If you didn’t know it by now, it is the end of the year. Yes, if you have avoided all of those weight loss/gym commercials, if you haven’t see all of the ads that show people drinking out of plastic champagne flutes, if you haven’t been on the Internet to see every blogger telling you how to love yourself and make this your year, then congratulations. You’ve stumbled across this blog, and you will inevitably have to hear all of this from me.
Or will you?
Actually, you won’t. In my opinion, you shouldn’t have to wait an entire year to start your life over, to pick up a new leaf. But if you are looking to make a change this year, you don’t have to chip away piece by piece at resolutions. You don’t have to torture yourself with an unused gym membership or self-degrading sticky notes that remind you of your commitment.
Instead, let’s take stock of what our resolutions are all about. Let me guess: you want to lose weight, find happiness, travel more, fall in love, and be a better person in general. But do you know what you really want? You want to leave the routine that you currently inhabit. That’s all. And believe me, that does not require an entire resolution. Why put yourself through all of that pressure anyway? Why shackle yourself to something that may not even apply to you in a few months? Why don’t you resolve to ignore your resolutions and do one of the following?
1. Say Yes More
– We all know the story. You’ve had a long day. You are looking forward to unwinding in front of the television or behind a book. Really, you’d prefer to stay in on this Friday night. But stay in every Friday night? I didn’t think so. Unfortunately, you are in the habit of saying no, and your friends are now able to predict your answer. Well, you should surprise them by saying yes next time. Actually, you should surprise everyone by saying yes to anything you would normally pass over. It may have been easy to get into this routine, but I promise that it will be just as easy to get out.
2. Count Your Blessings
-Any way you want to do this is fine. Write all the goods things that have happened in a year on pieces of paper and put them in a jar or place little pebbles in a box, one per happiness. However you do it, you should simply be conscious of the fact that there are great things happening in your life. It takes the focus off the painful agony of invisible progress and gives you something to celebrate right now.
3. Read a Book
-Maybe I’m biased (okay, not biased, just flat-out opinionated), but reading is a panacea. Books can educate you, comfort you, and inspire you. But the best part? When you finish a book, however small, it feels like an accomplishment. It feels like you’ve conquered something. And trust me, if you need something outside of your routine, books can take you there. Nothing can fill you up with wanderlust for places you’ve never been and homesickness for places you can never visit like books.
4. Be Present
-The real reason you want to start over this year and make it a year to remember is because the last 365 days have started to run into each other, and you’re not really sure if anything memorable happened last year. That routine you’ve been inhabiting is simply a symptom of staring at the clock, willing each minute to pass so you can go home and do it all over again. It’s why you’ve felt like your life isn’t amounting to anything. Instead, try to stay in the moment. Don’t think about the next second, just enjoy this one. And if you need help practicing, try to pick up meditation (yes, there’s an app for that) or keep a daily journal (or a daily blog, for that matter!).
5. Restart Everyday
-Yup, it’s New Year’s day and everything is shiny and bright. And then what happens on January 2nd? You are in the snack cabinet, scrolling through a dating website, half-committed to everything you said you would do. You then find yourself cursing the new year before it has even started. Do me a favor, and cut out those last few steps by just starting each day anew. If you made a mistake yesterday, don’t let it stain today. Every day should be a new year with fresh beginnings for you to carve out for yourself.
So, don’t worry about running on the treadmill or traveling the world. Take one day at a time and get a library card. 2015 will treat you just fine.