How to Make This Year Better Than the Last One

You may not be the type of person who wants to plan ahead and you might even consider New Year’s resolutions to be stupid and childish. Regardless, whether you want it or not, you are naturally inclined to ponder upon your actions that took place during the previous year. And accordingly, your thoughts will naturally make plans to achieve new goals, break off old habits and fix the mistakes you made last year. The problem with resolutions is that more than 70% of them end in failure. If you examine last year’s resolution list, you will realize that you have completed just a few of them, or maybe even none. By the end of February each year, the enthusiasm slowly fades away and with the first summer days, you forget you even made resolutions. And then comes another December and we start to remember every little plan we promised ourselves to complete, but failed to realize. We feel depressed, sad and maybe a little lonely. After a while we remember that there’s a new year ahead waiting for us and we make fresh new resolutions. Most of the time, those will fail too. Not because there’s something wrong with us, our goals and willpower. It is because we make the resolutions at the end, instead of the beginning. Not just the beginning of the year, but the beginning of every action, thought and deed.

Make Resolutions Every Day

Someone somewhere started this tradition of making resolutions at the end of every year. To some extent, the fact that it is the end of the year and you are swayed by the idea that something is ending, plus the symbolic meaning of the entire process gives you the needed optimistic view on the world. But if you stop and think about it, isn’t it one day out of 365 in the entire year too little to make plans and manage life goals?

If for example, you set a goal to lose 20 pounds you will only end up more depressed after the holidays, because it’s impossible to lose any weight during a holiday season. And the weight you gain during January needs more than one month to get rid of, so when you get on the scale by the end of February and you see higher digits than when you first stepped on it, you may feel like giving up. Then you remember how you snapped at your mother last week, even though you promised to be a nicer person. And the tapes on Spanish are already forgotten, even though you promised to master it by the end of the year.

That is the thing with New Year’s resolutions. We make too many too fast and the brain has no time to process them all at once, let alone concentrate to realize them. Instead of making a list of decisions for the following year, make a plan to achieve one small goal and celebrate the first step. Then celebrate the second, then the third and so forth. Most of the time, we are too focused on the outcome of the situations and we forget to enjoy the way to their accomplishment. When you look at your realized goals and undertakings from a future point of view, you won’t remember just the finalization of the goal. You will remember every step of the way, every stone that tripped you, every lesson learned, bad and good days. It’s not just the goal that makes us happy, it’s the entire journey.

Make a new goal every morning. It doesn’t have to be a profound and meaningful target. You can focus on the important things when your mind is calm and steady. A calm mind is aligned with the universe and the universe obeys to a calm mind. You need to make sure your mind is free from worries, hustles and bustles to decide upon the important issues in your life. If you are too stressed out, depressed or anxious, every decision you make will be questionable because your mind lacks the lucidity required for a rational comprehension. Instead, be happy and rejoice on the small things. Say something nice to somebody unexpectedly and enjoy their reaction. Help someone who can’t help you back and thank them for giving you the chance to help them. Start your day positive and avoid jumping on the heavy problems as soon as you wake up. You have 24 hours to think about your worries and find a way to solve them. Your day should start in a positive manner because it will rewire you for the rest of the day.

Prepare Yourself Physically

In order to achieve any goal you need physical strength. 10 million cells are being generated every second, but you have to give them what they need to help them create a healthy body. And what they need is fresh, nutritious foods. It is not easy living green in this new era supported by modern wisdom, but that is a resolution everyone must include in their lists. Our fast lifestyles often don’t allow us to pick our food carefully and we usually eat what we find at the corner on our way to work. That’s why you need to pick the healthiest foods when you are shopping for home meals. And by healthiest we mean green. Spinach, parsley, broccoli, kale or arugula, make your pick, but pick green. Green vegetables are not just healthy and nutritious, but they will clean your body of toxins, supply new blood, lower your cholesterol and help you maintain a healthy weight. You don’t even need a strict diet plan once you start eating fresh foods, because many green vegetables are rich in fiber, which will make your stomach feel full just like you’ve eaten a burger.

If you still want to stick to your takeout food, make sure you are more active than last year. A gym membership and a personal trainer will motivate your “stay healthy” goal, but if you have no time in your busy schedule for sporting activities, there are plenty of other training options. You can start practicing yoga, do pushups in the morning, dance on your favorite beats, run around the block, even a half hour walk will be enough physical activity to help you stay healthy. The reason why you should become more active physically is not just maintaining a perfect shape. Physical activities also boost your brain, or to be more specific, they are a great workout for the brain part called - prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is responsible for planning, decision making, controlling social behavior, moderating our personality and harmonizing our thoughts and actions while we strive towards a goal. As you can see, this is a very busy brain part and studies have shown that exercises will reinforce its functions, even if you are no longer in your twenties.

Forgive Yourself Your Mistakes, Relapses and Imperfections

Staying positive the entire day is not always possible. Not all people who walk the earth will share your optimism and you better get used to that, because it’s a fact. There are conflicts you can’t avoid no matter how much you try. Sometimes it is even better to resolve them as soon as they arise, to make sure you know where you stand. Problems with colleagues, with your loved ones and friends will only grow and deepen if you keep ignoring them, so make a resolution about that aspect of your life. The stability of your emotional life depends largely on the connections you make with your closest people, so don’t let any unresolved issues linger and cause future tribulations.

If you have made a mistake, said something harmful or caused someone pain, make sure you apologize. There isn’t a better cure for an aching soul than a sincere apology. You can say it’s not your fault, you can say they deserved it or they made you do what you did, but at the end we are all responsible for our own actions, reactions and reality. And the reality is: you will feel relief when you say those three little words. With those three little words you will forgive yourself and at thge same time - take away the power from your opponent. Once you say you’re sorry, it is up to the other person. You have thrown the ball. They can either: give it back to initiate future peace or drop the ball and let the chips fall where they may. The important thing for you is to find your peace of mind. You can’t grow and learn from your mistakes if you keep denying them.

We all make mistakes, because none of us is perfect. People will hurt you, you will hurt someone else, it is an endless circle. Sometimes it may just not be your day. Sometimes we feel unconscious drives to start a fight out of our own insecurities. Other times, we are forced to. Either way, when the fog has lifted and you can see clearly, it is time to think rationally and take the blame for what you did. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you have let something happened even though you knew it wasn’t right. Sometimes we are too tired to take the road less traveled and we settle out of convenience. Even then, you will have to suffer the results and it will be best if you can admit your misdemeanors to yourself of you are not ready to do that in front of the world.

Don’t take your resolutions too seriously either. Sometimes we make goals that are too implausible and when we fail to reach them we end up feeling spiritless. Avoid equating yourself with your wishes, because they may not always come true. Even when you do your best to achieve a goal, it may not happen. The universe works in its own way, a way which we yet not understand. That doesn’t mean it makes no sense and that it has no purpose. Count your blessings every day and if you find the time to write them down, you will see that you are truly blessed to even have this life. Make your inner world precious and worthy of existence and people will offer to pay to become a part of it. Your loved ones will adore you, your friends will love spending time with you and your business associates will be drawn to you like to a magnet. Don’t dwell on your imperfections, because even the sun has dark spots but it still shines.


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