We’re almost a quarter of the way into 2021, and despite the challenges that are both behind and still ahead of us, I know many people made new resolutions or goals for the year. This tradition can be a way to identify and change what may have lapsed in the past year, or it can be an opportunity to enhance an important aspect of your life. Often, this is about the time of year when enthusiasm for those resolutions wanes and people let them fall by the wayside.
Here’s how I stay on track.
Setting Intentions Rather Than Making Resolutions
Rather than making resolutions for myself, I prefer to set intentions and goals for the new year that stem from my top personal values, which are God, health, and family. My values are a strong reminder of what is most important to me and they provide a compass for strengthening and enriching these different, yet interrelated, aspects of my life.
As I contemplated on where I wanted my focus to be this year, I thought about how challenging 2020 had been for everyone, including me. For one, I realized I hadn’t been consistent with some of my health issues, because I wasn’t able to follow through with medical appointments. So, I decided my first goal for 2021 was to be intentional about taking my health to the next level—especially after being stuck in the house for most of last year due to the pandemic. I know from past personal experience, if my health suffers too much, I can’t be there for my family—or myself—in the way I want to be.
The other goal I set was to make this the best year ever with my daughter by spending more quality time together and really connecting with her before she heads off to college next fall. By being intentional about this goal, we have already had such a great first few months of the year.
Don’t Overcommit Yourself
Did you create goals or resolutions for yourself this year? If so, have you been able to make progress on them, or have you hit some roadblocks?
Even in a “normal” year, sticking with the things that we promise ourselves we’ll do can be difficult at times. It can be hard to maintain focus on them, especially in the face of other challenges and distractions. Even when something is really important to you, it can still be easy to get off track, lose your willpower or discipline, or just bail out completely.
I understand—because I have done this too.
An important lesson I learned over the years is that when I’ve overcommitted myself by making too many new goals, it’s been a recipe for disaster. My life is busy enough as it is, so trying to juggle too many balls inevitably leads to dropping a few. Instead, each year I only make 1 or 2 meaningful goals on which to focus and then I put as much energy as I can into them. This has worked out really well!
3 Strategies to Stay Focused on Your Goals
I have also found that certain practices have helped me to keep important goals in my line of sight. This way, at the end of the year, I can look back and feel good that I was able to stick with them and know my life is better because of the commitments I made to myself.
Here are 3 simple strategies to help you achieve your goals:
- Write down your goal(s) using the steps below and read them each day. I know this might sound too simple, but it really can help fortify your intention to reach them:
- Identify what your goal is
- Briefly describe why the goal is important to you, and
- How you will feel by achieving it
- Take personal responsibility for your decisions and actions. These are up to you—not anyone else. Owning what you do and the choices you make each day can help you stay focused on the goals that are important to you. This practice also prevents you from casting blame onto someone else for what you did or didn’t do.
- Clear your head with some daily meditation or prayer. It’s so easy to get sidetracked, especially during stressful times. I find that taking a break from what I call my “monkey mind” with even a short meditation helps me to recalibrate and get grounded. The time spent focused on my breathing can also give me greater insight and perspective on my goals, as well as any resistance I might be experiencing with them. I welcome you to join me for 10 minutes with this free meditation video, so you can get the benefits too!
Whether your goals for this year are related to improving your mental or physical health, finding love, getting out of debt, strengthening your relationships—or whatever is uniquely important to you—know that when you succeed, your life will be enriched in a new way.
I believe you can do it!
For more inspiration, order my recently released memoir, The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child: How Persistence, Grit, and Faith Created a Reluctant Healer.