How To Skip The Resolutions And Crush 2021

Ah, resolutions. Those aspirational wishes made in the heady glow of the new year, when anything seems possible.

And it’s no wonder we do it: the promise of 365 days to accomplish your goals—whether they include losing that stubborn 10 (okay, Covid-19) pounds you gained, writing your novel, or launching your business—seems like an awesome way to kickstart 2021.

The only problem? Making resolutions is easy; keeping them is tough.

Research shows that most of us are doomed to fail at our pledges, especially as time goes on: while about three-quarters of people stick to their New Year’s resolutions during the first week of January, that figure drops to under half by June.

That’s both depressing and demotivating. And after a year like 2020, no one needs more of that.

Instead of setting yourself up to fail, skip the New Year’s resolutions altogether, and try one of these three resolution alternatives:

1. Set a weekly intention

If the thought of committing to an annual anything freaks you out, why not break the year down into manageable weekly chunks?

Start each week by setting an intention on what you want to achieve. This could be anything related to your well-being or business, from getting more sleep or incorporating mindfulness to passing on projects so you can say yes to those that put your talents at their highest and best use. Whatever you select, make sure to pair it with specific actions to achieve your intention. (Think: “position my services to attract and appeal to my ideal customer” versus “make more money.”) Making a weekly mini-commitment to yourself will keep you focused on what matters most.

Want to 10x this idea? Get an accountability partner with whom you share your weekly intention—and how you did in keep the previous week’s intended behavior or mindset.

Remember, progress isn’t made in a single, sweeping, bold gesture; it’s achieved one small step at a time. And showing up with intention each week leads to a year of growth.

2. Pick a word to guide you for the year

I can vouch for this one. Every year, I select a word to guide me and focus my efforts. That word becomes my North Star for the year by which everything I do must adhere. This forces me to do two things:

  1. Get clarity on what I want
  2. Align my activities to support those goals

In other words, it ensures I marry my attention with my intention. As someone whose mind is always on, brimming with creative possibilities, it helps to have this touchpoint to come back to.

And if you’re a visual person like me, you can amplify your word’s power and your awareness of it by strategically placing it in your orbit. I have my word written on the whiteboard in my office, as a colorful visual taped above my laptop (see below), at the top of my weekly to-do list, and jotted in my phone’s notes section.

Go one step further by sharing your word and your reasons for selecting it privately or making your declaration public on social media. You can also ask others (family, friends, colleagues, or clients) what their words would be, which opens up a dialogue and fosters a better understanding of what matters most to them.

3. Write a letter to your future self

A play on the “What would you tell your younger self?” exercise, try penning a letter to future you, describing how you want to feel, what you’ve accomplished in 2021, and what you hope to be celebrating this time next year.

You can do this with old school pen and paper and tuck it away in a sealed envelope to be opened in January 2022, or you can head to FutureMe, where you can do the online equivalent, writing yourself a private or public (but anonymous) letter. The site allows you to select a delivery date one, three, or five years from now or choose a date significant for you, like a birthday or business anniversary milestone. You then enter your email and send a letter to your future self.

Whatever method you choose, challenge yourself to be curious about the possibilities, and consider what your new career story might be. In crafting your work, resist the urge to edit and instead, allow yourself to include everything that will help you achieve your goals. Write down your loftiest aspirations as well as the smaller wins. Describe the ideal environment and its people, the behaviors to adopt, and the bad habits to change.

There is power in visualizing your desired future, writing it down, and then watching your life manifest in kind. Even if it doesn’t unfold the way you imagined, you might be pleasantly surprised at what you learn about yourself in the process—and be able to use that knowledge to make adjustments for your next letter.

The beauty of writing your future self a letter is that you control the narrative. And this is one story that’s sure to have a happy ending.