As the new year approaches, we are presented with the opportunity to turn over a new leaf. Whether it’s vowing to hit the gym more than once a month or cutting ties with the toxic ex who keeps crawling back, this is our time to finally make changes for the better.
However, what if we looked past the surface of the stereotypical resolutions, and instead focused on committing to something meaningful? What if we spent just a few minutes out of our day to be self-aware, leading us to slowly but surely find the steps to reaching overall contentment?
Here are 4 basic New Year’s resolutions that we often make, and what we really should be aiming for:
Basic resolution #1: “I want to lose weight.”
This is a great idea in theory, but it often loses its value due to the consistent focus on numbers. Solely committing to weight loss frequently results in frustration at lack of immediate progress, and potentially giving up altogether.
Instead, simply make a resolution to get healthier. Cut out the junk food, and squeeze in more productive workouts – but don’t become obsessed with the numbers that just won’t budge. When we shift the emphasis from our weight to our overall health and happiness, we’ll inevitably feel more satisfied with the results.
Basic Resolution #2: “This is the year that I’ll finally be in a great relationship.”
Stalking cute couples on Instagram again, as you down an entire bottle of Merlot? Well, I don’t know why no one has jumped at the chance to date you – because that is HOT.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting a relationship – when it’s for the right reasons. It’s important to be honest with ourselves when recognizing that we want someone out of pure insecurity or loneliness. Instead, we should seek a relationship because we’re at a good place in our lives, and we wouldn’t mind having someone to share that with.
So let’s cut the “forever alone” act, and commit to putting ourselves out there within reason. There’s no reason to avoid the world and get all mopey for being single, but there’s also no need to go out for the night with the mission being to find someone. You might have heard that “people often find the right person when they’re not looking” and called BS, but there might be some truth to it.
Maybe this year we can change our mentality from “I want a relationship” to “I want to be genuinely happy – and if I happen to find someone along the way, that’s just an added bonus.”
Basic Resolution #3: “I will stop stressing about the little things, and just enjoy life.”
We all experience stress at some point in our lives – and it can be difficult to manage. However, it’s too often that we notice the stress and get angry with ourselves for letting it get to us. We’re blaming ourselves for being prone to stress out, rather than pinpointing exactly what it is that’s causing us to feel this way.
So instead of vowing to eliminate stress altogether, aim to be more cognizant of the stressors in your life. Stress will always find its way to present itself, and we can’t simply press a button and make it disappear. However, what we can do is recognize the triggers – and small progress is still progress.
Basic Resolution #4: “I want to learn something new.”
Whether it’s taking a foreign language class or just deciding to read more books in our spare time, it’s always important to expand our knowledge. Especially since many of us have careers that limit us to one specific area, it’s critical to remind yourself to gain exposure elsewhere.
The problem with this goal is that we often make irrational resolutions, not fully considering the magnitude of the activity, or how time-consuming it may be.
Instead of making grand plans and committing to something huge, we can start small. This can be done by applying a few brain-power activities to our every day routine. It can be as simple as doing a crossword puzzle on the train home from work, or downloading a podcast on a topic we’ve been meaning to learn more about.
We all have busy schedules, but it’s easier than it may seem to sneak in some extra knowledge here and there. Plus, the best lessons are often the ones we don’t plan on getting. That’s just another way that finding something special when we’re not looking may not be the worst theory after all.