As I sat down for food with some friends from home, one of them said we should go around the circle and say our New Year’s resolutions. We moved from person to person as each of us said one after the other that we don’t have any. Even though this surprised me initially, thinking about it now makes sense. We’re the generation that laughs at these resolutions many people come up with year after year.
It’s been said that the busiest day of the year for any gym is the day after New Year’s. Plastered all over Instagram and Facebook are “New Year, New Me” posts and motivation is at an all time high, for a few days or maybe a few weeks. But we’ve grown up watching the adults around us attempt to make these drastic changes each new year — and seen it fall through all too many times. It’s difficult for us to believe that anyone actually succeeds and follows through on these resolutions. To be honest, I think the reason we don’t have any ourselves is because we don’t believe in them anymore.
I will be the first to say, however, that this mindset isn’t exactly the healthiest to hold. Making a change can be very useful and maybe even necessary sometimes. However, I think the key word here is drastic — the adults we see are attempting to make drastic changes in their lives. And drastic is hard. Resolutions get thrown around like “I’m going to work out every day and finally look like Jillian Michaels!” or “This is going to be the year that I make millions like Mark Zuckerberg!”. The problem with these is that there probably isn’t a strong (or any) foundation in place to make such change happen, plus they focus too much on the big picture and forget the small steps to getting there.
Working out every day is possible, but for most people, going to the gym once a week and then increasing the number of days you go as the year goes on is a better way to approach it. Most things you can’t (or shouldn’t) quit cold turkey — it might work better to you wean yourself off of it. That company you are planning to build this year and also make millions off of at the same time? Unless your idea takes off immediately, chances are that that might take a few years. But getting started on building and then improving your business? Well, that’s a more approachable goal. If you’re going to make a New Year’s resolution, going the baby step route will get to you to the place you want to go to though uses a very different (and more useful) energy.
Focusing on small steps to reach a long-term goal is one way of looking at New Year’s resolutions, but here’s another idea as well that I’ve started using in the past few years. I usually can’t remember my resolutions for the life of me but I distinctly remember last year’s because I actually followed through. What helped? I kept it more general.
Yes, it may seem cheesy, but my resolution was simply to be happy as best as I could. By keeping it general, I was able to create my own mini goals throughout the year that fit into my overarching resolution for the year. I told myself that I could work towards something so long as it would bring me happiness instead of focusing on completing things because I felt as if I “should.” And it worked.
Maybe it sounds like I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. Truth is, I do believe in them, but I believe they are evolving. I’m thinking we need to rid ourselves of resolutions that don’t serve us properly, leaving us disappointed in the year and ourselves. Instead, we could realize that smaller goals will help us actually get where we want to go. The beginning of a new year can be an easy time of motivation for many of us, though every day can be such if we focus on our happiness and a baby step toward what we want in that day (which will get us pretty far for the year!) as our resolution instead of something huge and drastic.