When I was younger the idea of a New Year’s resolution seemed like a clean slate, a brand new start, a promise that things might become better.
What a buncha crap. . . . You’re probably going to see multiple blog posts on How to Start Your New Year With a Blast! . . . or How To Stay On Top of Your Resolutions.
I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions anymore than Tupac returning from the grave.
The correct word, as Jeff Goins states, is resolve.
The problem with resolutions, from personal experience and informal research, is that people never ever stick to them. They say all the things they want to do and accomplish, and come nightfall, those resolutions seem as promising as the drunken words of a fool.
The ugly and beautiful truth is: resolutions will not revitalize your life, and chances are, you are not going to stick to them. You’ll go to the gym, spend a couple hundred bucks on a new membership . . . you’ll go for a few weeks, maybe even months, and you will quit. Why? Because you probably did and said the same thing last year.
Instead, my suggestion is to realize what you have and not pretend like you’re starting a new life. Just because it’s the first of some dreadful and cold month doesn’t mean that life will start handing you opportunities and chances.
You are in control of how 2012 will be. Not chance. Not resolutions. Not money.
All of us are in a different situation in a different time and space. What may work for me may not work for you, and vice versa.
But the year 2011 was one of the most unpromising, daring, and fulfilling years of my life — and I remember not having any resolutions for it.
I’m going to do the same with 2012, and 2013 . . . and so on.
If you decide to throw away your New Year resolutions, like I did, this is what I would do differently:
- Develop habits. Leo Babauta from Zen Habits will tell you to drop all your goals. Although goals may motivate you to take action, the system in itself is flawed. When we achieve goals we feel successful and on top of the world; but when we fail, the fall is much harder. We begin to blame ourselves, question our values and life, and what we did and didn’t do. The stress that comes with failure in setting up a picture-perfect goal is demoralizing and sometimes hard to recover from. My advice: if you want to do something, such as going to the gym, then make it a habit. Make it a habit that you love doing. Don’t aim for getting to a specific weight number — just go to the gym because you love it, because it makes you feel amazing, because you enjoy it.
- Stop saying you’re going to find the time to do something. To say that you’re going to find time to do something, you’re stating that the time is lost. Time is indifferent, and it will go on with or without you. The truth is, you have plenty of time — more than enough, actually — to do what you love. I realized in my life that If I wanted to pursue something, or spend my time differently and wisely, I had to sacrifice some time in my activities — such as going on Facebook or Twitter for no reason. I also realized that when I never was able to make time for something, it was because I truly didn’t want to do it. In my mind it sounded and felt like a good idea, but I’m a realist, and there are times when you have to confess that some things may not be what youreally want to do. The result of you not doing it, holding it off for a long time, repeating to yourself week after week that you’ll finally get to it, should tell you that maybe its something you don’t want to do — your heart isn’t in it.
- Self-educate. There was a time in my life when the only time I would ever read books and studied different subjects was when I was told to do so — and that meant being in school. 2011 was the year that I began going out of my way studying different subjects, reading all kinds of books and magazines. I began educating myself; I taught myself how to write well, how to blog, and picked up a whole new understanding of the internet and how things work. It has become liberating, fulfilling, and it continues to grow. Not only did it help me be more knowledgeable, but it has helped me find my passion. Education should never stop, even after you’re done with college. The brain is like any muscle, and if we stop exercising it, it will wither away. Learn to have education as a top priority, and really begin to teach yourself new things this year. Read many books, many magazines and articles, and experiment in ways like a child would.
- Play to your strengths. What are your greatest strengths and features? What do you love doing, and how do the results motivate you? On my quest for writing and blogging, there were many roadblocks that I faced that were slowing me down. Instead of dwelling on them, I moved on. I moved on to my strengths, focused on them, and played the part. My issue was trying to find the time to write. What hours was I most productive? When was the best time to write? For my situation, it was just a matter of sitting down and writing. There was no specific hour, no specific time. Just sit down and write. Doing this has lead me to more writing, more drafts, and better results. I didn’t dwell on the fact that I had nothing to write about — I just did it. I didn’t dwell on the fact that a lot of other people wrote about a specific topic — I just wrote about it in my own unique style. I didn’t dwell on the fact that I didn’t know grammar — I just kept going, kept reading, and kept writing. A weakness is only a weakness when you allow it to be. If that weakness does not exist in your head, then it was never there.
- Make many mistakes. Like Steve Job’s said: “Stay foolish.” This year, 2011, I made more mistakes than I thought I could handle. But I recovered from those mistakes, I learned many things, and I never looked back. I made more than a handful of mistakes with my writing, guest posting, blogging, money, and school work. I learned to recover from those mistakes, saw where my strengths and weaknesses were, and I took necessary action. I don’t remember who said it, and I can’t seem to find it but I know I read it somewhere, that mistakes are greater lessons than any great book. It’s so true. Don’t make a mistake and just dismiss it — that’s foolish. If you realize you made a mistake, try to find where you went wrong, and make sure you don’t ever do it again. Once you have learned your lesson, just know that you’re now better than yesterday.
- Stop doing what you don’t want to do. This is hard to commit to because it interferes with “being an adult.” There are things in life that we sometimes have to do — as though it seems. 2011 was the beginning of the year where I stopped doing things I just didn’t want to do — and with good reason, not because I was lazy. I realized that when I forced myself to do things when my heart wasn’t in it, the outcome was terrible and weak. “If it’s something worth doing, its worth doing right,” as Hunter S. Thompson would say. If there are things in your life that you know you don’t want or have to do . . . then don’t do it. Just make sure you’re being real with yourself and the reason why you don’t want to do it. For example, there was a time when my friends always went out, partied, drank, etc. After a while I got sick of it, but I also enjoyed the company of being with my buddies. Sooner or later, it felt like my body was just saying stop, what are you doing, why are you doing this to me? I had to learn how to say no to them. Some accepted the answer, and others started thinking crazy and wild stories. Regardless, it has made me happier, and I have accomplished more by saying no to things I don’t want to do, and focused my time on doing things I loved.
These are just 6 things I would begin doing differently after you’ve thrown out your resolutions.
People say that people don’t change, but I don’t believe that. I have witnessed myself change in this fast and forgotten year. A totally new book. 2012 is no different. To me, it’s just another day with another date.
Maybe you won’t live with goals this year. Maybe you’ll develop new habits and accomplish great things.
All I know is, at the end of the day, it is all up to you.
I hope you all have a wonderful New Year, enjoy your family, good company, food, and rest.
Thank you for reading my blog, for commenting my posts, and supporting me in many ways. 2012 is going to be yet another big year for the blog, and many great things are coming.