A New Year comes and just like that, everyone seems to be crushing their goals. One of your coworkers is heading to the gym every day at 5 AM, and your closest mom friend is on a new ultra-productive schedule. When we meet a New Year, we feel inclined to show up as our best selves. Many of us put into practice the things we’ve been meaning to do for the past several months.
But, for some of us, New Years comes on the heels of a busy and stressful season. The holidays are full of joy, light, and togetherness, but they can also be full of sadness, stress, and grief. You may have gotten some unexpected job news, life changes, a surprise pregnancy, or there may be someone missing at your table. It’s dark and cold outside. It’s okay if you need some time to decompress.
Maybe you had the best intentions to start off the New Year on the right foot. You wanted to implement a new fitness routine, read your Bible every day, or just keep up with the laundry, but you got sidetracked. If you feel left behind as the New Year begins, you’re not alone.
If you have goals you need a little encouragement to get started, you’re in good company. Let’s talk through implementing New Year’s resolutions in a way that feels attainable.
Sift through your motivations.
Let’s face it: in an age of hyper-awareness of others and social media scrolling, we can want something for the wrong reasons. You may want to keep a cleaner home because you’ve been comparing yourself to someone online. You may want to earn some extra money so you can afford the newest item an influencer is promoting. And neither of these things are inherently bad! But it’s important to consider whether you’d still like to achieve these goals if you weren’t being affected by others.
There’s no shame in this process – give yourself grace. Honestly assessing your motivations will give you the best shot at implementing meaningful goals. You’ll be putting effort into achieving your goals, and you want to make sure they are goals you care about outside of anyone else’s opinion.
Decide what’s for now, what can be adjusted, and what can wait.
Life holds different seasons, and not everything is meant for right now. Every decision you make requires trade-offs. Resources like time, money, and energy are limited. Your goal may be awesome, but this may not be the right season for it.
If you have a young child at home, goals that require lots of time alone or outside of the house may be difficult to accomplish. Consider tweaking these goals to fit your lifestyle now or wait with confidence that you will achieve them when your children are a little older. Each season of life brings a different set of new challenges and new joys. Hold on to the knowledge that the time will come, even if it isn’t right now.
Consider what achieving your goals looks like.
Many of us go into New Year’s resolutions with the expectation that “as much as possible” is the ideal metric of success for our goals. But with this expectation, we are bound to fall short. There will always be more we could’ve done. Learn what success means for you and set specific goals.
“I’d like to eat a vegetable with every meal.”
“I’d like to read my Bible for 5 minutes, 5x per week.”
“I’d like to save $100 per month.”
It’s not about perfection.
Give yourself grace as you learn new rhythms. The objective is to grow in disciplines that are important to you, not to beat yourself up in the process. Celebrate the big wins and the small wins in between. You’ve got this!
*For further reading on setting attainable goals, see if your local library has a copy of Atomic Habits by James Clear you can borrow. Many libraries also offer virtual copies.