Now that you have a more realistic view of New Year’s resolutions, here are six suggestions I have for a self-improved you next year! It’s coming right up! Of course, feel free to start whenever. It might be the middle of the year by the time you come across this post. It doesn’t matter. Check out these potential New Year’s resolutions/life goals below and get excited!
6 – Tell yourself “I love you” every single day
I noticed something shocking recently–I really do not love myself. I really do not treat myself with the same respect, love, and trust that I do others. I am the type to quickly encourage friends in the genuine, acute belief that they can do whatever they set their hearts on, whether it’s switching careers or finishing a project on time. I hate hearing stories of any form of mistreatment from people around them. But I never compared that to how I treat myself until just a few weeks ago. I don’t believe in myself. I think mean thoughts about myself–I am essentially a bully to myself. I am the one mistreating myself. I would tell myself negative things like, “Oh, you’re a failure,” “No one likes you,” “You really can’t do it because you don’t have what it takes.”
Then, one day, looking over the videos I saved on my guided meditations playlist, I came across one I had saved about boosting self-confidence. I decided to listen to that one to regain strength, but was surprised by the deeper meaning behind it. It wasn’t just saying, “Hey, you can do it!” It was also asking, “Why don’t you think you can do it?” to which I had no answer. Positive affirmations like “I love you” can be used to counter my emotional abuse against the self. The video, by The Honest Guys on YouTube, advised me to practice doing this every morning: hug myself and tell myself “I love you so much.”
I feel like this is an important lesson everyone needs to internalize. It’s hard when the surroundings can be so toxic, when people put you down, and there are pretty girls on Instagram reminding yourself that you are a potato in comparison. It’s hard when you see success stories on Facebook or LinkedIn for people who graduated from the same college at the same time as you. Yet it’s so easy to show compassion and belief in others. Why can’t you be as kind to yourself? As my friend says, “Self-praise is the best praise!” so don’t be afraid to flower yourself with the compliments you deserve.
So love yourself. Do as the video says until you feel more love for yourself every day. By the end of 2018, you will be unstoppable. Even if you ignore everything else on this list, you must make this a part of your New Year’s resolutions.
5 – Keep a gratitude journal
So this is actually something I started in about the middle of this year, but this is perfect for your list of New Year’s resolutions. I was the bridesmaid for a super close childhood friend this summer, and one of the bridesmaid gifts she gave me was a beautiful journal with the words, “Find what brings you joy and go there,” on the cover. At that time, I was feeling so down about life and losing perspective that I decided it was imperative to ground myself. And so I decided that I was going to try something I’ve been hearing about for a while now: start a gratitude journal. After all, it was given to me by possibly the brightest, most optimistic, and most caring person I ever met. Every day, I try to write five things I am grateful for.
This has been a challenge, but like every challenge, it’s been worth it. My journal has proven itself to be an eye-opener. Not going to lie, it’s been hard to keep it up as a daily habit, but it’s been a very interesting experiment. I realized that there were a lot of superficial things I could think of easily, but writing those down left me dissatisfied. Not that they were bad–it’s great to be thankful for anything and everything, materialistic or shallow. But it wasn’t enough. I started pushing myself to think of the complete “bare minimal,” the things that I took for granted since birth, and it grew shocking to think that there really were people who had to worry about finding shelter, having clothes on their back, and going to bed without being near-death starving. I always knew those things, but it felt different when shifting the angle by not thinking of what others lacked with pity but thinking of my having those things with gratitude. I’m able to more keenly imagine being in their shoes. It makes me realize how ungrateful I’ve been all this time.
It also instilled in me a new way of thinking. Whenever I am enjoying a good moment in life, I will note it in my head as something to be grateful for and to jot down in the notebook when I get a chance. I want to keep the limit to five points a day, but it is joyful to discover that sometimes, I just want to keep going and listing more things to be thankful about. Of course, the opposite is true, and sometimes I need to really think long and hard about it, but that is also a nice form of mental exercise.
When life seems terrible and hopeless, focus on the positives. Remember there is a lot to be grateful for.
4 – Only focus on what’s good about a person
Another great addition to your New Year’s resolutions! I’m going to go a bit deeper into this on a separate blog post, but one of the things I really don’t like about myself these days is my tendency to be judgmental, and it honestly comes from a place of insecurity and dissatisfaction. Sadly, I think this is very common nowadays. Comparisons are at their peak, especially, again, with the rise of social media. That’s why I decided a way I could combat this is to only focus on what’s good about somebody else. After all, judging them doesn’t make myself any better, everyone has his or her good qualities (just as everyone has flaws), and thinking derisively like that only hurts me (mentally and physically, because that’s really what all negative thoughts do).
You might see someone wear something that’s completely out there on the elevator, but you only need to think, “Wow, she owns that with confidence. I could never wear something like that, so I admire her.” If you have a friend who is always late, you could accept that it is what it is and think instead about how she always shows her consideration in other ways, like knitting you a beanie hat randomly because she noticed your ears always get cold.
Be kind to yourself, but you can always be kinder to others, as well.
3 – Run towards embarrassment
What is so bad about making a fool out of yourself? Nothing. What’s keeping you from being silly? Nothing but pride. And pride is bad. I talk about this a bit on my personal blog already, but I really do think this is an important thing to work on. People are always so obsessed with coming off perfect. They have a certain image of themselves they want to promote. Rather than showing how badly they dance, they’d rather stand by the bar, looking chic and aloof. But they could, instead, dance together terribly, make fun of one another, and laugh about it for years. By running toward fears, you overcome them. By running toward embarrassment, you accept that you’re only human and that feeling shame for silly things is a waste of your time. After all, you could just be living! Living and laughing. Don’t deny yourself!
2 – Pick a hobby and put your all into it
Hobbies are extremely important in life. I realized that a lot of times, I was busy dwelling on trivial matters or feeling down about myself because I had the time and energy to do so, when I could be putting all that time and energy into more important things! Like finding a way to release all that pent-up stress and anger! Hobbies not only keep you preoccupied but they also give you a greater sense of purpose. You’re doing something–you’re improving yourself and learning new things. It’s amazing to see the results, and there isn’t the stress of actual, grueling work behind such hobbies. You might not want to do more “work” after a tiring work day, but don’t think of hobbies as work. Think of hobbies as catharses.
Consider scrap-booking, photography, lettering, writing a blog, etc.
1 – Learn a new language
And for the last addition to your New Year’s resolutions… Hand-in-hand with picking up a hobby, learning a new language is a great stimulus for the brain. People often forget that it’s not only the body that needs exercise but also the mind. While watching documentaries or reading non-fiction is also a great activity, learning a new language is a great wake-up call to the brain because you’re more actively consuming something that is entirely foreign to you. Plus, it’s very practical, especially if you want to travel. Learning a new language will leave you feeling accomplished–it’ll put some structure in your life outside of work or school, and it will definitely boost your self-confidence! Not to mention, it serves as a door to a new culture!
If you want something a bit easier, learn a language that is similar to the one you know. For example, as both are Roman languages, it’s fairly easy to pick up Spanish if you’re an English speaker. If you can fluently speak Korean, you should go for Japanese! If you want something harder, do the opposite!
So those were a few suggestions I had for your New Year’s resolutions. I really hope that this will be helpful for you on your journey in 2018. Please share with me what New Year’s resolutions you are ultimately making for the upcoming year down below (they don’t have to be from my list)!