Now is Not the Time to Set Resolutions

I risk being trite when I say WHAT A YEAR… but it really has been. The only thing I’m certain of these days is that 2020 will be mentioned in the history books.

Not to re-hash what you already know (social unrest, a President acting quite un-Presidential, a global pandemic, civil war, femicide, and genocide, the Brexit that still hasn’t been, a general sense of restlessness, and the untenable desire to just work out of a coffee shop, dammit), this year is not like the others, especially for those affected by all of the above.

Usually, at this time of the year, we’re talking about the highlights and lowlights of the year, planning for our year-end performance reviews, watching Uncle Gary get drunk at the family Christmas party, and trying to not get too tipsy ourselves at the annual company holiday party. More than anything, we’re usually talking about our New Years’ Resolutions.

This year, I invite you to do none of that.

Not to say that reflection isn’t necessary (it is), or that goals are bad (they aren’t), just that this isn’t the time to do our annual goal-setting. There’s too much unknown out there that are preventing us from becoming crystal-clear on our goals. And if goals need to be one thing in order to succeed, it’s crystal clear.

About 80% of all New Year’s Resolutions fail because we ideate so much. When it comes to execution, we fail – mostly because humans are routine-driven, and all of our routines have already been disrupted. In the place of more self-improvement or more home-improvement projects, I invite you instead to focus on self-love and being graceful with yourself, without heaping even more responsibility on top of our already existing high-stress levels, limited sunlight, and overall lack of motivation.

Change is hard, and the events of this year have in some ways made change very easy and simple, or very difficult.

Instead of thinking of new resolutions or goals, I instead urge you to reflect on:

  • Your connections and support. Do you feel supported in your daily life? If so, how? If not, what would that support look like (more phone calls with your mom, with friends, or finding a mentor)?
  • Your routine. How much does your routine serve you? Is it possible to have 2-5 minutes of mindful calm in your day: whether it’s a steaming hot shower, a good book, journaling, or sitting still with a hot mug of coffee or tea?
  • Your creative outlets. How much of what you do requires creativity? I believe humans are meant to create, whether that’s stories around the fire, baked goodies for yourself or loved ones, poems, or songs. Perhaps that spark you’re looking for within your goals is actually just a yearning for more creativity.

There’s a time and place for all of our ideas, goals, and money. Yet if there’s one thing 2020 has made me become, it’s more mindful: being mindful of what I say, what I think, where I spend my money, and what values I support. There’s a time and place for lofty goal-setting, creating management-approved SMART goals, and dreaming of a better life for yourself: but let’s just let the dust settle from 2020 first, eh?


Megan Miller
Megan Miller
As one enamored with deep thinking and deep conversations, Megan Miller shares her findings and experiences as a word nerd and language lover worldwide. With more than 2 decades of Spanish under her belt, Megan has experienced firsthand the benefits of bilingualism. Megan is the founder and owner of Aprovechar Language Solutions, a translation and Spanish/English language coaching business that focuses on mindset, habit, and real-world examples to improve people’s confidence and comfortability in speaking and communicating. When she’s not coaching or translating, Megan uses her communication skills as an IT Project Manager to produce technological solutions and likes to travel and bake in her free time

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  1. Great piece, Megan! I’ve never been one for resolutions, instead I like to come up with a theme, though it’s far less formal than it sounds. It’s more of an idea of how I want to be. Last year’s theme was to Stop Hiding and to Speak Up – sort of a take on assertiveness and self-expression. I always do poorly on those assertiveness tests…probably because I avoid conflict. I chose to stop hiding, to show up, and speak up. Then, we all went into hiding, sequestered in our homes, which sort of proves your point, doesn’t it? Still, I managed to show up in new ways for myself and others, so I’d say I was able to honor the theme and express myself more “visibly.” I finally started writing for BC360, so that’s proof of some progress. For years, I thought a resolution was about doing or not doing something. Do more walking. Don’t eat those potato chips. Now, I look for ways to “be” a certain way and honor a part of myself rather then “do” anything, but I reflect on this kind of stuff throughout the year, not just at the end or the beginning… BTW, have you read Jenny Odell’s book, “How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy?”It’s a marvel, I think you’d dig it.

    • Ah thank you for the comment! The book has been on my list for months, ever since you read it and told me about it. But even the title of “How to do nothing” is mischievously motivating: just looking at the book title in my “Books to Read” list helps me remember that it’s quite alright to do nothing. (The biggest mindset shift I’ve had this year is that my to-do list and productivity does not equal my worth as a person. It’s been a hard change to wrap my Type-A, recovering perfectionist and self-martyr self into… but we’re getting there.)

      I love your ideas of themes and the different takes on them! As another conflict-avoider, I know how empowering it is to stand up and speak up for yourself… even if we’re all in our PJs and behind computer screens. Perhaps now is the best time to stand up and speak out, versus that ubiquitous “normal” everyone keeps talking about. (I love reading your stuff on BC360. Please keep writing!)

      I always thought resolutions were the more “do” or “be”…. “Do this. Be skinny. Be happier. Smile more. Talk less.” I think maybe for next year my mantra will be “allow”. Get out of my own way and allow for things to happen. Allow people to be people without wanting to “fix” what may not be broken. Like you said, honor a part of me that wants to let some magic happen, instead of forcing solutions. Checking in throughout the year is key.. otherwise, time just flies on by!

  2. This is a beautiful piece, Megan! I don’t know that I’ll eschew goals this year, but I’m certainly going about it differently. Instead of pushing to meet a goal, I find that I’m giving myself the space to let it unfold in a more thoughtful, gentle way. Still moving forward, but not at breakneck speed. My days have less urgency and more purpose. I’m approaching tasks not out of obligation or some self-enforced drive for completion, but out of a curiosity and desire to experience the other side. I think, for me, I’ve stopped trying to prove anything, which has been very freeing.

    • Wonderful sentiment, Kimberly and thank you for the comment! Yes, forward motion is definitely a good feeling, though like you, I’ve perhaps found myself slowing down and less “road-rage, pedal to the floor” forward motion and more “yoga Vinyasa flow through the day”. And congratulations on stop trying to prove anything – where do I buy that freedom? Is it something that needs to be installed in my brain, and if so, yes, I’ll do it!

      It sounds like your 2021 is set up to be a wonderful, fruitful year full of self-grace and love. Hugs!