The Anxious Author

3 Ways To Stop Your 2021 Goals Becoming New Year’s Resolutions – The Anxious Author

2020 has completely changed my view on New Year’s Resolutions. Our lives were at risk of changing drastically every couple of weeks thanks to the pandemic. With towns closing up their shops every few weeks, nothing is certain which puts our resolutions on thin ice.

The difference between resolutions and goals is bigger than we think. While they are both aims to help us create better futures but in reality, they are fundamentally different. Resolutions are aims we make on the same day every year and fizzle out before January is up. Goals aren’t just aims, they are building blocks for the bigger goals that follow. They are the foundation on which we build.

Making changes this year means thinking long term by setting goals that won’t change if the world does. Resolutions are easy to dispose of when hurdles crop up and we usually make so many that we’re happy to see the back of them.

If we intend to improve our lives in 2021, we must set goals, not resolutions and here’s how we do it:

Start With Small Goals

New Year’s Resolutions are big affairs: losing x amount of weight, do yoga every day or going stone cold sober. Very often, our eyes are bigger than our bellies. We make grand promises to ourselves and when we realise we’ve bitten off more than we can chew, we give up completely.

Small goals will have a completely different effect. They are more easily achieved and give us a sense of accomplishment. That warm feeling drives us to take the next step, to make another goal that will make us feel even better. Those small successes can really snowball into something incredible.

Review Your Position At The End Of Every Month

Another difference between goals and resolutions is that goals are flexible. Resolutions either are or aren’t but if something goes wrong, we can adjust our goals to fit any recent life changes. During a global pandemic, these kinds of changes can happen often, so flexibility is key to staying on course.

At the end of every month, we can review our goals and whether we are on schedule, behind schedule or blessedly ahead of the curve. Most plans don’t go exactly as we expect them to and even if we end up smashing our goals and finishing sooner than we expected, we still need to adjust our trajectories. Reviewing where we’re at helps keep us on track and motivates us to stick at it.

Make Goals You Can Achieve At Home

2021 may be the same as 2020 in the sense that we’ll be spending a lot of time indoors. This pandemic isn’t over and there are surely more lockdowns to come. Making a New Year’s Resolution to go to the gym three times a week isn’t going to work this year, let’s face it.

Whether we’re aiming to learn a new language, join a book club or get fitter, we must make sure that our goals are achievable in the home. The world has opened up since our first lockdowns and now everything is doable from home including work and schooling. 2020 was one long challenge but it made us adaptable and we have to carry that adaptability with us into the new year.

The world isn’t what it was this time last year, we need to toss resolutions out with 2020. What we achieve in 2021 depends on us setting goals.

Thanks for reading! Did you know I also write urban fantasy books? Check them out here!

4 thoughts on “3 Ways To Stop Your 2021 Goals Becoming New Year’s Resolutions – The Anxious Author”

  1. I think this is a really important distinction to make. The past several years, I’ve been making goals instead of resolutions and I think it’s been a lot better for my mental health. I also don’t put a lot of emotional stock into my goals so if I don’t complete them it’s something I don’t exactly stress over. I make a mix of short term goals for the year and then renew my commitment to other long term ones. Like I’m continuing to renew my long term commitment to gaining weight and eating healthy while working out. One of my short term goals is to figure out how to access ebooks from the libraries in town with my 8+ library cards.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a brilliant strategy and it’s so heartening to know that you can make a system using goals you make at the start of the year. Sometimes they feel flaky right off the bat because we make them in January!

      I hope you meet all your goals and wow, am I jealous of your library card collection! 😀


  2. Goals definitely feel more achievable to me rather than resolutions. I wholeheartedly agree that smaller goals are the way forward and make a bigger long-term impact on our lives. I’ve used the festive lockdown to reassess what I want to achieve. I’m aiming for a less anxious and stress-filled 2021 (and beyond)!

    Liked by 1 person

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