7th January 2021
Some people wished for the year 2020 to end in July. Others even before that. Whether you consider it a good or bad year, one thing is undeniable: it was a really unexpected one and it threw almost everybody’s plans out of the water.
So with the close of 2020 and arrival of 2021 as a fresh start, a lot of people are wondering if it makes sense to keep making New Year’s resolutions. We think it does. Let us tell you why.
According to Wikipedia, a New Year’s resolution is a tradition, in which a person resolves to continue good practices, change an undesired trait or behaviour, to accomplish a personal goal, or otherwise improve their life.
This tradition can take place in different parts of the world in many forms. For example, in Japan, New Year’s resolutions are not limited to private occasions. You can be asked to share them with your family or with your colleagues at work (1).
One way of thinking about your resolutions can be as goals or as steps.
A goal is the desired result. For example, getting a new job, or graduating from school.
A step is an action you take to move forward towards your goals. For example, studying a language or getting better at it, can be one step to advance your career.
Most goals take many steps to be reached. The best resolutions take into account both parts. The end result and the process. If we think only in goals we can get frustrated because we may be overlooking all the steps we take to reach them, and that’s where we spend most of our time.
It’s like a road trip. If you only focus on reaching your destination, you won’t be able to appreciate the scenery, nor the music or the company.
Being able to value steps as much as goals, could be the best way to write your 2021 resolutions because it will allow you to focus on the bigger picture while allowing you to enjoy the smaller steps that will keep you moving after a year of uncertainty.
There isn’t only one way to do it. So we share here some starting points for you.
It’s easy to list a number of tasks or goals that we feel we need to do. There are a lot of messages around us trying to impose this kind of mandate. But try to avoid things that you feel you must do and instead try to focus on what you want to do.
Take a piece of paper and write the general concepts that you would like to cover in your resolutions. You can start with:
Then cover these areas with one or two specific resolutions. Try to keep them short and to the point.
For example, instead of writing “I will improve my English” you could say:
“I will enrol in Business English classes for 6 weeks to improve my English for my job”
“I will read 1 news article every day to improve my formal English vocabulary”
Try completing sentences that start with:
Take time to…
Why do New Year’s resolutions fail? There’s no right or wrong answer to that. Sometimes it’s not that a resolution failed, it’s that it was impossible to achieve in the first place, or at least impossible to measure if we achieved it or not.
That’s why, besides keeping your resolutions flexible for next year, there are two more ways to help you stick with them:
It’s not about writing a list of things like for your weekly food shop. It’s about taking the time to really visualize the steps you can take to be closer to where you would like to be by the end of 2021.
Most of the resolutions are about changing or creating a habit. They need to be repeated to be effective. So it may be good to have a daily reminder when the rest of the year’s tasks and news start to fight for your attention.
You can stick them on your wardrobe door, or frame them and keep them on your desk. There are plenty of DIY projects for New Year resolutions.(2)
New Year’s resolutions can be a great opportunity to look ahead in the months to come, but also to appreciate everything you learned or discovered in 2020.
Re-evaluating last year’s resolutions can show you that, even if some of your goals were not met, you may have achieved some of the steps necessary to move forward. Perhaps you even found out that there is a new goal or direction you would like to take. Those types of discoveries are always positive! We are always learning and building on ourselves!
What actions can help you get closer to your goals? Is learning English one of them? If that’s the case or if you’re not sure about it yet, you can always check out our online and in-person courses for 2021.
What matters the most is that any New Year is an opportunity for you to look at the next twelve months with fresh eyes. And that is something that can change your 2021 for the better.
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