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Rethinking resolutions

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2020!

January can be a tough time. Just as we crawl out of the holiday season here in Canada, we’re bombarded with the expectation to evolve into a shinier version of ourselves. It can often feel like everyone around us is starting a new diet, a new workout routine, or beginning a new life plan that’s going to slingshot them into their dream lives.

As soon as we break open that fresh new calendar, we are told that happiness is just around the corner – as long as we make the right changes. With ads on every corner selling us products to help lose weight, become more organized, or live life to the fullest, it’s easy to start believing we aren’t good enough the way we are.

Improving and challenging ourselves can absolutely be healthy, but it’s important to remember that we all deserve love and happiness.

Here’s a wild thought: you don’t need to set a resolution.

You are enough just as you are.

You don’t need to change the way you look, live, eat, or work to be valid. Try reflecting on self-love and appreciate your wonderful self.

If the start of a new year (and decade!) has you feeling motivated, though, here are some tips to guide you in setting your resolution:

Reflect on your New Year’s resolution: What’s at the root of your desire to change? It’s important to distinguish whether it’s based on self-love or shame. If it’s the latter, there might be more to uncover.

Set realistic goals: Try to keep your goals S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound).[1] If, for instance, you want to become more physically active in 2020, start by taking small steps in that direction. Though everyone is different, it’s more realistic to set a goal of going for a walk every day, than reinventing yourself as a gym rat.

Celebrate small victories: Each small milestone is one step closer to your goal.  If you’re planning on reading more in 2020, give yourself a pat on the back each time you finish a chapter. Acknowledging steps in the right direction can be very motivating!

Be kind to yourself: It’s easy to feel discouraged when you hit bumps in the road, but don’t be too hard on yourself. If you slip on your resolution, it doesn’t mean you have to give up. Remember to be kind to yourself and start up again if you can.

Check in on yourself often: What you feel is best for you now, might not be what is best for you as you get further into 2020. If your priorities change, it’s OK. It’s important to listen to your gut and adapt to life as it comes.

Remember, being able to follow through – or not — on a New Year’s resolution doesn’t determine your worth. It’s 2020. Be good to yourself.


[1] Doran, G. T. (1981). “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives”. Management Review. 70(11): 35–36.