Every year there are two key moments in which we usually make resolutions: after the summer holidays that the new year begins, and for the new year. It is true that any time of the year is good to take stock, and also that sometimes we are forced to do so for reasons that we do not control, such as losing a job or a romantic breakdown. As it is becoming more and more common at the end of the year to focus on what we want to change to be happier for the next twelve months, here are a few reflections.
How to fulfill your New Year’s resolutions.
It is important that you elaborate and commit to your purposes only if you really want to fulfill them. Otherwise, the only thing you are going to achieve is generate frustration. That is also why, to avoid that something that should contribute positive things to your life from becoming an additional burden for your self-esteem, I propose that you analyze two basic aspects when preparing your resolutions for the new year:
- What value am I wanting to enhance by proposing a specific action.
- This is the best way to enhance that value in my life at this precise moment.
For example, two very typical purposes are to stop smoking and lose weight. We are going to analyze them from these two premises.
First why do I want to quit smoking? There can be many answers: to take care of my health, because I don’t like having bad breath, because my partner is bothered by my smoking … The reason why I want to quit smoking must have a direct relationship with a value that is important to me . If the reason is because they continually tell you that you should take care of your health, but for you it is not something important, you will soon feel demotivated from depriving yourself of the pleasure of smoking. On the other hand, if health is very important to you, this value will encourage you to remain committed. Let’s assume that the reason is health and that it really is an important value in your life Is this the best way you have right now to take care of yourself? Is it feasible in your current situation to propose this challenge? Perhaps now you have had an important change in your life that generates stress and therefore it is difficult for you to rest and you feel anxious, with a greater need to smoke. If you set out to drastically quit smoking and ultimately can’t keep up, it will make you feel more anxious and undermine your self-confidence. But perhaps you can make a purpose more appropriate to your current situation: reduce the amount you smoke and improve your sleep. Before going to sleep you take an infusion, put on relaxing music and avoid your cell phone. The next day you feel more rested, with more energy and less anxiety. That makes it easier for you to reduce your cigarettes from 10 to 5, and seeing that you are able to do so strengthens your confidence, you get to rest better. It becomes a circle of positive reinforcement, you are really managing to give weight in your life to the value of health as you proposed. And it is likely that in a few months you will feel capable of permanently quitting tobacco.
Let’s go to the other example, lose weight. Which is the reason? Well, it can also be for health, to feel more comfortable with your image and with yourself, because you care how others see you, so as not to tire yourself so much when making the least effort … Again, you have to see that this reason is supported by a really important value for you. If the impulse to lose weight is to have been offended by someone’s comment, but at a deeper level you do not give much importance to what others think of you, it will be a good excuse to leave it halfway. If personal growth is important to you, feeling better about yourself will be a stronger reason to commit to a change in eating habits. So is this the best time and the best way to achieve it?If you propose to follow a strict diet when you have to eat in restaurants with colleagues every day, it will be very difficult for you. It will generate constant discontent in you and you will easily fall into making exceptions that later will make you feel guilty, undermining your self-esteem. In that case, with the basic value you want to enhance of being better with yourself, you can start with simple changes such as not having dessert, having a light dinner and walking 20 minutes a day. You will not notice a drastic change in your weight overnight, but they will be achievable goals so little by little you will feel better about yourself, which was the true purpose. In addition, little by little it will become a habit, you will feel stronger and lighter, and in a while, perhaps you propose to introduce some more change to continue reducing your weight, if you think it is necessary.
Keep in mind that it is easier and more effective to introduce small changes that can be maintained daily for a long time than to pretend to make radical changes from one day to the next. And when these small changes bring you one step closer to the life you really want to live, to the person you really want to be, they are more empowering than any fleeting and heroic act.
This end of the year, orat any time in your life, sit in solitude and tranquility, look sincerely in your heart what your values are, where you want to go, and start, firmly and without haste, to walk.