It’s the same song every year. Between Christmas dinners, eating oliebollen and listening to the Top 2000, we think en masse what we did wrong in the past year and how we can do better next year. We start the new year with fresh courage and motivation, yet research shows that 90 percent of those good intentions, secret wishes and goals ultimately fail.
Be honest: how many good intentions and goals from last year are back on your list for 2021? So try to do things differently this year with these three tips.
1. Don’t make any resolutions
Good intentions nowadays have a certain association. “You won’t get them.” Because of this, most of us don’t take them so seriously anymore. In addition, good intentions are often far from concrete, so you have no idea when you have achieved it and when you want it to be achieved. Instead of good intentions like “I want to use money better” this year, try to come up with a specific, concrete goal with a deadline.
For example, such a goal could be to have saved as much as 10,000 euros by December 2021. You can do something with that. You can make an action plan and also set sub-goals for yourself, so that you know during the year whether you are on the right track.
2. Start small
Another thing we often do in the new year: we expect ourselves to be able to change completely. Take the very big abstract goal of healthy eating for example. That’s a great intention, but what do you do the first time you feel like eating your favorite unhealthy comfort food? Or if a friend asks you to come for dinner? Or the goal “more sports”? You can start very enthusiastically with exercising five times a week, but eventually you will see that this does not work during a busy week.
Instead, start with one healthy meal a day or exercise three times a week. All healthy meals and sports sessions on top of that are a bonus. You can then slowly build up this.
3. Don’t set too many goals
For one reason or another, we assume that in the first month of a new year we can suddenly magically achieve all the goals that we have put forward the previous year. But ask yourself: why would the 2021 version of yourself suddenly have the motivation and self-discipline to make that whole laundry list of goals or good intentions come true?
Make it as easy as possible for yourself. Choose two goals that are prioritized and ideally aligned with each other: for example, eat healthy and start running. If you take starting your own business and running a marathon as your goals, at some point you will be faced with the choice: which goal comes first?
There is nothing wrong with having many ambitious goals, but also not with setting priorities to actually achieve them. It’s a good way to ask yourself what you really want (and not what you think you want). Moreover, you can set new goals once you have achieved the first two.
Also read: Low energy and unproductive? 5 ways to motivate yourself again
Tessa Ham is an editor at WorkJuice.nl and writes for Metro about career and money.
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