Last week the world celebrated not only the start of a new year, but the start of a new decade. New years’ celebrations are always an interesting time for me, as they tend to bring with them a unique form of reflection that people like to share with the world through social media. You know what I’m talking about… A week before every new year the memes start, then the yearly recaps, then the hopes and dreams for the new year. Then we do this thing, almost habitually, called new years’ resolutions. Giving ourselves a series of changes or goals that we would like to accomplish in the new years. Whether habits we want to drop, or new things we want to incorporate into our lives, New Years’ resolutions in theory, are tremendously important. They give you an opportunity to self reflect and seek opportunities to grow, to learn, to become better in some way.
The issue I’ve always had with New Years’ resolutions, and this may be a result of my lack of discipline, is that somehow they tend to wear off. I’ll feel great about the new decisions I’ve made in my life for the first few weeks, maybe even for a couple of months, but if you asked me 10 months later what my new years’ resolutions were, I don’t know that I’d be able to answer that. This seemed like a waste to me, as in reality I know that whatever I had come to as my new years’ resolutions were probably extremely healthy for me. I asked myself why. Why is it that I could be so adamant about making a lifestyle change and yet doing so with nearly no longevity? I think the answer lies in the nature of how we perceive new years’ resolutions. “2020 will be my year” “2020 I’m going to eat healthy” “2020 I’m going to meet someone” …. In a strange way the very direct “2020 goal” oriented mentality actually is quite limiting, as it somehow gives us this false belief that it HAS to get done in the upcoming year.
This year I’m trying something different (I know, that’s kinda like a new year’s resolution… but stick with me). Instead of committing to actual tangible goals, I’m committing to learning from who I am. I’m committing to the person I got to know last year in myself. I’m committing to growing. These are things that I want to commit to way beyond 2020. It’s a subtle difference, I know, but it’s one that will give you a broader outlook on your life, as opposed to a hyper focused goal oriented direction. The thing about making big picture changes in your life is that they actually occur despite the distractions that arise. For example, committing to growth means that even if 2020 is a terrible year for you, you are committed to learning from it. This approach will help your character progress not in 2020, but THROUGH 2020 and beyond. That to me that is the most useful promise you can make to yourself. To become conscious of your reactions to how life comes at you, is to take responsibility for how you progress. In a sense, following this approach can help you truly take control of your life.
I’d like to emphasize that this is just my opinion – I know there are many that have very effectively turned their new years’ resolutions into great personal growth and success and for that I truly have loads of respect. For the ones who might not quite believe in them, however, I recommend trying this new approach.
Commit to something for it’s process, not for it’s destination.
Wishing you all a happy new year!