Hoping To Change Your Life? Be Careful.

Can you get there without beating yourself up?

Sophie Lucido Johnson
10 min readJan 6


All illustrations and photos by the author.

I was 23 when I liked a salad for the first time. And we’ll come back to that.

The honeymoon phase of a New Year’s Resolution can be an incredibly happy and instructive time. Personally, I love the New Relationship Energy (NRE) that comes from setting and initially following through on a just-born goal. And at the same time, I know that the longest this chemistry between myself and Doing Certain Chores on Certain Days of the Week (my current goal) will only last until the first wrench gets thrown into my schedule, which will probably happen in the third week of January. In March, I’ll look back wistfully at this time, eyeing the sauce-crusted stovetop and remembering how optimistic I was that every Thursday the kitchen would be spotless.

I tend to advise people not to get too ambitious with a January goal, because Nature is against you in January. It isn’t your fault that it’s still so dark! NRE has some powerful chemistry, but it’s no match for Winter. Winter doesn’t care that you wanted to have six-pack abs by Summer. Winter doesn’t give two figs about anything Summer-related. Winter is going to be cold and dark, and so what if you were going to go for a 45-minute walk at dawn every day? “HAHAHA,” says Winter.

But people make goals anyway, and so do I. I have a pretty good track record with my goals! I often achieve them — this, despite being philosophically anti-productivity, anti-any kind of “hack,” and definitely not a perfectionist. And achieving a goal, or being on the road to achieving one, feels really good, and that good feeling usually makes every part of my life a little easier. Maybe this is not true for you, and in that case, I want to know more about you and the things that DO make you feel better in a long term kind of way, so we can talk more about that at a later date. But in this, the first week of January, I want to tell you my three-pronged method for advancing with your goals. Let’s dive in.