Ah, another year and another list of New Year’s resolutions. A fresh slate, a blank canvas, and a new chapter in your life. How often have you sat down at the beginning of a new year and written down resolutions, things you want to change, new habits, ways of thinking, and behaving?
Unfortunately, only 12% of people ever achieve their resolutions. This means that 156 million people won’t even get out of the gate on their New Year’s resolution. The good news is that there are great alternatives to the hard-to-keep New Year’s resolutions.
Let’s take a closer look at some spectacular alternatives to the high-pressure New Year resolution.
Focus outward instead of inward
The majority of the time, New Year’s resolutions are focused solely on ourselves and something we want to do or change within ourselves. Why not use the changing over to a new year to shift your focus outward. There is so much joy and self-growth that comes with consciously thinking about other people. Help out a friend or family member in need, find a place to volunteer, and take the time to go through your closet and home to find things to donate to people in need.
Start a gratitude journal
Rather than focusing on everything you would like to change about yourself, spend your energy on focusing on all the wonderful things in your life. A gratitude journal is one of the best ways to develop a healthy and optimistic outlook on life. Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to reduce stress and even help you sleep better. Take a few minutes before bed to write down what you are grateful for. Go back and read your entries on a weekly and monthly basis.
Choose a one word theme for the New Year
Instead of making a long list of particular things you would like to accomplish or change, choose one word that will be the predominant theme for the new year. This might be optimism, determination, courtesy, kindness, honesty, joy, peace, etc., Apply this word to everything that you do in the year and watch the impact this has on yourself and others.
Focus on intention, not outcome
We often beat ourselves up when we set a resolution and fail. Shifting focus from outcome to intention provides motivation to keep moving forward one step at a time without the risk of a crushing defeat. One example is to shift a goal of losing weight to learning to listen better to your body and what it is telling you regarding food.
Embrace your imperfections and celebrate who you are right now
Contrary to what you might think, constantly beating yourself up because you are not satisfied with who you are can have drastic consequences on achievement and happiness. Think empowerment instead of punishment. Understand that it is ok to have a whole year focused solely on the things you like about yourself. This does not mean that you have to develop an unhealthy and inflated ego. What it means is to accept yourself, become friends with yourself, and like yourself in a way that is both healthy and productive. Don’t compare yourself with others or look back at old pictures of yourself and mourn what you see as a “better you.” Instead, cut yourself some significant slack and celebrate your uniqueness, quirks and all. This positive thinking will motivate you to great things and instill high confidence.
Take up a new hobby and learn something new
There is no time like a new year to begin a new hobby. Perhaps you have always wanted to paint, ballroom dance, or even try your hand at playing the piano. Embrace your inner self desires and make the time to learn something new. Explore new hobbies for the sheer joy of enjoying them. There does not have to be a measurable outcome – this is where we often go wrong. Having a distant measurable goal can sometimes cause pressure that can work against us when trying to achieve something. Instead, simply try something new and have fun doing it. Do it merely for the joy of doing!
So how about it, are you ready to replace those old New Year’s resolutions with optimism, self-acceptance, a giving heart, and a spark of exploration?
-The Alternative Daily