The typical foundation of New Year’s resolutions is change: lose weight, read more, cut fake friends off, get a promotion, start your side business, meditate daily, save more money, and so on. However, change can be intimidating, it can feel scary and uncomfortable, but above all, glorifying change might be sending mixed signals to your mind.
Besides feeding the narrative that your life is not good enough, resolutions just don’t work. According to the US News and World Report, 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. So why is it that even resolutions with the best intentions don’t stick?
In many cases, the resolutions we set aren’t actually what we value. Every single day, we make thousands of choices. Many of these choices are made based on a subconscious scale of increasing joy and reducing pain. If your resolutions aren’t increasing joy, you won’t make daily choices in the resolution’s favor.
My resolution this year? No more resolutions. I’m a huge fan of growing and becoming my best self, but can’t a boy resolve to keep growing any time of year? Instead of making the same old resolutions, dedicate 2021 to becoming happier, healthier, and better (because we’re growing all the time, not just at the beginning of the New Year).
What to do Instead of making New Year resolutions
Create a list of things you’re looking forward to this year
Do you have a friend’s wedding, a special anniversary, a big life change, graduation, or a fun birthday celebration? What about the little things like a new season of your favorite TV show or a list of books you want to get through?
Record the lessons you learned in 2020
Whether in your career and life changes or just psychologically, you can probably see a big difference between your present and where you were last year. In comparison to where you were last decade, the change is even more monumental. So what’s different? What lessons have you learned, and in what ways have you grown that you’re proud of? Celebrate how far you’ve come, knowing you’re doing better than you think.
Create a list of what you love about yourself and your life
Make a list of everything you love about yourself, the ability to laugh even when you’re sad, or the hard work ethic that your younger self would be proud of. Also, record what’s going well in your life. Are you close to your siblings, or have the career you always wanted? Goal-setting is important for growth, but what’s the point of making goals if we can’t feel happy once we reach them?
What are you doing this year instead of making New Year’s resolutions?