New year, new me, am I right?
Now that the new year is upon us, everyone has resolutions that they've been thinking of for the past month that will somehow drastically change the course of their lives during the next year.
Especially us 20-somethings! We have to balance our young, still-discovering-who-I-am lives with the bees dying, Kim and Kanye's divorce, and of course the challenges of transitioning into fully functioning, independent adults (that being said, don't forget to call your parents and ask what the heck to do with our taxes next month).
For us "millennials", New Year's resolutions tend to involve getting incredibly fit, finding a significant other, having more "fun", moderating our drinking/smoking, and all the while making an unrealistic amount of money.
But what you may not realize is that all of these usual resolutions have one problem in common: they all deal with everyone else's perception of you.
Everyone struggles with perception issues, but especially in your teens and twenties it's very easy to allow ourselves to rely on happiness mainly from other people's opinions of us.
And that's what all of this is really about, right? Being happy?
Ultimately the decisions and resolutions we make are usually designed to increase our happiness, not decrease it. But as simple 20-somethings, how can we know what truly makes us happy?
My favorite quote to this point is from Tom Shadyac in his movie, I Am. He says,
"The person who has two million dollars is not twice as happy than the person that has one million dollars".
That is, money and material things are not proportional to levels of happiness.
So, what to do? I've said money and other people's opinions won't make you truly happy (it looks like it's working for Kylie Jenner, but trust me on this). So what now?
The following New Years resolutions are centered around finding your inner happiness. Not through material wealth or attention, but by self-improvement and genuine actions.
So, millennials, this year try to:
Be honest with yourself
This is a major key. The most hurtful lies are the ones that we tell ourselves. Ask yourself the hard questions this year!
Are you happy where you are? With your job? With your significant other? With your college major?
Wherever you're at in life, this is the time to make the big change. If you're scared, just know it's better to make the change now and get the ball rolling then prolong it any longer.
It's like knowing you're getting a shot at today's doctor's appointment, and having to wait 10 minutes beforehand. It turns into the longest 10 minutes of your life, because the anticipation is the worst part of the unknown.
New Years resolutions are usually good for "cold turkey" type goals, so take this opportunity to cut the bullsh*t. Remove all sources of negativity and doubt from your life and replace them with things that consistently bring inspiration and happiness to you.
How many philanthropic things have you done this year? I'm not talking about giving all your old clothes to your younger siblings.
If you didn't get many community service ours in this year, a great New Years resolution is to jump on it for this year. Especially in the winter, where much of the world is very cold right now, volunteering somewhere would be much appreciated. Do some research where you can help out locally in your community.
And if you can't find the time to help out an organization, try being philanthropic in your daily life. Make a resolution to do as many random acts of kindness as you possibly can this year.
Make a resolution to do as many random acts of kindness as you possibly can this year.
Help your neighbor carry her groceries in her house. Choose seeing your family that one weekend over that awesome party.
The littlest adjustments can make the biggest differences!
2016 was definitely the Year of the "Woke". Let this year carry on the tradition, and continue to be conscientious of all the things you learned in the last year.
Continue to try your best to not make assumptions about people based on things portrayed in the news media. Stay open-minded, do your own objective research before believing every viral Facebook photo or article. Believe in the good in the world.
Be environmentally conscious, health conscious, and politically sensitive.
Last year you got woke, now this year, #StayWoke.
Travel as much as possible, as far as possible.
Travel is always a good idea, period.
But this year, try to do it for more than the Instagram likes. Do it for the sake of self-growth.
If you can swing it, go to a different country. Learn about a different language, a different culture, a contrasting lifestyle. Make your world just a little bit bigger (literally, and metaphorically).
I can say that living in Dubai for the last 4 months has dramatically changed my outlook on people and the world as a whole, in the best way.
If money or time is still an issue, travel is still travel even if it's close to home. Hop one state over, or even one city over. Look up blog posts on the "must do's" and the "hidden treasures" of that city and dive in.
In your travels, expand your comfort zone. Do things you've only ever imagined. Try foods you've never tried. Have you had African Wolof rice, or Vietnamese pho noodles? You're missing out!
Ask questions, and listen and internalize the answers. Document it with photos and travel journaling. Again, the point is not to have a travel journal that you can take a photo of at a cafe in Paris and post on Instagram for likes. I mean, you can--but that's not the point.
The point is to learn more about yourself. See what you like and what you don't like. Improve your communication with this world through dialogue and knowledge.
Keep on keepin' on
Times are hard. Our president-elect is controversial, global warming is out of control, the job market after college is suffocating, and did I mention the bees are dying?
Everywhere you look it seems like another negative thing is happening.
So the most important resolution for this year is to stay up.
You will fail at some of these, no doubt, in a year-long period. You will go through rough patches, financially and otherwise. You will have doubts.
But keep your chin up and roll out of bed each morning and realize that each new day is the youngest you will ever be, and you are ultimately in control of your own life.
For example, any moment you could cut your hair, change your clothes, leave your job and university, and start a life as a peach farmer.
Will you? Likely not. But you could. You could do anything.
You could be the next president. You could discover the cure to cancer. You could make someones day today with a simple act of kindness. You could see the world.
Let this new year where you manifest those "could"s into "did"s!