Don’t set a resolution for 2021 — Here’s why

It’s that time of year where the obligatory New Year’s resolutions are made.

People will make resolutions to better themselves, which usually fall into one of the three major categories: health, wealth, and self-improvement. 

New Year’s resolutions can range from improved physical health habits to focusing on routines to improve mental health issues.

People join gyms, pick up new hobbies, plan to make a monthly budget, or eat fewer calories. 

The numbers behind New Year‘s resolutions

Resolutions are popular, and surveys identified that nearly 73% of people create them each year. However, the University of Scranton conducted a study that found only 77% of people who made New Year’s resolutions stuck to them for a week. 

An even more dismal number, the same study showed only 19% of people who made resolutions achieved them within two years. An even more recent survey by Statista revealed that only four percent of those surveyed stayed with their New Year’s resolutions.

With an optimistic 19% success rate to a pathetic four percent rate, the time and energy that go into creating New Year’s resolutions is hardly worth the effort. Because of these numbers, it’s best to forgo the usual tradition and opt for something else instead.

Don’t make a resolution; make a goal

To the average person, a New Year’s resolution may sound the same as a goal.

However, a resolution is more aligned with a wish or a desire rather than a measurable plan to achieve a result. 

Resolutions are usually broad and take on the form of something like:

  • I want to get out of debt next year
  • I will start exercising more
  • I want to read one book a month

Goals, on the other hand, look like this:

  • I will pay off $10,000 by March of next year by sticking to a monthly budget and using my tax return towards my credit card bill.
  • On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, after work, I will go to the gym on my way home and exercise for 30 minutes.
  • Starting next month, I will read one chapter a night from my chosen book before going to bed.

These goals set you up to focus on a specific target and a clear path on how to get there. To structure your New Year’s Goals appropriately, follow the S.M.A.R.T. formula.

  • Specific
    • The goal should be a specific number or desired result rather than a general statement or outcome.
  • Measurable
    • While you are moving towards the completion of a goal, there needs to be a way to measure success. Measurements during the progression allow you to change or maintain your plan to ensure you reach the target.
  • Achievable
    • The goal needs to be achievable with minimal outside influence. Each person has an area of control, an area of influence, and an area of concern. Goals should be within your specific area of control.
  • Realistic
    • Expecting to lose 100 pounds in a month through exercise alone is an unrealistic goal. Set goals that have a chance of being met but are still difficult to achieve.
  • Timely
    • Without a time limit on your goal, there is no pressure to buckle down to achieve it. If you say you want to lose 20 pounds and don’t give yourself a set date to lose it, undoubtedly, you will struggle to lose the weight. Set a time limit on your goal to pressure yourself to accomplish it.

Forget the resolutions and set SMART goals

This New Year set SMART goals for 2021.

As we see the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, use 2021 as a springboard to make progress on some of your long-held goals and dreams.