Skip to main content

Raise your hand if you’ve ever written out a carefully-planned, meticulously-considered list of goals in December, envisioning a new you and a new life in a new year—only to meet February with a slightly blasé attitude, jaded by the long winter, and a little crestfallen that none of your goals came to pass.

I certainly have. And it’s true for most of us: there’s a reason that February gym attendance falls precipitously, year after year.

This year, when we’re putting together 2021 resolutions, we need to consider who we are and where we’re coming from. (And if you are someone who doesn’t particularly care to set resolutions that’s okay, too—give yourself permission to opt out, and be at peace with that.)

This year, of all years, it’s time to put together our list of future goals with a little realism—and a little grace.

Even in a normal year, people tend to set themselves up for failure with wildly optimistic, ambitious resolutions to reinvent themselves in a matter of weeks. Science says it’s a much better idea to stick with a more humble ledger of quiet, actionable habits that will themselves give us more happiness, health, and progress in the long run.


Join the Verily Yours membership for $7.99/mo or $60/year to read this article and more editions from Verily Work. All memberships start with a FREE 30-day trial.

Already a member? Access this edition here.