New Year, Same You: Because Real Happiness Doesn’t Come From Resolutions

Fernando Brasil
Fernando Brasil

We have all grown accustomed to the concept of “bettering yourself” upon the arrival of a new year. It symbolizes the opportune time to start fresh and tackle our goals, and it’s ingrained in our minds that we need to transform certain aspects of ourselves to get there. But do we?

Typical New Year’s resolutions consist of things such as losing weight, falling in love, or receiving a promotion at work. While there is nothing wrong with these aspirations themselves, we often approach them incorrectly – mostly because we focus so much on the idea of change itself, and not enough on how we truly want to feel when it’s all said and done.

Sometimes the “new year, new me” mentality can actually end up doing more harm than good, and here’s why:

1. The idea of “beginning again” will often lead to feeling overwhelmed and disappointed.

Maybe you accomplished your goal of losing 15 pounds, and you are feeling on top of the world. Your skin is glowing, the compliments are flowing, and you are #killinit in that new cocktail dress.

But then all of a sudden, a strange thought begins to creep its way into your mind – It might be something like “What was so wrong with me before?” or “Why did I feel the urge to change SO badly?” Then you begin to question whether or not you truly feel better about yourself now. That sweet satisfaction starts to feel a lot more like a sense of emptiness.

This is why it’s important to focus less on the fact that you’re changing yourself – and just the fact that you’re doing something good for your well-being. A little bit of a transformation is inevitable n these situations – but don’t convince yourself that you weren’t good enough before.

2. Sometimes a resolution can turn into an obsession.

Perhaps you are insistent about a certain relationship working out – you want it so badly that you end up convincing yourself that everything is perfect, even though you know deep down it’s not. You say things you don’t mean, and agree to things you don’t want to – all because of the fact that you got caught up in the idea of the person, rather than the person themselves. Therefore, you forgot to take the time to actually let yourself feel.

These are the times when we get so fixated on an objective that we forget to take a breath and just be present. That’s when it becomes less of a resolution and more of an obsession. Eventually, you’re realize that you’re trying to force something that just isn’t there – no matter how much you would like it to be.

3. Happiness results from self-acceptance, not acceptance from others.

All of your friends are envious of your “cool” job, but you can’t help but hate it. The long hours are affecting your health, you’re vastly underpaid for how much you actually do, and you just know that you would be so much happier somewhere else.

Yet, guess what? You’re still bragging about it on social media. You’re Snapchatting your conference adventures abroad, pretending like you’re having the time of your life – even though it’s exactly the opposite. You’re aiming to move up in the company and even talking about how you’ll be CEO one day – although secretly, that’s the last thing you would ever want.

Resolutions are supposed to be about creating a better “you” – but this loses its value over time, especially because we feel good when others are under the impression that our life is perfectly in place. Praise from others is nice for a while, but eventually that satisfaction begins to fade. The truth is, you won’t be happy until you are completely honest with yourself about what you want.

So whatever resolutions you may have made for the year, don’t let go of them completely – just be cognizant of why you made them. Don’t get so swept up in the idea of “bettering yourself” that you lose sight of who you are – because once that happens, self-awareness is just one more resolution you’ll be adding to your list. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Insightful yet Brutally Honest.

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