With the new year comes a chance to make a fresh start and aspire to be a better version of yourself than you were before. Perhaps we tell ourselves we’ll visit the gym more frequently, eat healthier, or procrastinate less. Maybe we’ll actually reach these goals and find ourselves a happier, healthier person at the end of this year.
But let’s be real. More likely, we’ll start to slack on our resolutions come February. The excitement of a new year will wear off and we’ll find ourselves making excuses for not going to the gym as frequently. We’re busy, we’re tired, the gym is way too crowded. Do I even really need to workout? Maybe I’ll just take the stairs instead of the elevator and call it a day.
It could be another year of the same old, same old. Or we could instead aspire for something a little different this year. Instead of making our resolutions focused on ourselves, we could make goals that would benefit those around us in some way.
Maybe you’ve always thought it would be cool to go on a spring break mission trip or volunteer a couple times a month at a food pantry or soup kitchen. Instead of putting it off for yet another year, sign up and make the goal a reality.
We don’t have to do big things to help others. We can simply try to smile more at those we pass on the way to class, we can hold the door open for strangers, or pay for the person behind us in line at Starbucks.
We can aim to talk about our own problems less and instead open our hearts to those around us and offer a listening ear. When on the phone with a friend I often find myself launching into complaining mode, venting about my own issues without first taking the time to ask how the other person’s day was. This year I will try to complain less and listen more.
It is always healthy and prudent to set personal goals for ourselves and to try to become the best version of ourselves possible. Yet it is easy to get caught up in a mindset that is constantly focused inward. How can I make myself better, more attractive, better liked, etc.
Of course, it is satisfying when we reach our personal goals. Reaching a new personal best on the treadmill will probably make you feel great at first. But when you look back upon this coming year, what will you be more likely to remember? Will you remember how many calories you burned or that day you did an unexpected kind deed you did for a stranger?
Let 2017 be a year of kindness and compassion above all else.