Ringing in the new year 2021 brought feelings of hope and excitement. I couldn’t wait to turn the page and forget the rollercoaster that 2020 was. With everything that happened in the past year, I took the last few weeks to reflect on everything that happened to me. I graduated high school and started college, all within the confines of my bedroom and through a computer screen. While 2020 was incredibly challenging, it also brought me many important life lessons and memories that I am grateful for. Specifically, 2020 marked the beginning of my fitness and health journey, a journey that I never would've imagined would be so impactful for me.
[bf_image id="3qfzh5wwq5759p797qxqg57"] So, the night before 2021, I sat down at my desk and made a decision. I wasn’t going to make any new year's resolutions for 2021. This honestly felt quite strange for me, as I’ve always made resolutions since I was in middle school. But when I really thought about it, I realized that this habit was not only ineffective, but also gave me an unhealthy relationship with goal-setting and progress. Before, I used to always set some large unrealistic goal right before the new year, like to lose weight, eat healthier or study more. The problem was that even though I never made any genuine attempts in the past year to achieve my goal, I fully expected myself to change without any discipline or solid efforts. I somehow believed that the start of the new year would give me some magical ability to reach my goals. Because of this obviously untrue mindset, one month into the new year, I would start to give up when I either got tired or bored. When I stopped making progress towards my goal and ultimately failed to achieve it, I felt upset and angry at myself, which is an extremely toxic mindset to have.
In reality, reaching your goals and making progress is not constantly rainbows and butterflies. It truly requires hard work and dedication. It’s not as glamorous or trendy as social media portrays it to be, which is why I think that people often fall trap to the “new year new me” mindset.
There are so many other healthier and more realistic ways to reach your goals. Don’t feel like the start of the new year forces you to automatically become the healthiest and best version of yourself overnight. I personally find it more useful to set smaller goals throughout the year. This allows me to set goals for myself that I truly want to achieve instead of jumping on the “new year new me” bandwagon. At the same time, planning my goals throughout the year allows me to stay consistent and easily incorporate them into my daily routine. Developing healthy habits takes commitment.
I also find that setting small, incremental goals is a better motivator than setting one large goal. Setting a big goal from the get go feels very daunting, and when it seems too overwhelming, that’s when you become less likely to achieve your goals. However, if you take small, achievable steps to incorporate your goal into your lifestyle, you will have a greater chance of success in achieving your goal. Even if you have a large goal you really want to achieve, try breaking it down into smaller parts to trick yourself into thinking that the goal isn’t very daunting after all. Another important thing that I kept in mind was to avoid the all or nothing mindset. Whether while making new year's resolutions or goals in general, sometimes it’s really easy to feel disappointed and discouraged when you encounter a minor setback while reaching your goal. For example, I remember distinctly that when I was trying to eat healthier and cut out processed foods, I would automatically feel guilty after I succumbed to a McDonald’s double cheeseburger. Afterwards, since I felt like I already ruined my goal, I continued to eat unhealthily for the rest of the day, as I didn’t see a point to continue.
It’s really important to always factor in balance in all of your goals and to stay positive when you get off track. When I wanted to become the happiest and best version of myself, I learned the importance of balance in a healthy lifestyle. Life is a marathon, not a 100 meter sprint. It’s important to not get too bogged down on your goals and to take time to enjoy life. [bf_image id="h57hrqb8hjq58xbbp4kxx"] For 2021, I hope to continue working towards my long term goal of becoming the happiest and healthiest version of myself. As I have already made pretty significant progress in 2020 by exercising consistently and eating healthy, I hope to continue maintaining this progress while making sure to frequently check in on my mental health.