Need a sure way to feel bad about yourself? Want to guarantee a failure? Well, all you’ve got to do is envision a better you, the unattainable perfect you, and outline a list of New Year’s resolutions inspired by this “super human” in your dreams. One resolution isn’t enough—you’ll need a list of all the things you waited until 2011’s end to tackle. Be ambitious, add some extra stress to the new year and leave yourself only a few short weeks to give your life a complete makeover. Demand perfection; slip-ups are unacceptable.
With this perspective, it’s no wonder the new year ushers in frustrations and setbacks. No one ever attains all they set out to achieve. After all, January is not a magic time where hard work becomes easy or discipline comes naturally. Trying to lose twenty pounds during a time when party trays prosper and sweets are plentiful is ridiculous. Let’s not kid ourselves. Do we really have to be skinny to be content? Be happy and fill out those jeans—tastefully, of course.
We all know—and doctors concur—that smoking is very bad for you. So, maybe it’s a good idea to stop smoking, when you’re ready. If you’re not fully committed to quitting and your heart’s not in it, you’re setting yourself up for failure. And whether you resolve to limit your cocktails or rev up the housecleaning, reserve the resolutions for things that matter most to you at the end of the day.
Crowding your list with things that others think you should do will only hinder the goals you value most. Just because your mom thinks you should buy fewer shoes and save more cash, doesn’t mean you need to half-heartedly dedicate your year to it. Commit yourself to something you are already passionate about. If you’re investing your personal resources of energy, time and effort, they might as well be directed towards your aspirations. What others deem worthwhile shouldn’t matter when you’re planning your future or formulating your resolutions.
Let’s do what makes our heart happy and provides peace through the tough days. Have you yet to get your stress level under control? Shed the inhibitions and fears: just make an appointment with that counselor you’ve heard about. If you know you should teach piano instead of math, find a way to make it happen. If you’ve always wanted to be a graphic designer, do it! Make researching educational programs or enlisting a professional for advice your resolution. Small steps are small successes and the beginning of seeing your goal as a reality. Steve Jobs didn’t create all those cool Apple products in one day.
This year, let’s spice things up a bit. The same-old song is played out. Let’s be inventive and have fun with it. As an experienced resolution-setter and subsequently, a resolution-breaker, I have learned that success lies in something I haven’t tried. I’m going to make my resolutions as motivating as I can. I want to get in shape but I plan on skipping the gym and buying a hula hoop to achieve my goal. I may throw in some yoga because I’d rather be “chill” than jump all over the place. I plan to save money, too, but not with the intention of paying ahead on my bills. I am going to buy something completely unnecessary, after I buy a house of my very own. Oh, and I plan to buy more lottery tickets.
I recognize the value of setting resolutions, but I don’t think you should make yourself miserable with restrictions, clouding a time of celebration and renewal. Committing to a passion we typically neglect, instead of making a list of impossible and irrational goals, will make for more contentment throughout the year. As for me and my new year, I’m going to do something good for myself and I hope you will join me. In the end, it all comes down to you. Plan your year with happiness in mind, thankful that you are getting another shot at self-fulfillment. Reign in the courage to change your course in life. Not a course determined by society and the mainstream, but the one you know you should be on. There’s no time like the present because another New Year will be here before you know it. Be courageous, daring and be you. And hopefully karma and vibes of only the good kind will follow you in 2012.