Keeping a resolution is hard in the best of years. After the dumpster fire that was 2020 for so many people, it could be even harder. But resolutions can help us grow and move forward, so here are 5 Tips for Writing 2021 Resolutions You Can Actually Keep.
1. Give Yourself Some Grace
Lots of us are feeling out of sorts. Some have lived in sweat pants and not ventured out for months. Some have lost jobs (I personally had not one, but two, Covid related job losses). It can be hard to feel hopeful and plan for the future after the past year, so give yourself some grace. If your only resolution this year is to put on real clothes and go outside once a week, then that's cool. If your goals for 2021 are bigger than that, go all in.
Whatever you need in your life right now is absolutely perfect. Don't compare your resolutions to other people's. You do you and don't pay attention to what someone else is doing. Comparison is one of the all time greatest resolution killers. As many have shared on social media, we are all in the same storm but we are not all in the same boat.
2. Stick to the KISS Model
When writing resolutions that you can actually keep, using the KISS model can help. As many of you probably know KISS stands for Keep It Simple Stupid (or Sis, or Sir, or Stud, or whatever, if you don't like using stupid). Too many or overly complicated resolutions are easier to blow off. Sometimes it is better to make one solid resolution you can actually keep than a long list. Evaluate where you are personally a pick the number of goals that will let your experience success.
3. Make SMART Goals
If you are going to write more or more complicated resolutions, making them SMART can help improve your chances of keeping them. What is a SMART Goal?
S – Specific. Be very specific about what you want to achieve. Saying you want to lose weight in 2021 isn't specific. Instead write your resolution to reflect exactly how much you want to lose, i.e. I will lose 20 pounds in 2021.
M – Measurable. Being able to measure and evaluate your goals is important to success. Writing a resolution that simply says “I will get organized” isn't measurable. Instead try something like “I will fold my t-shirt drawer using the Marie Kondo method”. When it's done you can clearly see that it is done. Also, if you aren't folding your t-shirts using the Marie Kondo method look it up. It's life changing.
A – Achievable. Setting goals that are unrealistic or not achievable is the worst kind of self-sabotage. Start out with smaller, easily achieved goals to allow yourself to experience some success. Then build on those. If you want to improve your shooting, you don't start out trying to shoot all in the black of a B8 at 25 yards. You start at 3 yards. Once you are all in the black at that distance back up to 7 yards and start over. Then 10 yards, 15 yards, etc. Avoid purposefully frustrating yourself and denying yourself a taste of success.
R – Relevant. Making your 2021 resolutions relevant is important. Maybe you have a goal to travel more (who doesn't!). But maybe this isn't the year to resolve to finally visit Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower. The world isn't Cinderella and everything didn't turn back to normal at Midnight on 1/1/2021. No matter your views on the pandemic, it's a thing. It's a thing we'll probably be dealing with for a while to come. Travel will likely remain restricted, so avoid resolutions that could be impacted by things you have zero control over. No need to set yourself up for disappointment.
T – Time Based. Giving yourself a deadline will help increase the chances that you will actually keep some of your 2021 resolutions. One of my goals is to be able to shoot the FBI qualification by the end of August. I picked the end of August because Tom Givens will be in my area in October for a Range Master class and I intend to take it. Having a deadline gives a sense of urgency and helps propel us into action.
4. Don't Just Wish for It, Make a Plan
In reality, a list of resolutions is nothing more than a wish list unless you make a plan to achieve what you want. Look at your resolutions individually and break them down into manageable, actionable steps. Keep the KISS and SMART concepts in mind when developing your plan.
Going back to my resolution to shoot the FBI qualification by August. If you aren't familiar with the qualification standards you can find them here. Just like Greg says in the linked article, the qualification is the evaluation, not the practice. So my plan of action to achieve this resolution might look something like this:
- Buy a shot timer using Christmas money by January 15th (I've been using a phone app and it is okay, but not great).
- Shoot the course of fire by January 30th to identify areas of weakness.
- Develop a training plan and schedule to address each area of weakness by February 11th (I picked this date because it holds significance to me personally as a shooter).
- Do the training sections until mastery by the date(s) selected. This may include things like practice 10 dry fire draws every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until reaction time is consistently 1.5 seconds or less.
- Reshoot the course of fire by March 30th to evaluate progress.
Continue on like that until your goal is reached. Goals/Resolutions should not be static things. They need to grow and change along with you.
5. Consider Hiring a Professional
My final bit of advice is to consider hiring a professional when and where you need to. We can't all be experts at everything. Last year when I decided I wanted to take ECQC but needed to get stronger first, I hired Varg Freeborn to do strength training. I didn't know squat about weight lifting so I found someone who did. When I started I could hardly bench press 20 pound dumbbells and now I'm doing 95 pound barbells after just 8 months.
Want to organize your house but struggle to part with all the junk? Hire a professional organizer. Want to improve your shooting? Take some private lessons. I have learned more in 2 hours at the range with Dan than I have in many 8-hour classes. Want to update your wardrobe? Hire an image consultant. Eat healthier? Consult a Nutritionist. Want Instagram worthy presents under the tree? Yep, there are professional present wrappers out there. No matter what it is you want to achieve, there is someone out there who is an expert who can help you out. It is always worth the investment in yourself and your sanity.