This time of year I get a lot of questions on my feelings and strategies for setting New Year’s resolutions. I’m certainly not against them. I actually think we should all have goals we’re working on all the time. But New Year’s resolutions have to be handled right. If they aren’t–and many studies have shown less than 20% are– then New Year’s resolutions can actually be detrimental, setting us up for failure and getting us even farther off the path to self-improvement. So, with the low statistics not being on the side of success, I’m cautious whenever I talk about setting some New Year’s resolutions.
As bleak as that sounds, it shouldn’t become a deterrent—or an excuse—to stop you from setting resolutions for 2022 if you’ve been thinking about doing so. Having goals matters. They’re how we become better versions of ourselves. So, just because science says the odds aren’t with you, take heart. You CAN achieve your resolutions. You just have to set yourself up for success.
Intentional vs. Hopeful Resolutions and Goals
While resolutions are always built on both good intentions and hope, it’s the latter you have to be wary of. Take the most popular resolution out there– some version of this: ‘I’d like to lose 20lbs by the end of the year.’ This is a hopefully-built resolution. Resolutions like this are why the statistics are so low on success rates. The trouble here is that it dumps the responsibility on a future version of yourself, with the hope that “Future Self” will eventually—and magically—find the motivation to make it happen. Successful resolutions aren’t built on hope alone, though. The foundation they’re built on? Intention. Intentional resolutions require an action plan right now, one that “Present Self” can begin implementing immediately. So! With that in mind, here are some of my suggestions for setting intentional resolutions and goals that will have you on the road to a better you starting right here and right now. Because really, is there a better project to work on than yourself?! NO! So read on:
Mini Goals For The Win
One of the best ways to ensure the responsibility falls on Present You is to set short-term objectives that can be achieved in a shorter timespan. So, if your resolution is to lower your blood pressure by the end of the year, you could set an incremental goal to do more exercise in February than you did in January. THAT would be an achievable mini goal that requires action right now, puts Present You to work, and gets you moving in the right direction.
Tie The New Habit To An Existing Habit
The ultimate goal with any resolution is to make it become a habit, something you do without any real feelings about it… like brushing your teeth or making your bed. So, if your resolution involves being less stressed out, as an example, you could set a goal of meditating for 10 minutes each evening right after brushing your teeth. Research has shown linking a new habit you’re trying to form with an existing habit is a powerful way to get it to actually stick.
Mind Games Happen. Win Them.
It’s a totally normal human response to struggle with creating change. That actually comes from your primal brain, the part of you that likes consistency and routines. When you try to create change in your life, your primal brain won’t like it. So, it tries to thwart you with mind games and motivation-busting feelings. My best advice to fight through the motivation mind games? The laundry comparison strategy. Think of the work you’re doing towards your goals in the same way you think about doing the laundry. When it’s time to do the laundry, you just do it… without any real thought or feelings, right? You don’t wait for the motivation to hit you, you don’t analyze your feelings about doing it, you just go on auto-pilot and get it done. As you work on your resolutions and goals, there will be times you won’t feel like doing the work. Use the laundry comparison to help you kick into auto-pilot and get it done anyways. You’ve heard Nike’s ‘just do it’ tagline before, right? Yep. THAT.
Set Goals For Yourself That Are Fun, Too!
I’m a firm believer we should always be working towards goals as a path towards self-improvement. But, that doesn’t mean they all have to feel like work. You can set goals that make you happier, too. Have some fun with your self-improvement! Here are some suggestions for goals that can actually be a pleasure to work on:
- Pay someone a compliment every day.
- Stay better connected with weekly phone calls to a loved one.
- Laugh every day.
- Play more games.
- More nature time.
- Mentor someone.
- Host an annual event.
- Find a new shared hobby with spouse or friend.
- Listen to a new song everyday.
While You’re at it, Create Some RV-Related Goals for 2022
Speaking of goals that are fun to work on, your RV can be a catalyst to a better you, too! RVing enriches your life and improves your health in many different ways. Research shows travel keeps your brain sharp, increases your physical activity levels, and enhances your mental health. To reap all those benefits, busting out the RV as often as you can makes sense, as does setting goals to make that happen. Try these on for size:
- Take the RV out more. There are lots of ways to set this resolution up for success, like a goal of one RV trip a month during the RV season, or resolving to take more trips this year than last year.
- RV somewhere new. I’d bet you’ve seen (or own!) a version of the state stickers map people put on their RVs. A fun goal could be to add a certain number of new state stickers to your travel map this year!
- Get out of your RVing comfort zone. If you’ve never taken your RV boondocking somewhere remote and off-grid, set a goal to try it. Or for those of you who have never visited an RV park, give it a try! RVers can get comfortable in their own RVing style, always setting up trips in the same way. Let this be the year you try shaking things up and see another side of the RV lifestyle.
- Meet Other RVers! Being social is linked to living longer, healthier lives. When you have an RV, it opens up all sorts of possibilities for meeting other people who you instantly bond with over your shared RV love. A good resolution could be to attend your first RV rally this year. If you’re already a rally pro, set a goal to attend a new RV rally you’ve never been to before.
- Get fit! Let this be the year you resolve to take your RV on more trips that are physical activity focused. Seek out endurance events around the country based on your interests (like bicycling, paddling, 5k walks, etc).
- Reconnect with loved ones. Your RV can make it easy to connect with loved ones you don’t get to see often. This year, resolve to plan an RV trip with the special people in your life, host an RV-based family reunion, or just use your RV to go see your loved ones, wherever they are around the country.
So there you have it, some of my thoughts on creating successful resolutions and goals– statistics, be damned!
It really does just come down to how you set them up and how much intention you put behind them. Your goals certainly don’t have to be monumental, and they don’t have to suck all the fun out of your life either. We only get this one chance to live 2022, you know? How do you want to remember yours? I’d like to remember mine as one where I had lots of incredible adventures, and yet at the same time I’d like to look back proud of the work ‘Past Me’ did toward self-improvement. The two things can go hand in hand… as long as I balance it right. May you all find your self-improvement and adventure balance in 2022, too!