2021 is Here!!
If you haven’t already, you’re about to see countless GIFs, MEMES, and Facebook posts that all say the same thing: “A New Year, New You.” Or, perhaps most of them are making fun of the concept…
Whether you’re new to the saying, looking to adopt it in 2021, or are rolling your eyes because of how many times you’ve tried it and failed, let’s take a second to look at what the mantra means.
What Does “A New Year, New You” Mean to You?
As I’ve looked around online, I’ve found that there are several interpretations of the mantra:
Some believe it means that you’re going to strive for a top-to-bottom overhaul on your entire life — new clothes, new hairstyle, new friends, and so on.
Others believe it means starting a journey for self-improvement or just trying to be a better version of themselves. Maybe this means a change of attitude, working to be happier, or striving to have a better outlook on life through an improved mindset.
Lastly, some believe that it means improving on aspects of your life that you’re not happy with, which could be things you don’t like about yourself such as being overweight, having an unhealthy vice, or practicing bad habits.
Which type sounds like you?
I used to fall into the third group.
I would set resolutions around things I wanted to change about myself such as drinking alcohol, not reading books, drinking too much soda, and on and on. I aimed my resolutions at “fixing” these aspects of my life.
The problem I had was that I would tackle way too many lifestyle changes at the same time which would cause me to fail and once I’d failed, I wouldn’t try again until the very next year.
Does that sound familiar? If it does, don’t sweat it. No matter which group you resonate with, chances are you’ve dealt with the disappointment of a failed resolution, but we don’t have to keep doing it that way.
I founded Daily New Year’s because one October morning I saw the “New Year, New You” mantra online and got frustrated with it and all my past failures.
I decided right then and there that there’s no reason to keep putting off my dreams and goals. I decided that saving up my goals for January 1st meant one of two things, if not both:
1) If I’m postponing a goal for New Years, maybe I don’t honestly want to achieve that goal … or
2) By waiting for New Years, I’m wasting valuable days that I could be using to work toward my goals and improve my life every day.
It was at that moment that I started setting daily, weekly, quarterly, and annual goals and vowed never to set another resolution.
So, Why This Post About “A New Year, New You”?
Personally, I believe that New Year’s Resolutions are fundamentally flawed in that they promote procrastination. We tend to put off what we could start today for New Years Day.
And, resolutions tend to be a huge goal that we have trouble breaking down into manageable pieces. (You can read more about breaking huge goals down into domino goals here.)
I’m not here to discourage you or to take any positivity away from New Year’s resolutions or the mantra “A New Year, New You,” but I do hope to encourage you to live the mantra every day by committing to a life of continuous improvement.
In order to truly build a “New You” this coming year, I believe we need to redefine what the mantra means entirely.
Redefining the Mantra
I believe that “A New Year, New You” is a fantastic mantra if used once, and only once, to commit yourself to a new life of change. Declaring this mantra each and every year, only to lose track of your goals, become discouraged, and throw in the towel is no way to live.
Instead, this year I challenge you to declare “A New Year, New Me” for the last time, knowing that you’re going to be improving yourself every day for years and years to come.
And if you’re reading this article in the middle of the year or several years from now, go ahead and declare “A New Year, New You” today. It doesn’t matter if it’s May 3rd, August 15th, or October 31st, you can commit to a life of self-improvement at any time.
Why not start right now?
If you’re ready to take the leap and join me in never setting another resolution again, keep reading. I’ve outlined a few tips to help carry you through the year ahead and into a new life of goal setting, success and a dream life come true.
1) Don’t Set Resolutions: Set Weekly, Monthly, and Quarterly Goals.
First up is setting goals, not resolutions. What’s the difference? A resolution is “a firm decision to do or not to do something.”
Because a Resolution is a firm decision, when you have a bad day and break your resolution, it seems like an instant, clear-cut failure. “I said I wasn’t going to skip the gym, and now that I have, I may as well not go back. I’ve already failed.” It’s not true, but it certainly feels that way.
A goal, on the other hand, is something to work toward and strive for. If you miss your goal, you can always extend the deadline, modify the goal, or know that you’re better off than you were before. “I didn’t lose the 30 pounds I wanted, but at least I’ve been eating better and hitting the gym four days a week.” Isn’t that better than an all-or-nothing approach?
Ditch annual resolutions and start setting regular goals for yourself. If you’re new, try the Jim Rohn method of goal setting. It’s super easy and fun to get started.
2) Set Future-Focused Goals that Excite You
I believe that most people set resolutions that don’t excite them, so it’s pretty easy to quit. Looking ahead, what gets you pumped up? What gets you excited? Once you figure that out, set a series of goals to get you there and use that excitement as your driving force – your intrinsic motivation.
Here’s an example. In early 2018 my wife and I wanted to save for a debt-free trip to Grand Cayman later that year. In the past, we would set resolutions or vague goals to “be better with money” or to “save our extra money.” Extra money! That’s laughable.
This year, however, we were super excited about going to Grand Cayman, so we set multiple goals around saving the money to do so. We made room in our monthly budget, put any commissions or bonuses aside, and checked in on the savings account each month.
Our motive was the exciting, debt-free trip and it kept us going strong all year long.
What would excite you this year? If you hate going to the gym, setting a resolution to go four days a week probably won’t last long. If you want to get in better shape, you don’t have to do it in the gym.
Instead, you could adopt a fun hobby that could improve your fitness. Try walking your dog, taking up cycling with a friend, finding a pickleball partner, whatever it is, try to find something exciting that you’d be happy to keep doing.
3) Don’t Be Afraid to Change Directions
One thing I don’t like about resolutions is their lack of flexibility. A year is a long time, and it’s difficult to commit to doing something for that long, so why not allow yourself to change goals throughout the year?
Using the previous example, if you start cycling with a friend a few days a week to get some exercise and want to start swimming in the summer instead to avoid the heat, why not go ahead and make the change?
If you change your goals throughout the year because you lose interest, you have not failed. You only fail when you quit altogether. The goal here is to keep improving and setting goals throughout the year, not to lock yourself into routines, habits, and activities that you lose interest in.
Better yet, who says a resolution has to be a full year. Instead, setting quarterly goals allows you to reevaluate what you’re excited about on a continual basis.
4) Let Go of the Past and Move Forward This Year
This is a big one! I think a lot of people are walking around with the weight of all their past failures holding them down. If in the past you’ve tried and tried and tried, but failed each time, let it go. Maybe the timing just wasn’t right.
If you’re going to make this the last time you declare a new you, you have to start with a clean slate.
As long as you’re recounting all the times you’ve failed, you’re going to have trouble believing you can be successful going forward. Many people don’t set goals because they don’t believe them to be possible in the first place. Don’t subscribe to that kind of thinking. You can do anything you set your mind to as long as you genuinely want it and believe in it.
Related: What is Learned Helplessness and How Do You Overcome It?
Your Very Last “New Year, New You”
Remember, you’re making a philosophical change this time around.
You’re not blindly setting an empty resolution; you’re committing to a life of change. You’re going to set goals that excite you, and you’re going to do some self-discovery along the way. You’re not going to fail, and you might even change some of your goals along the way.
You can only fail if you quit, so as you focus on a “New Year, New You” this year, remember one thing: Never quit.
Have fun and Good Luck!