We are not fans of setting “New Year’s Resolutions” but we are fans of helping you reach your goals in 2021. According to research by Strava, only 8% of people achieve their NYR and most drop off by January 12. We are well past that date so we can share some hacks on how to turn a resolution into goals. Now that the dust has settled from the euphoria of turning the clock from 2020 to 2021, the reality has hit hard. We are still in Covid, the vaccine is taking longer to distribute and most of Canada is still in some kind of exile. This was not what we signed up for. But we are here to keep you on track to set your goals. And the good news is spring is in the air so it is a great time for a reset. We have a few “Life Hacks to Reli On” that will help you set and achieve goals (not resolutions) for 2021.
Set realistic goals
There is evidence that New Year’s resolutions don’t work because everyone takes a heady approach. The pledge is too broad and often just not attainable. After all we are human and Rome was not built in a day. Goals should be set in smaller increments in order to see long term results. Pick one, not three or five things in your life you want to improve.
Gradually build up your habits related to that goal. When you are confident the new habit is well ingrained into your lifestyle, set the next goal. Five ways to reach your goals in 2021 is building a foundation that will last for a long time, where quick fixes end as fast as they are achieved. If you want to take control of your life you can and you will.
Meet the needs of your own health
When you are not healthy, tired, stressed you will start to feel overwhelmed very quickly. There are a few key elements that can help achieve success in goal setting. Everything is changing so you don’t need to change, but if you want to make habitual progress then you need to identify where you want to be. It is about progress. There is lots of chatter about mindfulness, but it works if you practice it. Be mindful of your habits – good and bad to obtain your goals in 2021.
Here are some life hacks to get lasting results:
1. Set nutritional commitments: This is simple but it is not easy to maintain. This is not about dieting, Keto, fasting, zone, or any other fads. But it is simple, eat simple, eat until you are satiated, not full and eat the color of the rainbow. Find a balance between sustenance and treats. Most humans eat way too much food. So keep it simple and it will be easier to obtain. Be committed to doing your personal best.
2. Fall in love with sleep: one positive thing that Covid has brought about is a change in how we view sleep. Sleep helps us cope, feel better, improve mood, manage stress, make better decisions, maintain a healthy weight, ward off serious disease. There is no better, easier or free way to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.
3. Carve out time for fitness: Everyone has their own relationship with how to integrate fitness into their daily routine, and we all know the benefits. So find what makes you happy related to keeping your body moving and schedule it into your calendar. Exercise should not be considered ‘me time’ and it should not be a burden. No one has to do boot camp 5 times a week to stay healthy but it is recommended to do 60 minutes of “activity” a day. Walking is a simple, easy, solitary or social activity that has enormous health benefits. And it does not have to all at once. So schedule in time to just be active!
4. Integrate meditation into your daily routine: Meditation and mindfulness are now proving to be some of the best habits to incorporate into your lifestyle. Meditating is not easy but the benefits are enormous. It helps to find gratitude which in turns helps us prioritize what is important. Most people find it incredibly hard to meditate, but with some guidance and practice this will become a habit your will crave to incorporate into your day. Start with a minute a day and progress from there. The goal is progress, not perfection. Have your workplace sponsor a mindfulness seminar, use online apps such as Insight Timer that has a wealth of information, courses, people to guide you and meditations from minutes to hours.
Studies and research shows that mediation is beneficial to:
- Stress reduction
- Reduced rumination
- Decreased negative affect (e.g. depression, anxiety)
- Less emotional reactivity/more effective emotion regulation
- Increased focus
- More cognitive flexibility
- Improved working memory
5. Start a journal: A part of mindfulness is to get into the habit of keeping a journal. This will help you identify our habits, good and bad. Acknowledge and be grateful for your wealth. Wealth can be as small as having your morning coffee to being grateful for the job you have, the spouse you live with, the children who love you. Journaling will help you:
- Set and keep your goals -by writing them down, you can monitor your progress and feel motivated to continue to focus on your next milestone.
- Keep your thoughts organized to help prioritize what truly is important.
- Record ideas on the go. We often have spurts of creativity, but without writing them down they often will not get to the next phase.
- Keeps you honest to your ideas and commitments. You can set your daily or weekly intentions. It is important to make yourself a priority. And reaching goals takes commitment.
- Reduce stress by putting the stress factors to paper. Journaling regular “brain-dumps” help relieve stress, anxiety, repetitive and negative thoughts.
- Improves self-reflection. Journaling is a good way to take a step back and reflect on gratitude each day. A question to ask daily is “how can I make the world a better place today for myself and others?”
- Boost your memory. Writing is a cognitive activity and can help develop neurological plasticity.
- Inspire creativity by free flow journaling. You can write down random thoughts, ideas, creative endeavors, new business ideas.
- Tracking activities, thoughts and symptoms on a regular basis helps recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them.
- Providing an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviors.
Five ways to reach your goals in 2021
We are in for a difficult 2021 but follow our hacks for a healthy and peaceful year. In closing, as author Melody Beattie wrote, “Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Good luck in achieving your goals in 2021.
Center for Mindfulness Studies
Sunlife: Five ways to build a mental health strategy at work
Five stages of building a workplace mental health strategy
Free online mindfulness session by Mindfulness
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