Make 2020 the Year to Make New Year’s Resolutions that Stick - America's Future Foundation

January 10, 2020

CultureLeadership

Make 2020 the Year to Make New Year’s Resolutions that Stick

By: Lydia Pitea

So you haven’t made your 2020 Resolutions yet?

Jeeze, man, what are you waiting for!

But all jokes aside, it’s ok. Some of us made them weeks ago, like the proactive, obsessive compulsive, type-A adults that we are. But if you aren’t me (and praise God for that alone this year) you may still need to set some goals to paper for the new year.

I think writing them down and having them in a planner, your phone, or even written on a mirror (ladies you know what I mean) can help remind us of all we hope to achieve this year. It will keep that fire we have now in January alive, say, in June when summer hits and all we want to do is hit the beach.

Setting goals can be daunting. I learned that in my first year out of college. I had high hopes for my career, my finances, and my social life. I failed in almost every single area to achieve any of the goals I set. That’s because they were too overreaching and not specific enough – all of them. From that experience, I learned how to make goals I can keep.

So let’s win for 2020!

Compartmentalize & Specialize
The first thing I do is make a large general list of all the things I want to accomplish. Then I proceed in breaking up that list into smaller categories. My categories look like this: Personal, Professional, Spiritual, Financial, and Travel. You may slide travel under personal, or you may put some fitness goals separately as a health or wellness category. It’s really up to you.

One friend compartmentalized her hobbies separately from everything else to make sure she achieved goals for each: reading, costume making, and kickball. Really it’s what works best for you.

As you go, make sure no one category is more full than others. You may have a lot of personal or career goals, but if you make too many, you are likely not to achieve them all, and that can be disheartening. Also you might be spreading yourself to thin.

Now let’s prioritize choose a few that are most important to you for each category. But don’t get rid of any; keep the ones that don’t make the cut for future use. In the event you reach success early, maybe add one more to your 2020 list. If not, look, you already have a head start on your 2021 New Year’s resolutions! Way to go, you overachiever!

Make a Few Stretch Goals
When making New Year’s resolutions, there always seems to be a proclivity towards too many overreaching goals, or to too few, or even ones that are so easy for you to keep it’s not really a goal at all. I see stretch goals as a way for everyone to make the most of their natural proclivities and yet not fall prey to them.

I like to put a stretch goal in each category. Put one goal that will be almost impossible to achieve. Hey, maybe you will! At the very least, it keeps you aspiring to bigger things. Stretch goals are great because they aren’t in the same category as the others, so while you will try, you know it can be reasonable to not succeed. Be gentle with yourself and give space for grace. Resolutions are to push ourselves towards betterment, not push us over the edge with stress!

Break it Down
After you choose your goals for each category, work through a mini timeline for each if you can. Set benchmarks and break down the steps needed to achieve them into small bite-size pieces! The benchmarks will keep you accountable throughout the process and keep you on track so you aren’t scrambling in November.

The broken-up steps will allow you to feel that sense of achievement even at the smaller stages of the larger goal. For some of us, this is the euphoric sensation that keeps us from quitting when the going gets tough! We have to give ourselves bread crumbs here, people!

Your step by step list will also show you where to start. For me that’s always the most challenging part of any project – especially the lofty, large ones. I get overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of my sparkling dreams and end up never starting at all! This part may take the most time, but in sitting down and thinking through it, you can identify where you may need help to achieve the tasks or even help in figuring out the steps needed in the first place.

Don’t Go It Alone
A drawback to New Year’s resolutions is that they are largely things we want to achieve by ourselves and so the onus falls completely on ourselves. When we fail and are nursing a Christmas-meal induced hangover on Dec. 26, 2020, we will blame ourselves and likely binge even more cookies than we already would have. It sounds like a true story because it is. It’s mine. And I don’t want the same thing to happen to you, friends.

So grab a buddy or (as us churchy people call it) an accountability partner. It can only help to have someone besides yourself remind you of what you set out to do this year. Maybe you don’t need one for all of your goals, but for those really tough ones it will be a big boon and make the load feel lighter.

You definitely need to choose your partner wisely as with any other type of partnership for business, marriage, or swing dancing (I’ve never been dropped, but it’s always my fear). So look at any mentors, friends or family who are best suited to that particular goal.

And, truthfully, we humans hate to suffer alone. Misery loves company, so grab a buddy for that gym membership or late-night class at the local community college, make them read the book too, and drag them to speed dating with you. Whatever it is, a bud can always make it better.

I really hope you achieve all that you set out to! In the spirit of honesty and accountability, a few of mine are: take my mom to Scotland, write one article and read one book a month (sounds small, but for me it will be an achievement), and to read my new Chronological Bible every day.

So what are your 2020 resolutions?