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Happy New Year: Ditch the Resolutions and Fall in Love with Life

We stand upon the precipice of a new year, and with it comes the dreaded yet long-held tradition of making New Year’s resolutions—that we may not even keep throughout the month of January.

As a matter of fact, of the Americans that make New Year’s resolutions, which equal about half, only around 8% actually achieve their goals.

So, Why Do We Continue Making Resolutions?

Well, part of the reason we make resolutions is to symbolize the newness that a new year brings - a fresh start, a blank canvas. The beginning of a new year brings feelings of excitement and rejuvenation, and we feel as though we can begin to tackle even more than we have up until this point. And while this is an admirable, ambitious passion, we may be going about it wrong.

Here’s why you should ditch the resolutions and begin to make positive, lasting changes that will create a life you love.

Resolutions Aren’t as Important as You Think

Making these resolutions may feel like the responsible, grown-up thing to do—after all, you’re essentially making a pact with yourself to create positive changes in your life, right? That may actually be the wrong way to look at it because it turns out that most of the resolutions we make don’t factor into goals that we truly care about.

Try Reframing Your Goals

Most resolutions sound something like this: “I’m going to lose fifteen pounds,” or “I plan to drink less.” These goals are just fine, but they don’t represent a passion or something that you deeply care for. If you plan on saving money, it’s more worthwhile to focus on what you want to save money for—or better yet, the feeling that money might bring you, such as freedom or stability. The goal of drinking less might more appropriately be recast as finding a passion for health and wellness, while that of losing weight would be more useful if it were thought of as a goal of increasing confidence and self-love.

Think about the feelings and emotions that the success of your resolutions might bring you and reframe your goals to try to achieve those feelings. After all, increased self-confidence can be found in so many more activities than losing weight; stability and liberation within your life do not require an abundance of money. Don’t paint yourself into a corner with resolutions.

Related Article: Stick to It: The Benefits of Positive Self-Affirmation

This Isn’t the Right Time

While New Year’s Eve can make for an exciting party, the rest of January can be pretty gloomy—especially in the Northern hemisphere, where it’s cold and snowy. In fact, January is thought to be the most depressing month of the year. Does that sound like the right time to try to initiate real change, as you’re trying to survive the cold of winter? As soon as the excitement of the holidays wears off, those resolutions are going to look more like shackles and chains.

Be Realistic with Your Time

If you’re facing winter during January, the weather can make your goals harder to achieve. Imagine trying to haul your winter gear to the gym through a veritable blizzard just to get a jumpstart on the holiday weight.

Beyond those icy hurdles, you’ll likely face large crowds of people who’ve made the same resolutions that you have. Why not stay at home and find a low-impact yoga video on the internet to stretch along with? While a goal of great physical health is fantastic, there’s no shame in those extra five pounds we get from all that holiday food—it acts as insulation against the cold.

What Can You Do Instead?

Nothing.

Well, not exactly nothing. Just don’t make any resolutions.

The achievement of any goal is hardly felt when we aren’t connected to the present moment. This year let’s learn to be in the present and stop setting unrealistic goals for ourselves that we aren’t even passionate about. Let us only create goals that build ourselves up and last the year-round.

Say Goodbye to Lists

Begin this year without the stress of everything you already have to do to get ahead. Stop trying to keep up. Don’t make lists of what you want to accomplish in 2020.

Make it your single, solitary goal to simply be. Be present. Be in the moment. Focus on the sights; the aromas; the delicious tastes; the frosty mornings; the hot chamomile tea; the soft, furry dog; the languid, disinterested cat.

Sometimes we get so caught up in everything we should be doing that we forget to enjoy the moment and the promise of each new day. While a new year certainly amplifies those feelings of newness, we get a fresh start each and every morning. Isn’t it time to let yourself enjoy it?

In Conclusion: Let it Be

It’s not that goals are bad. Goals are a wonderful, necessary part of life. But the beauty of appreciating the present moment should never be overlooked. Learning to be in the moment will help you really feel the rush of each goal you accomplish, each adventure you take.

So put the lists down, forget the resolutions, and just let yourself be.

Still want to make a resolution? Try How to Set Your New Years Resolutions With Intention

Rhiannon Gessaman

Rhiannon Gessaman

Rhiannon Gessaman is a student and freelance writer who, from the time she began penning letters to the moon, knew she wanted to spend her life writing. She has written for such publications as Self-Love Soup and Astrology Answers. She is a late bloomer who decided to return to college... Read More

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