It’s almost the end of 2019. Tomorrow night we’ll all celebrate going into 2020 with a bang. For me 2019 was a great year with lots of growth. I got a full-time job, a car and my own place. So you might think I’d be setting new goals for 2020. And I am. But they’re not new year’s resolutions. Because resolutions don’t actually work. Here’s why.

Forced new year’s resolutions

The thing about new year’s resolutions is, is that we feel almost obligated to have them. The question “what are your resolutions?” is one I’ve heard at least four times in the past two weeks. But you can’t force a goal. It’s a wrong motivator. This is why many people quit going to the gym after February and why, by March, most people have given up on their goal to stop smoking. Something you want to do has to come from within; from a desire to actually want to make a change. And sometimes you’re not quite ready for it. Sometimes you want to make a change, but the right motivation isn’t there yet. Because people feel like they should reach new goals in the new year, they’ll push these desired changes forward and try and muster up the motivation to actually complete the goal, even when the motivation isn’t “ripe” yet. Completing a goal takes patience and willpower. If you’re not ready for either of those things, you’re not ready to start. That doesn’t mean you should drop it all together, though. On the contrary. It means you need to work on improving your patience and willpower. And trust me, anyone can do that! You are more than capable to complete your goals.

New year, new me

A funny thing I’ve noticed is the human desire for deadlines and fresh starts. Why do we wait with starting on a goal until a new month has arrived, or a new year? Why not start immediately? Once you become aware of that, it’ll actually become easier to start on your goal right away. That means you’ll start when the desire to complete it is high, as is your motivation. If you think “I want to cook more complicated meals” in November and then wait until the new year to start, you might have forgotten about it or lost the motivation. In a timespan of two months you have had more than enough time to think about the goal and also talk yourself out of it, thinking “it’s not actually that important”. Maybe it’s because I’m a little impulsive, but my advice is to just go for it as soon as you have the right goal, along with the motivation and the patience to complete it.

Set goals, not resolutions

So remember I said I did set goals but no new year’s resolutions? What I mean by this is that I’m giving myself all of 2020 to improve on the things I want to improve on. These things are mainly centred around writing. I’m not telling myself to write x amount of stories or blog posts, but I simply want to improve my writing and my consistency in writing. It’s actually a goal I’ve been working on since the summer and am now willing to expand further. So if your goal for 2020 is to lose weight, don’t settle on a number. Just “lose weight” is a good goal. Or if you want to read more, aim to read more than the year before. Want to learn a new skill? Take your time doing so. The end of the new year is not a deadline, it’s a point where you can check your progress and adjust your goal for the next year. And with that being said, I wish you all a happy and healthy 2020!