Although only about 60 percent of us bother — and just eight percent of us achieve them — New Year’s resolutions are well-worth making.
Resolutions give us an opportunity to reflect on our lives; think about the changes we want to make; and set goals for ourselves. Whether or not we succeed in keeping them, resolutions help us close the gap between where we are and where we want to be.
Particularly after a year like 2020, which has been chaotic for so many of us, it can be invigorating to sit down and make a plan for what you want to accomplish in the year ahead. And if you’re stuck for ideas, you’re in luck: We sat down with personal and executive coach Keren Eldad for her thoughts on what resolutions you can make to improve your personal and professional lives in 2021 — plus, a tip on how to keep them.
Focus on yourself.
Feeling burnt out, stuck, or overwhelmed? It’s possible that “you are, at some level, unaware of what you really want and why you have made the choices you have this far,” Eldad says. “To that end, I recommend that anyone make personal development their 2021 resolution.”
If you want more clarity, Eldad suggests working with a coach; signing up for webinars on different areas of personal growth, such as how to get past imposter syndrome or grow your network; or trying the old DIY method of reading books and watching videos. If you’re looking to make a career change, Eldad recommends “Life’s Great Question: Discover How You Contribute to the World” by Tom Rath. As for videos, Eldad points out that experts such as motivational speaker Tony Robbins and research professor Dr. Brené Brown have talks available on YouTube you can watch for free.
Here’s another reason you might be exhausted: There’s too much on your plate. “[Feeling] overwhelmed is primarily a time management issue,” Eldad notes. Being more organized can help you juggle the many demands on your time and energy so that you can approach each day with an attainable set of goals.
To help you manage your time better, Eldad recommends reading cleaning consultant Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” which will teach you to treasure the things in your life that spark joy instead of focusing on what you can do without, and “The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results” by entrepreneur Gary Keller and writer Jay Papasan.
Get your finances on track.
“I own my own business, and if there is one lesson I have learned in 2020 it is be financially prepared,” Eldad says. “Too many Americans and American businesses struggled in 2020. While we could not predict a worldwide pandemic, we can safely assume that there’s more uncertainty ahead.”
Having your finances in order gives you the flexibility and safety net you need to tackle whatever life throws at you. If you have debt, resolve to pay it down in the new year. Eldad also recommends creating an additional income stream “to hedge your bets and create more financial security.” One more thing to add to your financial checklist: Learn how to manage your money. Eldad suggests adding titles like “I Will Teach You to Be Rich” by Ramit Sethi and “You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth” by Jen Sincero to your reading list.
Adjust your mindset.
As for Eldad’s own resolution, she plans to focus on what she calls the “Spiritual Gym” this year: working with her own coach, reading books that inspire her, meditating daily, volunteering, and writing in her gratitude journal. In other words, the activities and exercises that help expand her mind and add to her happiness.
“I’m an executive coach, so, obviously, I do care about career goals and efficiency, performance, and productivity. But for me, mindset matters most — especially after a year like 2020,” Eldad says. “How we feel is how we lead.”
Make a resolution you can keep.
Most of us don’t even make it two weeks with our New Year’s resolution. If you generally struggle to keep yours, Eldad recommends being more reasonable in your goals, no matter what resolution you end up making.
“Resolutions should be focused and attainable. Don’t resolve to read 50 books in 2021 if you can barely make it through two,” Eldad says. “The key here is to make your goals as realistic and as enjoyable as possible.”