Life Coach Suggests Rethinking Resolutions to Focus on Habits and Feelings

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A new year brings a chance to reset priorities and make resolutions to improve certain situations like health or finances. And while some joke they resolve to never again set a resolution, most people are ready to jump in.

A poll from IPSOS found nearly two in five Americans have a New Year's resolution planned for 2021.

The top three revolve around physical and financial health. More than half put working out/being more active as number one. Just under half plan to focus on eating healthier and/or finances like saving money, buying a house or paying off debt was just as important.

But how do we stick to a resolution?

Fort Worth-based motivational speaker and life coach Stevie Dawn Carter suggests habits are building blocks to success.

"I would encourage people going through what I call a limbo year, we're not really sure what it's gonna be, I would say set goals around habits you want to form. Maybe it's a habit of working out. Maybe it's a habit of more connection with family. I want to call a family member once a week. Well, that's something you can entirely control and make happen. Can you make your whole family love each other? No, you can't but you can call them once a week. That is on you to do," she said. "Set goals around the habit because habits lead to goals and that's what we really want."

In the case of weight loss, often the top resolution, she offers this advice:

"Can I really control exactly how many pounds I lose? which is usually how we set a goal. 'I'm gonna lose 20-25 pounds.' There's a lot that goes into that," she said. "So, we set a habit goal. I have a habit of I want to work out three times a week. Well, if I have a habit of working out three times a week, will I lose those 20 pounds? Maybe. Maybe not. But I'll be a lot healthier and I'll be a lot fitter than I was before and that's a goal I can control. I can control working out three times a week."

Carter says helping her clients who tend to be "control freaks" find a new sense of peace was a big part of her work in 2020. She also found herself setting "feelings goals instead of measurable goals."

"We hear like smart goals, you have to have 'em and they have to be measurable and all these things. And I thought 'you know what, I am not in control of everything right now.' So for us control freaks, this year was about no longer are in control! And so, I decided I wanted to set goals around how do I feel about things? How did I want to feel about my clients? How did I want to feel about my business? How did I want to feel about my marriage? How did I want to feel about my house? All of those things are 100% in my control. And that meant, that at the end of 2020 when we celebrate New Year's, I'm gonna say I reached all my goals this year. And I think it was because I had to make that adjustment to feeling goals."

Carter, who encourages her clients to chase joy, suggests setting goals for how we feel about certain things can relieve some of the pressure to achieve yet still get us closer to the actual resolutions we seek.

"I think setting up a goal of how you want to feel more peace, more joy, happiness, setting goals even around your health; how do you want to feel about your health not I want to be healthier but I want to feel in control of my health. I want to feel in charge of my health. Those are things you can do," she said. "It's actually been really inspiring this year to have a feeling goal instead of a measured goal."

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