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Let’s face it, it’s been a long, unprecedented year, and most of us will be relieved to put the year 2020 behind us. As the current year comes to a close, we can all hope that 2021 will be a better year. And that brings to mind the topic of New Year’s resolutions. Many of us feel that we need to make New Year’s resolutions at the end of each year. But one of the significant lessons of 2020 has been that no matter how much we prepare and resolve, in the blink of an eye, our plans can be interrupted, postponed or canceled by unforeseen circumstances.

Statistics show that only 8% of New Year’s resolutions are successful, and that 80% of people give up on them by the second week of February. Perhaps this year more than ever, it’s time to have a no-resolution New Year. That doesn’t mean shelving the idea of making improvements in your life. It just means approaching the New Year in a new way. Consider these ideas:

  • New Year’s resolutions are built for failure. They have the concept of procrastination already built into them by implying that you have to put off improvement until the beginning of the year.
  • You don’t need a special day on the calendar to start making changes. Make small changes when you feel motivated to do so because that’s when you will have the best chance of success.
  • There is a difference between resolutions and goals. A resolution is just a decision to do or not do something, with no roadmap involved. A goal is the actual steps you plan to help you achieve the resolution.
  • Instead of making lofty, unattainable and overly ambitious resolutions, set small, attainable mini-goals that you can take baby steps toward achieving all year long.
  • Be kind and forgiving to yourself when you fall short of your goals. Each day (not only January 1) is a new chance to begin again.

Probably the most undesirable thing about New Year’s resolutions is what they imply: the idea that your life somehow falls short of some perfect fantasy that you should be living. They are based more on what you should be doing rather than on what you want to do. They put pressure on you to make earth-shattering, drastic changes that are unrealistic and doomed to fail. If you make just one resolution for 2021, resolve to simply be positive about the potential of the year ahead, to be open to the change and to do more of what makes you happy. If you take small steps throughout the year to make yourself happier, you will find that good things will naturally fall into place because you will be closer to being your true self. By the end of 2021, you may look back and see that you’ve not only achieved more but that you enjoyed yourself in the process!