With the new year around the corner and so many changes to our lifestyles in 2020, you may be itching to set some big resolutions for 2021. Here are a few tips for setting meaningful and attainable New Year’s resolutions.

1. Imagine
2021 is your oyster; what do you want from it? Make a list of everything you want to do from, “I want to go outside every day for at least five minutes” to “This year, I want to make a positive impact on the world.” Make a giant list! It doesn’t hurt anything. In fact, it may help you remember where you’re headed over the next few years. Or it may help you remember how far you’ve already come. Once you’ve made your list, ensure that your goals are positively purposeful. Is it meaningful to you to lift weights three days a week? If so, great! If not, consider shifting your resolution into something that feels more impactful to you. This could be as simple as re-imagining your resolution as “I’m going to get stronger this year.”

2. Simplify
Take your big idea resolution and make it a little more specific. If you know exactly what you’re working toward, it’ll help you reach your goal. You might add a clarifying sentence to your overarching resolution. For example, you can follow “I’m going to get stronger this year…” with “…by lifting weights and getting out to play tennis.” Or follow it with a way to measure if you’ve reached your goal, “…and I will know I’m stronger when I can lift fifty pounds.”

If you realize that your resolution is too big to simplify, maybe choose one step toward that goal as your 2021 resolution. Then this year’s resolution becomes one step in what may become a multi-year resolution.

3. Plan
Break your resolution into chunks. These chunks might be time boxes – like what you’ll do each month or logistics – what items or support you’ll need to keep the resolution. For example, you might plan to lift weights that are five pounds heavier each month. Or you might plan to buy a set of weights if you don’t have any at home. If your resolution is more abstract, like making a positive impact on someone’s life, consider whether you want to set parameters to make it clear that you’ve attained your goal. Do you have a specific person in mind you’d like to impact positively? Or a specific impact? Will it be an emotional impact or financial or material?

When you define steps toward keeping your resolution, it makes the big goal more attainable.

4. Share
Share your plan with at least one accountability partner, or maybe with the whole world! It’s not about these witnesses making you feel guilty if you don’t keep your resolution; it’s about support. You want people there to cheer you on as you work toward a goal you’ve set for yourself. Everything feels attainable when you know you have people in your corner. They’re there to remind you of your focus, your strength, and your ability. They’re there to tell you, “You can do it! I believe in you!”

5. Post It
We’re not talking about posting your New Year’s resolution to Facebook and Instagram (although you could if you’d like). Another way to make your resolutions feel attainable is to post them in places you see every day. This ensures that you don’t allow the goal to slip from focus. Make whatever you post a positive reminder, a joyful nudge toward your goal. Remind yourself that this resolution is attainable and meaningful to you. You set the resolution knowing you can hit it, and you want to.

Then, periodically, move the location of your posts, so they don’t become just part of the scenery. Or, even better, have your spouse or children move it periodically for you. Nothing like getting that surprise reminder when you push the garage button on your rearview!

Take these steps with you into January, and your New Year’s resolution for 2021 can be the best one you’ve ever set–not to mention the best one you’ve ever MET!

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