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2020 Plans and Resolutions Thwarted? Now what?

Many of us start the year by setting New Year’s resolutions or making plans for what we want to accomplish over the coming months. Maybe you signed up for your first 5K road race or had just enrolled in a professional development course. Perhaps you were planning a once-in-a-lifetime vacation or had resolved to finally pay off debt. If you’re feeling upset about not seeing your plans come together, you’re certainly not alone. During this time, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings so that you can start building toward what to do next.

Remember Your “Why”

Think about why you wanted to accomplish your goals in the first place. Maybe, the bigger goal of running that 5K was to improve your health. Perhaps the ultimate reason behind your vacation was the desire to spend quality time with your family. Start revisiting your goals by remembering why you set them in the first place. Remembering your “why” can help keep you grounded in your motivation for doing things and springboard new ideas for how you can still achieve what you ultimately want, even if it is in a new way.

Shift Your Focus to “How”

Once you’ve reflected on your bigger goals, think about ways you can shift your plan to still get what you want. If your professional development course is off the table, consider books or podcasts on similar topics to help you grow professionally. Enjoy the process of working towards fitness goals by being mindful of how the activity makes you feel. For example, maybe you’ve realized that going for a run gives you more energy throughout the day and lowers your stress. If your goal was a house project or renovation, consider doing a smaller project like organizing drawers, cleaning out the attic or planting flowers.

Recommit Where You Can

If the chaos of these uncertain times has made it hard for you to remain motivated, consider small adjustments you could make to recommit where you can. Perhaps you vowed to avoid screens after dinner but are finding yourself catching up from work in the evenings. Instead, consider taking a real break for lunch to spend time outside, away from the screens. If you struggle with getting consistent exercise without that 5K race, consider picking a date on the calendar to run your own race – you can even enlist family or neighbors to cheer from the sidelines.

Make Short-Term, Realistic Plans For Now

After some reflection, you may find that you would benefit from some new goals altogether. When setting new goals, focus on short-term plans that are within your control. Plan to cook a special meal or get take-out from a favorite restaurant. Enjoy a themed movie night with your significant other (my suggestion, enjoy a double feature I call “Swayze Saturday” and watch both Dirty Dancing and Ghost). Find an obscure holiday to celebrate with your kids. For exercise, take advantage of working from home with a daily lunchtime walk. You’ll likely find many small ways you can set short-term, achievable goals that tie back to your “why.”

How You Want to Feel vs. Things You Want to Do

At the end of the day, remember the bigger picture. Think about how you ultimately want to feel or what impact you want to have on others. You may find that you’re well on your way to achieving your goals after all.

Erika Gruszewski

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