Does it ever seem like you’ll never actually keep New Year’s resolutions? We’ve all been there year after year with the same old, stereotypical goals. I’ve been half-heartedly promising myself that I will start hitting the gym and eating kale since like 2011… and here we are. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
And while eating healthy is always a good idea, that’s not the kind of resolution we’re here to talk about.
One of the most common reasons people don’t meet their resolutions is because we’re not always making the right ones for the right reasons. Before you can adopt new behaviors, you have to train your brain to think about things in a new way. So let’s dive deeper into what this means, and how you should be refocusing your resolutions.
Focus On What Really Matters
At their core, resolutions center around one common factor: happiness.
You want to lose weight because you believe it will lead to a confidence boost, which will in turn make you happier. You want to stop drinking soda because you believe it will help you live longer, which alleviates health-related stress and therefore makes you happier. See the point?
So let’s take the notion that whatever the means, happiness is our main end, and think about the most direct route. What are the things that make us happiest in life?
The answer is threefold: our own self worth, our relationships with others, and a sense of fulfillment and purpose. These three factors should be your primary focus as you plan for a happier new year.
Now, let’s break down just how to do that.
Commit to Self Care
The most important resolution you can make this year is to love yourself with no conditions, no strings attached.
That may seem like a broad ask, but there’s actually a clear starting point: We really, really need to stop putting ourselves down.
Think back to one of the most scarily accurate scenes of our classic fave, Mean Girls, when The Plastics sit around in Regina’s room and talk about all the things they don’t like about themselves.
Truth time: I have engaged in this exact same behavior before while getting ready with my friends. Sadly, I think most of us have, and I think we almost forget that we do it? But the damage we’re inflicting upon our psyches over time is real.
Now, I get it. It’s hard to stop having negative thoughts, wishing for smaller pores, etc., but there are ways you can try to stomp it out before it gets overwhelming. At the very least, we can make a commitment in 2018 to stop verbalizing it! Train your mind to recognize these thoughts. Then, instead of validating that negativity by speaking it aloud, think instead of something you love about yourself.
Here are some other great self care tactics to explore in 2018:
- Cut yourself some slack and stop comparing yourself to others. Perfection is not real!
- Stay on top of your mental health. Talk to your friends and family, or a professional. End the stigma of therapy.
- Invest in physical self care whenever you can, because a bubble bath or massage can do real wonders (get more ideas from our guide to treating yo’self)
Strengthen Your Relationships
As you are practicing kindness toward yourself, you also need to extend that out to others.
One of the greatest sources of happiness in the human experience is having healthy close relationships. And according to a Ted Talk by psychologist Susan Pinker, it may just extend your lifespan. If you wanna get technical about it, the time you invest into positive relationships with those you love will increase your happiness ROI tenfold. <- Legit fact. Probably.
Some great ways you can strengthen your relationships are to A) listen more, and B) let people know how much you appreciate them.
Be the person your friends and family can depend on when they need advice or a good venting session. Send them surprise texts or gifts that say, “hey by the way, you are so special to me, and I’m glad you’re in my life.”
Pursue Your Passion
Another key aspect of personal growth and happiness is to pursue your passions. Think about what fulfills you in life and makes you happiest, whether it’s studying history, writing, lifting, cross-stitching, etc. and try to grow within your craft a little more every day.
Even if you do this thing as a career, it’s important to practice it outside of work. Because no matter how much you love it, it can start to lose some of it’s magic if you don’t do it just for yourself every once in a while. It’s kind of like how in high school, when your English teacher asks you to read a novel that you would have otherwise loved to read in your spare time, you now groan at the thought of it.
For example, if you’re a photographer, maybe try to take a minute to a new picture of something beautiful in your every day life that aren’t part of any assignment or campaign. And for that matter, if you’re an accountant but your side passion is photography, take a photo of something beautiful in your life every day!
Even if you can only manage minor changes sometimes, like reading articles on the topic or having a goal setting session, do that. It’s true what they say, enough small acts add up to something very powerful.
Remember to Give Yourself a Break!
I promise this isn’t as contradictory as it’s about to sound: It’s okay if you don’t live into your resolution every single day. Seriously, don’t beat yourself up about it!
Some days it might be especially hard to feel confident. Some days you might feel overwhelmed with your own things, and aren’t able to be a good listener for your loved ones. Some days may just be too busy to devote time toward your passion. We all have these days, and dwelling on your missteps will not bring you happiness.
Do your best and learn to let go of the rest. 💕