Zero-Dollar Goals For 2021 You Can Achieve Before New Year’s Eve
Nearly 50% of people admitted to giving up on their resolutions in the first month…
— here’s how to avoid that.
As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect,” and in my personal experience, this also applies to the trial-and-error process that comes with keeping our New Year’s resolution(s).
In the most recent years, I decided that, instead of waiting on the first of January to get started on any “New Year, New Me” challenges, that I could, and would get started from where I am — literally and figuratively, speaking (in regards to time and date).
The moment I started looking at resolutions as “reseverations,” for a better version of myself, it was easier to get excited, earlier, for making these changes in my life. I actually wanted to get ahead of implementing them, rather than wait and hope that I’d somehow magically wake up on January 1st with more willpower to make changes in my life, that simply didn’t exist 24 hours prior. A recent study showed that, out of 4,000 people, 43% admitted to giving up on their resolutions in the first month.
According to the European Journal of Social Psychology, there are a couple of reasons why resolutions set us up for disappointment. First, we underestimate how long it takes to kick a bad habit, as well as adopt a good one. Most say it takes 21 days. However, studies indicate that on average, it takes approximately 66 days before a new habit actually becomes automatic. This means if you start trying to be a “New You,” on “New Year’s Day,” it’ll actually take until Spring to change.
With that said, let’s try to get ahead of ourselves (in a good way, this time.) Check out my zero-cost “do’s” list below:
DO: Get started on some of your easier resolutions now, instead of waiting on January 1st to implement them.
I actually find autumn to be the best time to start working towards the New Year. Something about the metaphor of associating Fall with “Turning over a new leaf,” (I know, call me cheesy), makes me excited to get started on changing myself for the better, during this time. Same thing with winter; I look at that colder climate as an added dramatic factor to taking on new challenges.
If anything, the highs, lows and woes of 2020 is all the more reason to anticipate getting the heck out of dodge, and get excited for 2021. What’s considered “easy” for some, may not be considered easy for others, so I can’t tell you which resolution on your list is easiest to take on first. However, I will say that you should make a list, in order of easiest to most difficult, as a means of determining and prioritizin which goal that is for you!
DO: If you have a fitness goal, either A. activate a new gym membership today or B. create an at-home workout playlist of videos on Youtube, for you to follow.
Now, just an FYI, yes – new gym memberships are often “First month free,” or first “X” amount of times free, if you’ve never been before. Hence, why I suggest signing up now, getting yourself into the groove of working out, and being motivated enough to want to even continue paying, moving forward. How many of us waste money on the gym, and end up having a recurring charge on our card for a place we never go? While I can’t make the gym entirely free for you, I can make it worth paying for, after a free trial. If you take the gym seriously in that first month, it’ll be worth the charges thereafter, and many gyms are pretty low in cost at the moment, and have pandemic-related promotional rates.
Now, if we are still being super careful about social-distancing (and should be), I’d highly recommend creating a playlist of Youtube videos, that specialize in “at-home-workouts.” Same goes for saving and creating a folder of IG videos and posts that show us at-home workout routines. These are obviously super free. If Youtube commercials bother you that much, guess what? You can always subscribe to Youtube Red (commercial free), with the first month being at-no cost to you.
DO: Use the holidays as a means of practicing your budgeting habits, in order to perfect them by Jan. 1.
What better discipline on money and spending than practicing what and when to buy (or not to buy), than the holidays? Listen, this has been a tough year for all. Even for those who’ve managed to stay both healthy and gainfully employed, the year was still an eye opener, as it pertains to carefully spending and saving. With that said, you really don’t owe it to anyone to have the same budget you did last year, this year, for gift buying. I’d suggest practicing the art of low-buy to no-buy this year, when it comes to holiday shopping. You could easily look for no-cost gift alternatives, such as carving out time to catch up with the person in a an intimate way, inviting them over for dinner or coffee at your place, sending them a personalized e-card via email telling them how special and important they are in your life, etc. As for low-cost gift-giving, you can even see some tips here.
Either way, the art of practicing what not to buy and when not to buy, both for yourself and others (because yes, shopping while anxious is a real thing too), is a great thing to practice during a time when commericalism and consumerism is at its peak. If you can master saving now, you’ll be great by the first.
DO: If you haven’t already, open up a high yield savings account, Roth IRA or any other account to help elevate your finances and money management.
Looking into your options for the aforementioned accounts is not only free, it feels productive. These days, so much of what we do is in isolation. Setting up an actual meeting with any type of professional to help elevate your goals — in this case, your bank specialist or accountant— will make you feel super productive and motivated. While this meeting will more than likely be over the phone, depending on your region and pandemic-related lockdown limitations, it’ll still prove fruitful in results. These accounts can be opened for free, with the money you already have in your account. For example, some high-yield savings account require only a minimum of $100 to open, which you may already have on hand. Either way, meeting with a bank specialist or accountant to discuss what is next with your money, is key to financial productivity.
If you already have the above accounts, making a money map and deciding what the next goal is with you money, is important. And super easy. These options (and ideally should) still include meeting with a specialist for free, looking into stock options, creating new “emergency funds,” or simply just elevating your savings and earnings goals.
If you don’t know where to start, check out some tips here!
DO: Practice adjusting your bad, pandemic sleep habits now, so you can have healthy sleep habits by next year.
Don’t sleep on this tip – literally! Many of us have had horrible nighttime sleep habits that have negatively impacted our moods, energy and overall health. Get started on fixing that now! There are some great tips here, that go over everything from being super intentional about separating your work space from your sleep space, to simply changing the everyday habits that contribute to our bad pandemic sleep. If you want to go as far as trying a sleep app, check our our review on one of them here!
I’ve always been a person to focus more on what I can do, than what I can’t do. With that said, while I’ve created a list on what not to do in preparation of the New Year, I’ve definitely kept it short and straight to the point. After all, the focus is on elaborating on things that help us elevate ourselves, not detailing our “do not’s!”
- DO NOT compare yourself to any other “peak” point of your life pre-pandemic. For many, 2021 will be a year of recovery from 2020.
- DO NOT wait until January 1st to bog yourself down with implementing your goals. You risk getting overwhelmed faster and giving up earlier.
- DO NOT put all of your “new year, new me” goals off for next year.
- DO NOT pressure yourself to fully integrate your new diet plans on the 1st. Instead, start incorporating healthy eating now, with small food swaps.
- DO NOT forget all the good things you learned in 2020, be it through self-reflection, hard lessons, etc. And implement them into the new year.
Get it? Got it? Good!
In the end, I highly recommend anyone who is even the tiniest bit serious about changing themselves, to get started today. When we wait until January to try and be our best selves, most of us will be met with trial and error. After all, old habits die hard, right? That’s the thing though. We create these expectations for the first that are so high, it’s almost as though we’re setting ourselves to fail, by crumbling to the pressure of our mounted goals. Often times, when we don’t get it right in the beginning, and we feel discouraged.
If you feel the are more zero-cost tips tips, missing from the list, please comment and share, below!
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