The year 2019 is drawing to a close and a new year and a whole new decade are right around the corner. Many of us are making resolutions for the New Year to make 2020 the best year yet. Exercise more, eat healthier, ditch a bad habit, save more money, start a new hobby… Who hasn’t made one of the common New Year’s resolutions at least once?
Starting healthy habits and improving your life is of course great, and even necessary. However, if you are anything like me and you enjoy setting goals for yourself, accomplishing tasks, and creating to-do lists, what was meant to be a motivating New Year’s resolution can quickly become an additional source of stress. You might feel guilty if you don’t achieve results as quickly as you thought you would, or if you eat that candy bar even though you had decided to cut down on sugar. You might even end up quitting and forgetting about the resolution because of that one time that you slipped.
I am not saying don’t make changes that will improve your quality of life. In fact, I believe that it is necessary for each of us to take responsibility for building the life that we really want. And if New Year’s resolutions will help you achieve it, then go for it.
However, if you have the tendency of turning everything into to-do lists, your New Year’s resolutions can lead you to try to perform and check tasks off your list constantly, at work AND in your free time. This might not leave you enough time to disconnect and relax, which is necessary for your overall wellbeing. Here are three additional resolutions that can help you achieve your goals and make 2020 the happiest year yet, both professionally and personally:
1. Be Kind to Yourself
Sometimes, we push ourselves too much to reach the goals that we have usually set ourselves. While self-motivation is a virtue, it should not be confused with being overly critical to yourself and feeling like no achievement is good enough.
So, pay attention on how you talk to yourself. Are you criticizing yourself for not doing enough and not being good enough or rather speaking to yourself like you would speak to a good friend? Are you beating yourself up because of one mistake that you made or are you learning from it and carrying on?
Being kinder to yourself can actually help you achieve your goals when you stop spending your energy on feeling guilty or not good enough. And if you did make a mistake or even quit the new habit that you were trying to start, you can always turn things around. Not just on January 1st but 365 days a year (or in 2020, 366 days).
2. Practice Gratitude
With New Year’s resolutions, we usually want to achieve something that we believe will make us happy. “Once I have saved enough money to buy that new car, I can really enjoy life.” “Once I start exercising x times per week, I will feel so much better about myself.” We might get so caught up in what we don’t have that we forget what we already do have.
Count your blessings regularly to remember all the wonderful things you already have in your life. You can try starting every morning by listing at least three things that you are grateful for. Maybe it’s your friends and family, maybe your health, maybe your amazing coworkers, or maybe the interesting projects that you get to be part of at work. Achieving your new goals will become more fun when you can enjoy what you already have in the meantime.
3. Have Time to Do Nothing
Not every moment of your life needs to be spent doing something productive. It took me a long time to understand this.
To continue being creative and having energy to reach your goals, you will also need time to relax and reset. Whether it is a walk in the woods, knitting, reading a book, or meditating, find your own way to help you unwind. And no, reading a business book to learn something useful at the same time or having a distance or a speed goal for your walk don’t count. Allow yourself the time to truly not to do anything productive. If you need to schedule it on your calendar to stick it, do it, but be careful not to make it another thing to check off on your to-do list.
What’s your New Year’s resolution for a happy 2020? I’d love to hear, tell us in the comment section below! Happy New Year.
Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash.