As the new year rolls around, many of us continue to partake in the time-honored tradition of setting goals and resolutions for us to inevitably give up on as February rolls around. Oftentimes, they're goals that are tied to our sense of self- eat healthier, lose weight, do better in school/job, buy a house, etc. They're ways we can continue to better ourselves as a person, in various aspects of life.
Many people argue that since we know that making New Year resolutions are synonymous with failure, there is no real point in creating them in the first place since we know that we'll fall back on them sooner or later, it'll be better to save face and dignity than to go back on our word. While this may be true, it is important to examine the goal itself and our methods of achieving them. For example, say your goal is to lose weight.
You completely overhaul your gym, nutrition and life habits, but eventually, it gets harder and harder to stick to as time goes on. Before you know it, you'll fall back to your old lifestyle because "going to the gym at 6:00 was just not working with my schedule". It might happen rapidly, it might happen gradually, but eventually, it is bound to happen.
However, despite this what seems to be imminent downfall of my ideal self, I still find myself being caught up in the magic of New Year's Eve. I continually am a sucker for the idea of a fresh start, new experiences, and the creation of goals- this year was no different. However, something that I did change this year was how I made my goals. For me, 2018 turned out to be a frustrating year- one full of disappointments and detours, but it was also a year of learning. Learning what worked and what didn't, learning what I loved and what I hated, and most importantly identifying exactly what about myself and my life I wanted to change. I carried these lessons over to my resolutions for 2019, and just this step of being more self-reflective and insightful led to changes that will hopefully stick far beyond the New Year.
The most important step for me was knowing what my motivation behind each goal was. This year, I specifically created a goal of journaling every night. However, when making this goal I made sure to remind myself of the reason behind the action- the benefit of self-reflection, of learning from my mistakes, and also a chance to take a moment to talk and check-in with myself. Additional to having a clear motivation, I implemented a specific action. In my example of journaling, I then set an alarm on my phone every night to remind me to journal that day.
Setting goals is intrinsic to human nature, and perhaps is the most important way for all of us to continue to improve and push ourselves to be the best we can be. Especially at my age, having many goals to look forward to and accomplish can seem overwhelming and impossible. The key is making sustainable, consistent changes. Without consistent changes, everything continues to stay the same. Learning this was one of the hardest and most powerful lessons of my 2018- albeit the most necessary for me to learn. That lesson I carried into the first days of 2019, and hope to carry not just this year but all throughout my life.