As 2021 came around, I think it is safe to say everybody was relieved and excited to leave 2020 behind. People hold 2021 up to high exceptions, not only for the world but for themselves. As the new year begins, it’s easy to get lost in setting too many unrealistic expectations for yourself, especially when 2020 clearly was not as productive as people had intended it to be. While setting goals for yourself is a good way to become motivated and feel accomplished, it could cause feelings of guilt and shame if you do not meet those goals. Here are a few helpful tips that can help you set concrete goals for yourself this 2021.
Try to steer clear of numbers
The general New Year’s resolution for most people involves weight. Losing/gaining weight, while staying healthy of course, is not a bad thing, but it could seriously affect your mental health if you do not get to your desired number. Instead of focusing on the actual number you want to achieve, whether that be with weight or books you read, try to steer your focus onto what your core desire is. For example, if I had a New Years’ resolution that I wanted to lose five pounds, I should instead substitute that for eating healthier, exercising more, buying weights, etc. You can still reach your goal, but now you won’t be so focused on doing whatever it takes to get to that number.
Do not set your goals to be an everyday thing
One of my biggest problems is that whenever I make goals for myself and I don’t succeed, I become too hard on myself. It is okay to not want to do something on a particular day, and you shouldn’t feel guilty if you are not completing one of your goals. For example, I set a goal for myself to draw every single day. It was unrealistic because I didn’t know what my day was going to entail, and there were days where I was too busy to do so or just didn’t feel like it. Instead of setting goals every day, make your goals more general and realistic. For me, I switched my goal of making art every day to making more art in general. It relieves me of this unnecessary stress and pressure to do something all day and gives me the freedom and motivation to create art whenever I feel like it.
Cancel out what is not as important
It’s easy to lose track of the many things you want to get done this year. It is good to be ambitious, but it could also leave you feeling overwhelmed, and then not motivated because you feel like you have too many things on your plate. Try to concentrate on the core challenges/goals you want to accomplish this year, and focus on those. That way, you are more motivated to complete what you really want to, and not have to worry about minuscule things that of course you can still do, but shouldn’t be a set goal that you should feel required to achieve.
Make your goals more universal
By making goals more universal, it will not feel like a task you must complete, but something that will make you feel better, and create good habits. Instead of focusing on a goal involving school, sports, whatever it may be, try to set your goals that focus on your internal self. For example, a goal could be to be more sympathetic, listen to more people, be kinder, etc. This will relieve the stress and guilt of not being able to complete a goal because there is no standard. You are not setting yourself up to be the kindest or most sympathetic person in the world, but telling yourself you want to be more of those things will help shape you into what kind of person you want to become in the future.
A new year allows you to feel like you have a blank slate and more time to complete goals from last year you didn’t do, or maybe new interests. While it is important to have goals because they motivate you to be the best version of yourself, they shouldn’t be the main focus of your day or life. Balancing mental health could be tricky, but once you fully understand your body and mind, you can make your goals last by staying motivated but not overworking yourself.