Welcome to 2021, GypseeJenny readers! Give yourself a pat on the back for making it this far, will you? You’ve just pulled through what was probably one of the toughest years anyone has seen in the past decade, but the pandemic is far from over.

Up till this day, the world is still grappling with COVID-19 and the challenges that came with it. If there was one thing that 2020 had taught us all, it would be that life is full of surprises. Plans can backfire, life can go sideways, and so many things can go wrong. But let’s not let that dampen our spirits, hopes, and dreams for the future. There’s still plenty of opportunities waiting for us out there. All you have to do, is keep going.

Setting new year resolutions is a great way to help us stay motivated. Whether it has to do with your personal well-being, love life, or career, I always suggest to my clients to set realistic goals for themselves instead of lofty ambitions. Rather than aiming to lose 10 kilograms at once within a year, you might want to start slow by losing two or three kilograms each month and sticking with it till the end of the year. Or if you’re thinking of changing jobs, why not try and adopt a different mindset about the workplace instead of risking being unemployed in the middle of an economic crisis.

Giving specific timelines to your goals makes a big difference too. I’ve seen so many people who tell themselves that they plan on achieving their goal by the end of the year, only to disappoint themselves. Before you go on to jot down your new goals for the year, here are more tips on how to set resolutions that you are more likely to achieve.

Reflect on 2020

Some people tend to overthink their new year goals when the answers had been in front of them since the year before. Instead of coming up with fresh things to accomplish, take a moment to reflect on what happened to you in 2020 and see how you can work on those moments.

When you’re thinking about the past year, here are some questions you might want to ask yourself:

  1. What were your worst and best moments of 2020?
  2. What were you most grateful for?
  3. What brought you the most joy?
  4. What was the least expected thing to happen?
  5. What mistakes did you make, and how did you bounce back?

These are just a handful of questions to get you started while you think about how you can do better in 2021. If you weren’t able to achieve the goal you made for yourself in 2020, why not follow up on that this year? There’s nothing wrong with repeating new year resolutions and it is certainly nothing to feel bad about. But don’t forget to recognize your strengths and weaknesses so that you can adjust your goals accordingly. I usually set shorter timelines for my goals in order to leave less room for procrastination. Instead of targeting to achieve my plan by the end of the year, I gave myself only three months. A little bit of deadline pressure sometimes helps.

Think twice

Think carefully about what you want to change in the new year and how you intend to achieve that. I’ve seen people treating their goals like a wish list of random things they want to do in life, like starting a business or quitting their jobs, without weighing the pros and cons. How much would it cost for an amateur to start a business? How likely are you going to find a new job if you quit? These are some questions you’ll need to carefully consider, especially when you have a family to feed.

I’ve had clients confiding about the problems they faced due to such spontaneous decisions. Even with impressive qualifications, some of them ended up being unemployed for more than six months after they decided off the cuff to leave their jobs. While the decision may have freed them from a toxic work environment or whatever it was that had made them dread their professional life, was it worth the financial difficulty? If you’re considering a similar decision as well, ask yourself this: could a change of mindset help you deal with the situation better? How about picking up a new skill or hobby to help you cope with the work stress instead? Life can be more than just work if you take the time to explore.

Learn to appreciate what you already have

So many people suffered losses after COVID-19 hit in 2020, forcing some to look inwards, rethink their life, and appreciate what they already have. It didn’t matter that people didn’t lose weight, buy a house or got married, which are some of the more common new year resolutions out there. What was most important to them was that they were safe from the virus and healthy.

Instead of trying to achieve materialistic goals this year, maybe it’s time to look out for the less tangible things in life, like friendship. I wish I had maintained my friendship with someone I once knew in the past before she passed on. We hadn’t been speaking to each other ever since our friendship soured decades ago over a gossip that hurt me deeply. Later on, I found out that it was someone else who had used her name to speak ill of me.

We tend to take the people who matter the most to us for granted as we chase our dreams. But try not to wait until it’s too late. No matter what you try to achieve in the new year, whether it has to do with career, fitness, or your love life, try not to lose sight of the people you love.

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