It's the most wonderful time of the year again. A time where we take a break from work, spend time with friends and family, and refocus on what's important. But unfortunately, it's also a time where we sometimes eat and drink things in huge quantities, spend too much money, and secretly worry about what we are doing. Many of us, in an effort to make up for how we've splurged in December, make promises to ourselves for self-betterment in the new year.
The end goal for most New Year's resolutions is living a better life, and I'd like to suggest the key to a better life is not cutting out something you love doing; rather, it's deliberately crafting a balanced life you enjoy. What people enjoy differs from individual to individual, but I think what people want to get out of their enjoyment is the feeling of happiness. To point out the obvious, people want to be in-joy.
Below find the three New Year's goals I most commonly hear, and an alternative, more balanced goal that allows you to both enjoy the moments that pass throughout the year and feel great on Dec. 31. Be warned! The substitutions proposed below are probably much harder than the more regularly set goals. Balance is tricky.
Giving Up Something I Enjoy
Instead of giving something up entirely, try committing to learning to trust your body, mind, and intuition.
If you're considering giving up something you enjoy, like alcohol or sweets, instead commit to trusting yourself to listen to your intuition and make responsible decisions depending on the situation. That might mean at a Christmas party where alcohol is free, you have a gut feeling it wouldn't be worth the headache to drink at all. It also might mean when you're out to dinner with an old friend, it might be worth it to go for that second bottle of wine (and then cab home). For sweets, it might mean passing on the box of cookies going around the office, but waking up one morning, realizing you really want a donut, and then enjoying it guilt-free!
I Want to Lose Weight
Instead, commit to adding something positive to your life, something you enjoy, like exercise, mediation, or a balanced eating routine.
If you're like many and concerned about the extra pounds you've slowly added on over the holidays, reframe your goal to be more positive. Instead of wanting to lose weight, commit to add something you enjoy that will also make you healthy. Clear your mind of any arbitrary pound shedding ideals and replace them with thoughts of making a point to get together with friends for a weekly yoga class and dinner. You'll naturally begin to look and feel amazing!
I Am Going to Spend Less and Save More
Instead, I'm going to develop a healthy relationship with money.
No matter how much money you have, spending money and saving money can make anyone feel weird. Developing a healthy relationship with money is important, and just like with any healthy relationship, communication is vital. The communication begins internally. Take some time before the year is over and understand what it is you value. Do you value experiences like going out for dinner or do you value more tangible things like new clothes? Also, take some time to think about situations that have come up in the past that made you uncomfortable about money. It's a great starting point for figuring out what you do not care to spend money on. Once you know what you value, commit to do doing the tough thing and sharing your spending preferences with people you know you'll be spending money with. It might be a bit awkward at first, but it's likely you'll open up the floor for interesting conversation and they'll share their preferences, too!
Have more New Year's resolution remixes? Add them in the comments below!