People often joke that a New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.
If you type “most popular new year’s resolutions” into the Google search engine, you will notice that most resolution lists stay relatively static from year to year.
Are we convinced that only a small handful of the same determinations will transform our level of happiness? Or are we just becoming less creative?
The most popular resolutions include, but are not limited to:
Drink Less Alcohol
Get a Better Education
Get a Better Job
Manage Debt & Save Money
These resolutions sound mundane and cliché. In fact, they don’t even sound like resolutions. They sound like goals that almost everybody strives to reach every single day, or at some point in their lives.
If you really want to make positive changes in your life, change the way you think by implementing the following, more unique resolutions:
1. Reevaluate your relationships. Accept only what you DESERVE. Take a look around you. Which friends do you interact with on a consistent basis? Are they supportive, generous, and understanding, or do they often make statements characterized by comparison, jealousy, or doubt. Like I said previously, people can be supportive and loving, but they can also be cruel and condescending. The moment you develop self-respect, you will begin to eliminate the people who disrespect or doubt you. Friendship is a two-way street, and people should be as selective about their friendships as they are about their spouses. In 2012, uplift yourself with the spirited people who inspire you to succeed and persist.
2. Motivate yourself. DAILY. Have you ever sat through a commencement speech, mesmerized by the speaker who you were convinced would change your life forever? Or have you ever read a book and paused because the last sentence you just read completely redefined your mindset? Just for a moment, you think “wow, I’m going to start thinking this way from now on!” and you envision a better version of yourself in 5 years that you will grow into. The thoughts can get grandiose. Within weeks, every goal you set for yourself seems unattainable. You tell yourself that eventually, you will have it all figured out. And eventually gets closer and closer every day, and you’re still standing in the same spot, wondering why your motivation has dwindled so drastically.
The answer, once again, is to motivate yourself daily. Read books, watch movies—watch the news. Interact with positive people and learn from their stories. If they say something you admire, write it down. Allow positive words and affirmations to play a pivotal role in your success. In 2012, be constantly inspired.
3. Practice being a skeptic, not a cynic. I stole this concept from Pulitzer Prize-Winner Thomas Friedman, who wrote:
Skepticism is about asking questions, being dubious, being wary, not being gullible but always being open to being convinced of a new fact or angle. Cynicism is about already having the answers—or thinking you do—answers about a person or an event. The skeptic says, “I don’t think that’s true; I’m going to check it out.” The cynic says, “I know that’s not true. It couldn’t be. I’m going to slam him.”
Cynics say no to the world. They not only doubt, but completely close themselves off from people. Skepticism fuels creativity. It fuels you to inquire, to constantly seek knowledge. And that way, you will always be ahead of the game, because you will always be learning. In 2012, be a curious skeptic.
4. Nurture your negative feelings, then MOVE ON. Face it, you’re not always in a good mood. You have good days, you have bad days. Your life, like anyone else’s, will be like a roller-coaster forever. In fact, it always has been. You’ve experienced highs and lows—feelings of elation and feelings of despair. But are you brushing off the negative feelings or are you nurturing them? If you feel guilt, for example do you brush it off, or question and nurture it? This is an important distinction.
Treat your negative feelings like wounds that need healing. If you scrape and pick at your scab, it will start bleeding again, but if you nurture the wound and take care of it well, you will experience minimal scarring. Negative feelings are like wounds. Don’t let them bleed through tomorrow’s joys. Address them at the brink, and move on. You can’t continue driving if you keep looking at a car-crash in your rear-view mirror. In 2012, identify and nurture your negative feelings before they consume you.
5. Reach out to someone who could use you as a Role Model. Most people are reluctant to seek help when they’re down. In much the same way, they are reluctant to ask for advice when things are going well. But everyone needs a role model to look up to and seek advice from, and at some point, everyone needs to be a role model to someone else. Knowing that somebody looks up to you and wants to follow in your footsteps will encourage you to always be your best self—to develop an impeccable character and set a standard that you will always strive to live up to. In 2012, set an example for someone else, in order to bring out the best in yourself.
And if your number one goal this year is to be successful, always remember the wise words of Bob Dylan: “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.”