Working on the new you in 2021

Woman working out
Image: Cathy Pham

A new year starts tomorrow, so tonight, a whole bunch of folks will resolve to do better in 2021.

But soon, a whole bunch of those people will have given up on those resolutions. We’ve scoured the internet to find the best tips on making New Year’s resolutions last longer than a few days and, perhaps, lead to long-lasting change.

Limit your resolutions

You might want to lose 30 pounds, make a million dollars and win a gold medal at this summer’s Olympic Games. Chances are, though, you won’t do all three. List your resolutions, and then prioritize them. What’s the most important thing you want to achieve? Once it’s done, move on to the next one. 


“I’m going to be a better person this year” is a popular resolution, but not exactly measurable. Instead, focus on more specific steps that will make you a better person. “I will donate 10 percent more to charity.” “I will volunteer one day a month at a nonprofit.” You get the idea.

Dream big/Start small

It’s OK to resolve to climb Mount Everest in 2021. But, unless you’re already an experienced climber and in ridiculously good shape, maybe start smaller and closer to home. This concept applies to a lot of resolutions. Take baby steps, as the saying goes.

Pick a start date

There is no law that says resolutions have to start on Jan. 1. For any number of reasons, pushing the launch date of your 2021 resolution back a bit might make sense. Say, going to the gym on a regular basis. Gyms are closed in Philly for at least another couple of weeks, so maybe the resolution to get into shape is put on the back burner for a few more days.  

Overcome missteps/refocus

Chances are you’re going to mess up somewhere along the way to achieving your resolution. You’re going to eat a cheesesteak. You’re going to sneak a cigarette. Keep in mind that it’s only one step back after taking many steps forward. Just start moving forward again.

Reward yourself

Making progress on a resolution should make you feel good about yourself, so when you achieve a milestone, celebrate. If you’re trying to lose weight, your reward should not be a pile of doughnuts, but maybe a new book or article of clothing – something that keeps you motivated to keep going.

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