The Best New Year's Resolution You Can Make
The New Year is marked by many things: fresh starts, new exercise routines, goals to eat healthier, and promises to make better versions of ourselves. Many people, myself included, spend much of the remaining weeks of December excitedly making lists of resolutions. Our lists include guidelines such as:
· Eat less junk food
· Get more sleep
· Be more organized
· Stop procrastinating
· Focus on what’s important
· Pay off debt
The beginning of a new year represents a universal opportunity to improve our lives and those of our family and friends. However, for many, this hopeful time is often quickly followed by let down and disappointment when we don’t live up to the expectations we set for ourselves.
In general, when we make absolute statements about what we are going to do, it sets us up for failure from the beginning. The reality is that we aren’t going to be able to eat healthy meals, exercise, or go to bed at a reasonable hour every day. Just as it takes time to build negative habits, it takes just as long, if not longer to establish positive ones. It’s unrealistic to think that we can change who we are now into who we want to become overnight.
But this New Year, there is one resolution we can make that encompasses all of our hopes and wishes, plus more.
We can resolve to live our most authentic self, whatever that may entail.
Our most authentic self includes the version of us that succeeds as well as the version that fails. Rather than making rigid lists of all the things you want to change about yourself, set this mantra, or one similar to it, which enables you to focus on fulfilling your potential, while also embracing the setbacks that come when trying to achieve your goals.
Often when we fail at accomplishing a set goal, it ends up affecting our self-esteem and how we perceive our abilities to achieve that goal. If failure happens enough, which it most often does, it can end up stifling our motivation to stay committed to our resolutions. (You can read more on the science behind this here.)
All of this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t have goals and objectives to work towards. Instead, it’s a call to action to reframe how we approach the New Year, so that we have a better chance at succeeding.
We can still strive to be healthier, more organized, happier versions of ourselves, but when we take away the inflexible specifics of how we get to our desired results, we are more likely to accomplish our goals.
So if you are someone like me, who has made lists of concrete resolutions and failed each year in the past, maybe it’s time we try a different approach. Make a resolution for 2017, whether with family, friends, or coworkers, to honor the person you are now, imperfections and all, so that you may allow yourself to grow into the person you wish to become.