15 December 20
With 2020 being the year it was, is there any point making New Year’s resolutions?
In more predictable times, many of us hope to improve our habits and build on past successes. These days it might seem challenging, but the start of a new year is still a great time to reflect and turn a new page.
Especially for 2021, it’s time to think differently about resolutions. Despite the uncertainty of the future, here are some alternative ways to restart for the new year… and beyond.
Setting intentions instead of resolutions can be helpful. Much like mindfulness, they are all about the here and now instead of being focused on a far-off future.
“Setting and living your intentions allows you to focus on who you are in the moment, to recognise and live your values, and to raise your emotional energy, which in turn raises your physical energy,” says adviser Marla Tabaka.
So how do you want to live right now? In this present moment, what is a positive intention you can choose to influence your entire year ahead?
For example, you might choose an intention to be more giving or to grow more. This may be as a person or with your money. Just as you might say, “I intend to show acts of kindness today”, you might also say “I intend not to rely on credit so much” and avoid having more than one Afterpay going at a time.
Intentions are about our process right now, and not so much about the outcome. Our process is something we can control and influence – whereas the result is not entirely within our power.
Think of yourself as an athlete who, while they can’t control the outcome of the competition, can choose how much effort they put in to training. Their intention, in every moment, is to give their absolute best.
Resolutions are just a bit too demanding. There’s no room for failure. Having a theme or word is a gentler approach, more forgiving. So instead, you could give 2021 its very own theme.
What’s your word of the year? Picking one and living with it – like “empathy” or “resilience” – can capture your aspirations for the year to come. It may also be something you need to focus on to bring your game up a notch.
Melinda Gates advocates this approach, which has been picked up by many and gained momentum. In recent years, she’s chosen “gentle”, “spacious”, “grace” and “shine”.
It’s a positive alternative to resolutions when the future’s unpredictable.
One more alternative to New Year’s resolutions is setting a target for each of these timeframes: the short (3 years or less), medium(4–9 years) and long terms (10 years plus).
The short-term stuff is easiest to picture, such as your the next holiday, next birthday, next gadget, next festival. It’s easy to visualise where you want to be.
Medium-term goals take a bit more forward thinking, but are doable: building up your emergency fund, or shedding your debt to save a house deposit more quickly.
Long-term goals are worth having a crack at too. Planning to buy your house with KiwiSaver is a good example. Remember, time is on your side, so you can achieve much more than you’d ever anticipate.
Sorted’s goal planner gets you started spreading your goals through each of those three timeframes: short, medium and long term.
After the year that was 2020, we all need to turn the page. So whichever alternative to New Year’s resolutions you take – intentions, words or setting targets – may they jumpstart your 2021 like never before.