Happy New Year! Before you sigh and begrudge your New Year’s resolutions, think of this season as a chance to start anew. Yes, there’s a letdown when holiday decorations get boxed, the sleigh bells ring no more, and there’s no longer an excuse to buy that shiny new thing “because it’s the holidays.” In fact, the horrible feeling of buyer’s remorse may start to creep in as soon as January bills reveal the recklessness of overspending. But it’s not the end of the world.
How about transforming that sigh of regret into a sigh of relief that you survived yet another year? If you’re reading this, your eyesight is intact. Even if you did buy things you regret, that means you had some kind of income to begin with. Just because you made bad decisions last year doesn’t mean you can’t rectify things and make good decisions this year.
So many people fail to fulfill their previous New Year’s resolutions that they vow to never make one again. Others happily make them, regrettably break them, and gloomily move on with life. Wouldn’t it be nice to make resolutions that are doable, enjoy the act of fulfilling these self-made promises, and improve your outlook on life? Remember, you are the creator of your own path. Avoid making insanely ambitious resolutions that will most likely lead you down a senseless path of disappointment when you fall short. This year, vow to do something you just might enjoy instead!
People think resolutions must be based on deprivation: LOSE weight; GIVE UP sweets; STOP swearing; DISCARD clothes that are never worn. If you rearrange your thought process, you can rearrange your year. Try giving yourself one resolution instead of making an entire list. If you make good on that one, you have success! Instead of focusing on your bad habits, give yourself reasonable acts of goodness: HOLD HANDS with your partner at dinner; WALK around the park instead of sitting at the computer; SPEAK kindly to cousin so-and-so; GIVE one piece of clothing away for each new piece you purchase.
Don’t think your resolutions have to be painful. One year, I vowed to drink more red wine. Every trainer and nutritionist I know reminded me about the benefits and good qualities of red wine – as a white wine lover, this was a happy challenge. Whoever said resolutions had to be a chore?
A New Year’s resolution is a present you give to yourself. In fact, try something fun next Christmas after emptying the stockings from the mantle. Have everyone write down their New Year’s resolutions and drop them into the empty stockings before packing them away. No one else has to read them, and your resolution will remain nestled at the bottom of your beloved stocking for a year. Everyone will forget all about their notes until the stockings make their appearance once again. You’ll be surprised and delighted at what you read, and the note will remind you of what was going through your mind and heart when you wrote it. Depending on the year you had, rejoice in fulfilling your resolution or encourage yourself to do better next time.
In the end, don’t take resolutions too seriously. Give yourself credit for surviving another year, and focus on the promises you did keep. You may not get that shiny new thing you wanted so badly, but if you’re lucky, you might be rewarded with peace of mind instead.
Abella Carroll is a freelance writer