If 2021 has taught us anything, it’s that the best-laid plans of anyone can go awry. No one can predict the future and that was never more true than in 2021. We learned that life can change precipitously and almost instantly. We learned that what control we thought we had over our lives is really tenuous at best. We learned that loss can overwhelm and devastate us when we least expect it. Tough lessons to learn.
So why set goals at all? Why bother to plan when so many things can go so wrong? With so much uncertainty about jobs and health and our futures, what’s the point? Yet planning—even when that future isn’t predictable—gives us a framework and action plan for what to do if we can. And just having that plan gives us hope. If we can’t execute that plan, at least we have an idea of where we want to go when circumstances allow us.
Someday we’ll be able to plan for the long-term. But for now, make resolutions that are do-able. You can’t control how your far-flung relatives will fare and whether or not they’ll get Covid. You can’t control when the economy will rebound. You can’t control when the borders will reopen so you can travel. You can’t control when you’ll get the vaccine, although you can look forward to getting it sometime soon.
So think small. What can you actually control in your life? How much you exercise, how much TV you watch, how much you read, how much you eat, and what you eat. These are all examples of things you have pretty much control over, and things you can choose to make resolutions about. It’s not so important that you attain perfection as it is to have goals and set them so you have something to work toward.
Set Achievable Goals
Things are gloomy enough during a pandemic without Draconian resolutions. While it’s good to have goals, go a little easy on yourself so you have a prayer of actually achieving your resolutions. But still, stretch yourself so you can feel like you’re challenged a bit. And don’t set too many goals. When you try and reach them all at once you’re setting yourself up to fail.
If you do fail—a who of us doesn’t at some time?—be as gentle with yourself as you would with your best friend. Tell yourself it’s okay because it is. And just because you fell off the wagon doesn’t mean you should give up. Get back on and try again. Remember that self-improvement rarely follows a linear path. Sometimes you take two steps forward and one step back. Just keep going. 2022 is bound to be better than in 2021.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact