s the number one tip.
Do not allow past inaction to hamper your potential. There is still time to accomplish a goal that you haven’t accomplished yet. Just keep moving forward.
Refocus. Resize. Reform. Re-imagine and Commit.
Failure lies only in never having tried. Veering off the path doesn’t mean you can’t get back on it. It will take some rerouting but ultimately, you can make it to the same destination. It just takes some strategizing and commitment.
Go forth and be great, my friend.