Editor’s Note: I originally wrote this post three years ago, and I completely forgot about it until one of my best friends texted me a picture of the printout she made of it years ago. She’d kept it despite a few moves; it originally was tacked to her cubicle wall as inspiration. (Do I have the most supportive and amazing friends or what?!)
Having this article resurface couldn’t have come at a better time.
It’s all too easy to get swept up by life. We feel bound by endless obligations, responsibilities, to-do lists—all of the things we “should” be doing—and while I’m a planner by nature, life isn’t about obligations. It’s about balance: equal parts responsibility and spontaneity. Work hard, do what you love, when you want to; that is the ultimate freedom.
I love New Year’s Eve, the anticipation of something new and possibly wonderful is titillating. Cheesy, perhaps, but the phenomenon of making resolutions and giving thanks is but a testament to just how powerful our minds are: if we believe in a reset button, tabula rosa is exactly what we’ll get. We live on hope, thrive for potential.
After all, it’s the human thing to do.
And while we all wish that we could spend forever in this sticky, champagne-drizzled and confetti-glittered holiday daze, there’s no need to put all our eggs—our optimism, excitement, drive, etc.—in one basket. Resolutions can be made any time, anywhere, meaning happiness is in your hands, not in Earth’s revolutions and/or Congressionally declared holidays. Here’s how to make resolutions whenever, wherever, and stick to them:
- What do you want in life? Plan ahead and never lose sight of your major goal. Instant gratification, while satisfying, is only temporary: keep track of where you are now and make sure you’re on the right path to who, what, and where you want to be in three, five, ten years. Figure that out now and work towards it everyday and things will fall into place not because fate let it, but because you made it happen. But don’t stop there. Set aside time (quarterly, at the very least) to check in with yourself. See where you are. Take a moment to celebrate every step, every win, every accomplishment that takes you one step closer—or, re-evaluate your goals, time, etc. if you’re not quite where you want to be. Keep yourself motivated and hold yourself accountable. Most importantly, though, be open to change. Who you were a few months ago, a year ago, five years ago might be different from you are at present. You are allowed to re-shape your future.
- Perspective is everything: Turn your goals into decisions. Attach an assertive action to it; dreams are nothing unless you make up your mind to take viable steps in that direction. I’m going to use the classic example of the “getting healthy” shindig: rather than say you want to “be healthier” or “be ‘x’ pounds by ‘y’ date—these are too vague to become realities—make active decisions that will get you there. The goal is to jog a mile a day; practice Pilates or Tracy Anderson or crossfit four days a week; increase your intake of wholesome superfoods, etc.
- Schedule a day or night off every week. Do something! A date with your significant other, your friends, or yourself is paramount to happiness (and sanity). It’s easy to get consumed by work and responsibilities, so setting aside the time forbids you from making excuses. Having fun is the key to happiness and feeding creativity.
- Do something different once a month (at the very least). Plan a road trip somewhere; visit a gallery; take a boxing class; enroll in a cooking class; participate in a story slam; etc. Whatever it is that you’ve always wanted to do, do it. Whatever it is you never knew you would want to or like doing, try it. We’ve got one life to live, ladies and gents, and a myriad of experiences waiting to be explored. Do not be complacent. Do not settle. Do not allow yourself to be stagnant. Grow.
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