While New Year’s resolutions have become a tradition around the globe, the impact that the global pandemic had on our lives, is reason enough to rethink how we approach resolutions.
Here are five ideas to consider as you chart out your 2021 New Year’s goals.
Idea #1: Start with flexible resolutions
It’s easy to be too ambitious with resolutions — especially after a year where much of life has felt “on hold.” Anne Holding, Ph.D. from the Department of Psychology at McGill University suggests adapting your goals depending on how they make you feel.
“If you find you really don’t want to work on your goal, or that it simply feels too effortful and draining, consider adapting the goal to something you feel more excited about,” she says, “Or letting go of the goal altogether — maybe now is just not the right time.”
Idea #2: Embrace flex fitness
Fitness resolutions top the list for many people each year. One reason fitness goals may be difficult to achieve is that they are too specific. Resolutions like “to work out every day” or “to lose 15 pounds can be difficult to achieve — especially since social distancing may make it tricky to find time (and space!) for exercise. This year, consider more general fitness goals without hard deadlines or milestones that might make you feel discouraged. Simply making “Fitness” a priority in your life this year is reason to celebrate.
Idea #3: Make reconnecting a goal
“2020 has been a year like no other,” says Richard Koestner, Head of the McGill Human Motivation Lab. “In normal times, 80% of people focus on personal achievement goals, like losing weight or improving fitness … It may be more beneficial for our well-being instead, to focus on social goals in 2021, such as reconnecting with old friends — virtually at this time, until it is safe again to do so in person says Koestner.
Consider making a phone call or sending a message to a long-lost friend or relative who could use a boost. A simple “Thinking of you” note or email can brighten someone’s day and help you both feel less isolated. Human connection is a key element supporting mental health.
Idea #4: Pay it forward
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to generally “be a better person,” remember that small acts of kindness can make a world of difference. Consider doing small things in your life. Maybe that’s giving a stranger an unprompted compliment, donating to a charity of your choice, or supporting a local business.
By setting small goals that you can get your head around, you’re far more likely to reach them and be encouraged to keep going.
Idea #5: Reduce your financial stress
With lockdowns and job losses across the countries last year, setting financial goals may be difficult to make. One suggestion from the experts is to take a look at your current budget so you know where you stand. There may be ways to adjust your budget you haven’t thought of yet.
If you still feel stressed, remember you don’t have to make financial decisions alone. It may help to speak with a professional that can help you evaluate your current financial situation and look for short- and long-term opportunities to help reach your goals. They can also offer a second opinion on the decisions you’re contemplating, and show you ways to save in your day-to-day life.
What you takeaway, in these uncertain times, are answers to your money questions big and small, a better picture of where you are today, and a plan for your tomorrow.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.