Resolutions are only half the battle. You can make as many New Year’s resolutions as you want, but if you don’t actually care about the outcome, they’ll fall flat. You can say you want to find love, pursue a new career, lose weight, quit smoking. But if you don’t want to put the effort into making it happen, it simply becomes a laundry list of tasks that you never checked off the docket. The resolutions don’t last because you never fully committed to them in the first place. Being slightly less noncommittal about something still doesn’t make you committed. You have to care enough to try.
And that only comes after you’re honest about what you really want. What you’re willing to fight for. What you’re willing to follow through on.
If you want to fall in love in 2016, think about why. Is it because every other person fell in love, got engaged, or created a life in 2015? Is it because you feel like you’ll be behind the pack if you don’t find love before age 26, 36, or 46? Alternately, it could be because you want to have children, and you think you need the right person by your side before you take that step. But be honest with yourself about it — because that’s the only way it’s going to happen for you. If you keep lying to yourself, and saying that you just want to date, and don’t care about having children, you’ll keep dating people who don’t care about starting a family. If you realize that a family is something you want, then you’ll know to only get serious with people whose values are aligned with yours. Or maybe you’ll realize that you want to be a parent, and don’t want to depend on someone else to make that happen.
If you want to change career tracks, find the root of why you want to make a change. Consider whether it is the actual job that you don’t like, or whether you’re in a perfectly good job that’s just framed in a shitty situation. If you want to take the plunge and go out on your own, ask yourself if you are willing to give so much more to your career than you did last year. You can be someone who resigns to not loving their job, and that is truly not a bad thing. Looking at a job as a means to living a good life can be a fulfilling when you’re honest about your goals and have passions outside of work. Making money, and being able to leave work at the office are not luxuries that should be dismissed lightly. So be honest with what changes you want to make to your work life, and why. Understand where you are willing to make sacrifices in your life, and where you are unwilling to compromise.
Getting what you want is so much less difficult once you realize what the fuck it is you really want. And why you want it. Because when you find something you want enough, you’ll chase it. You’ll run after it until you’re exhausted — mentally, physically, emotionally. And even if you don’t get it in 2016 — whether “it” is love, a new job, or a body/mind that is well cared for, you will end the year knowing that you improved. Because improvement is one of the truest measurements of success. Progress is so much more valuable than we realize.
You’ll identify something you truly want when you find something you want to work for. It’s something you know you want to fight for. Even if you’re scared of putting in the effort just to fail, you want to try. When you stop shying away from sending out 30 cover letters, or from having the conversation you need to have with your significant other in order to move forward, that’s when you know it’s something you really want. The ambiguity of the date or time or clock striking midnight on New Year’s Day isn’t what gives you the push to accomplish something in the new year. The only thing that will help you accomplish your goals in 2016 and improve your life is your will to make shit happen. And you’re only driven to accomplish things when you know — through and through and through — that it’s something you really want.