Today marks a full year of blogging every day on The Midnight Station! Thank you to all of you who have read, liked and commented on my posts, I really appreciate it. Often, we set ourselves ambitious and laborious goals and sometimes the end isn’t quite foreseeable. In the mean time, we shouldn’t only focus on the end, because we’ll otherwise be constantly looking at what we lack, miss everything in between, and never feel satisfied. To keep motivated, inspired and positive about our journeys, we need to celebrate all our victories, including all the small ones on the way. And celebration can be as simple as consciously praising ourselves. Whether we passed on a chocolate bar, delivered a successful presentation at work, spent an hour at the gym instead of on the internet, saved a month’s earnings instead of spending it straight away, they are all victories. They are the steps that will lead us to further victories. Celebrate them.
When making New Year’s Resolutions, it is tempting to make generalised, lavish expectations – “to be happier”, “to be fitter” – in hopes that anything we do throughout the year, even as our motivation dwindles past the first couple months, will contribute to the success of those resolutions. But resolutions shouldn’t be something we make half-heartedly, because when they lack thought, they will never work out. Here are a few of my tips for making resolutions that we can stick to:
- Quantity will help us avoid generalised and vague resolutions. Set specific goals: for example, instead of “to be fitter”, try “to go to the gym three times a week” or “to run the local 5k marathon”, or instead of “to learn a new language”, try “to gain a beginner’s qualification in Italian”. Give yourself something to strive towards, rather than that which is hard to measure. Otherwise you will just feel lost and never satisfied with anything you do.
- Make your resolutions realistic enough for you to actually be motivated to do them. I encourage you to have dreams in all aspects of your life, but don’t expect to become an expert at something in a year or to be able to go from 0 to 100 without any preparation at all. Be challenging, but make your resolutions doable, otherwise you will easily feel like a failure and rapidly lose interest.
- If your resolutions are not controllable, for example “to win the lottery”, you are already increasing your chance of failure from the very beginning. Resolutions can be your dreams and goals, but make sure that a majority of its success can be achieved by you, without having to rely heavily on chances that are out of your control.
- Reflecting on the past year is just as important as looking forward to the new, and this can be instrumental to your success in the New Year. For example, you may have found that your occasional yoga session really helped improve your outlook on life, such as reducing stress. So if you want to be happier in the New Year, why not make a resolution about fitting a yoga session in three times a week? Looking at what has worked for you and what hasn’t worked for you in the past can help you define what will work for you in the New Year too.
What are some of your tips for New Year’s Resolutions?
We all seek enjoyment out of life and we all find it in different ways.
Some of us find pleasure in the simpler parts of life that we have been blessed with: to love and to be loved, to be healthy and be able to get better, to have opportunities and to make opportunities. We may find satisfaction in the relationships we build over time and the ones we are favoured with from birth. We may find fulfilment from seeking a purpose in life and spreading that into our daily interactions and the way we live our life. Some of us find satisfaction in working, earning, striving, and being rewarded. We accomplish, we meet and exceed expectations, and we challenge ourselves. Some of us find satisfaction in objects: from pictures, from souvenirs, from things we buy and keep on show. Some of us find pleasure in the memories or in the thoughts and opinions of others. We may find joy in helping others find joy.
I don’t want to say that there is a right way to finding satisfaction in life, because there isn’t. But let’s try to be mindful about how much those ways actually satisfies us. Is it short term or long term? Does the satisfaction dissolve or solidify? Can you appreciate what you have or do you always need more? Which ways are going to stay with you? Which ways are sustainable? Which ones can you go back to over and over again? Those are the ones we should keep close.