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Say No to Resolutions + Try Goal Setting With This 5-Step Approach Instead

New Years Eve often makes us think of New Years resolutions, but have you considered goal setting instead? The difference may sound subtle, but what makes the difference is worth taking into consideration . . .

If you’re not feeling the normal routine of resolutions this year, you’re not the only one.

This past year was anything but normal. Burnout and exhaustion were widespread as we waded through another year of pandemic uncertainty, too many zoom calls, and loss, as the “new normal” pandemic way of life persists.

So you’re not alone if the idea of ambitious resolutions and sweeping life overhauls sounds, well . . . exhausting.

If the past couple years have taught us anything, it’s that we can adapt and pivot! If you’re ready for a made-for-the-moment approach to New Year’s resolutions, read on.


Here’s Why Goal Setting Is a More Realistic Approach Than New Years Resolutions:

By all means, some of us thrive on bold resolutions with strict deadlines. We love a good goal!

But for many of us, traditional New Year’s resolutions can set us up for a toxic cycle of unrealistic expectations (we’re losing X weight! We’re committing to a daily juice habit! We’re waking up earlier!) meets-self flagellation, when we undoubtedly fall short of our lofty aims.

The harsh reality is, studies point to a mere 8% ish success rate for New Year’s resolutions.
Goal setting1

A Resolution We Can All Get Behind? Goal Setting

The reasons New Year’s resolutions fail are numerous: not setting specific enough goals, not planning, failing to create tangible habits, setting unrealistic goals . . . the list goes on. There are plenty of articles with tips and tricks to hack your way into a higher resolution success rate – but this isn’t such an article.

What if we set goals in a way where our self-worth wasn’t contingent on us achieving them or not?

Instead, we propose a new way of looking at goal setting this year; one imbued with more grace, acceptance, and self-love – regardless of your goal’s “success” rate. Because haven’t we all spent enough of our one precious life feeling guilty and not enough?

Don’t get us wrong – it’s admirable to want to better your life. But what if we set goals in a way where our self-worth wasn’t contingent on us achieving them or not? What if no matter how our daily habits look come February, we could still be proud of ourselves and know we’re doing our god damn best – and that’s enough?!

Here’s How to Goal Set With Gentleness, Compassion, and Grace

This year, let’s head into resolution-setting season having our own backs. Let’s remember our ability to “crush” or “power through” or “force ourselves” is one thing, but what about our capacity to feel proud of ourselves, celebrate growth even when it’s not linear, or know when to rest?

What about, if instead of traditional resolutions that expect and glamorize quick fixes or overnight results (let’s blame diet culture for this, for making us believe unhealthy and unattainable results are admirable in the first place!) we took a more body-neutral approach to the new year?

Body Neutrality Movement: What It Is, Why It’s So Important + 5 Accounts to Follow

This year, what if we realized the “new year, new me” mentality is a little toxic, and instead patted the “old me’s” on our backs, because she’s doing a pretty awesome job!? How might we feel in February or March if instead we set realistic and healthy goals, (maybe even ones we looked forward to achieving, instead of ones that feel like torture!?)

What if we took a more body-neutral approach to the new year?

We can do hard things, but we can also start small! There’s no need to run or workout daily. Remind yourself, for example, walking and gentle yoga totally count as a workout. And even one to two days a week is something to be proud of!

Need a good gentle yoga flow? We love this All Levels Gentle Yoga Flow to Decompress, Destress, and Feel Good (Free Class)

Serious about better nourishing your body in the new year? Instead of the crash and burn approach of years past, is it doable to try having one extra serving of veggies per day, or learn intuitive eating instead of starting another diet?

Here’s a Simple 5-Step Guide for Goal Setting:

Goal setting2

1. Reflect on Past Goals

Reflect on what’s “worked” and what hasn’t in the past, in terms of goal setting.
Were there years your goal setting clicked and felt good? Or any goals that felt…not so great? What can you learn from old patterns and what do you want to leave in the past?

2. Determine Your Experiential Intention with Your Resolution

Ask yourself, how do you want to feel? Not what you want to weigh or how early you want to wake up in the new year, but what is the ultimate feeling that “resolution” is chasing? More relaxed? Kinder to yourself? More playful? More vibrant?

3. Create Small Goals

Start small and choose just one or two “mini goals” that get you closer to that desired feeling. For example, if you’re wanting to feel more peaceful or empathetic toward yourself next year, instead of overhauling everything, set a bite-sized goal like working out or meditating just twice a week. No need to bite off too much!

4. Add a Mantra to Your Goal

To insert a little extra gentleness and room for “imperfection” to those goals, tack on an overarching mantra to ground them.

Perhaps something like “I commit to journaling two times per week – and if I have a busy week or month where it doesn’t happen, I’ll pick back up without judgment and let go of perfectionist fantasies.” Write these down!

Practice These 15 Encouraging Mantras to Boost Positive Self-Talk

5. Remove Obstacles

As a bonus step: go ahead now and unfollow any accounts or people who you know tend to make you feel less than or like you should be doing more. Surround yourself with people who remind you that you’re enough as is!

This Is How Social Media Influences Our Spirituality

New Year, Same You – Because You’re Already Enough

Whatever your goals for 2022 (because again, goals aren’t a bad thing!), we encourage you to infuse them with one common commitment: no matter how fast or slow you progress, whether you crush your goal or take baby steps, you’ll be proud of yourself and extend yourself some grace.

Cheesy but true: perhaps that’s the most important goal of them all.

Happy New Year! And happy goal setting!

Did any of these ideas resonate with you? Or better yet, what new compassionate goals will you set for yourself? Please share with us in the comments below – we love hearing from you!

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Emmy Schneider-Green

Emmy is a passionate vegan foodie with a wanderlust spirit. When she’s not working her digital marketing day job or writing, she's probably spending time with her two calico cats, lifting weights, listening to a true crime podcast, or daydreaming (sun & moon Pisces here!)

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