Update: I wrote this post originally in 2015. My how things have changed. Hense, the necessary update. Enjoy these timeless techniques.
Resolutions have never really worked for me. I bet they haven’t for you either. They don’t work for most of us because we over expect, underachieve, and give up quickly as our priorities change fast. We just continue to compete in the game of life thinking that we’re getting ahead, all the while never feeling truly satisfied. And even when we do feel an ounce of satisfaction, it doesn’t last.
So why do we put all this pressure on ourselves at the beginning of a new calendar year by setting New Year’s Resolutions? The simple answer is because we think we have to live up to the status quo.
In today’s modern societies, we feel fueled by the hustle and bustle of consumption and the continual climb up the ladder of success. Many of us set tremendous goals for losing weight fast or eliminating bad habits instantly. We go for extreme diets, fast-fixes, and expect immediate results. Not just in our changed habits or physique, but in our mental shifts too.
Therein lies the problem. There is a disconnect between the story of our desires and our actual reality of what it takes to “achieve” them. You get air quotes there because the achievement or the outcome you’re setting is not really what matters. We just think it does. If we really want to set goals and accomplish them, we have to not just create resolutions, we have to create transformations.
It’s the transformational process that occurs to create that outcome that matters most. Setting big goals is a great any time of year. But in reality, when we define them as an end-all-be-all New Year’s Resolution, we’re actually just setting expectations that are doomed to failure. That is unless we consciously choose to transform our mental state too.
So instead of setting some big goal and calling it a New Years Resolution, I encourage you to make give this a try instead:
Seek Joy Every Day.
That’s it. Just tell yourself that each day you will seek to find inner peace and joy in every moment that you can.
Even the ugly moments.
Dig deep in those times of turmoil, not for strength. But for peace. Stillness. Space.
Out of sight out of mind. Ya? Well, then the opposite is also true. Put it in your sight and it will be in your mind. See joy and you will think about joy. If we can all allow ourselves to pause and see the beauty in everyday moments, unexpected experiences, and in life’s most extreme challenges, we will start to achieve greater things with less effort and less time. When we go with the flow, allow life to be as it is, and step out of our story of what must be, the fog clears and we see the infinite possibilities available to us.
Discover little bits of happiness in any given moment and you will discover the perfect path for accomplishing all those big goals you’ve set for the new year. Stop doing so much and you will get more done. It may sound counter-intuitive because it is. It’s counter-intuitive to the pre-conditioned mental map you have of how to “achieve” success.
Don’t just set a resolution. Promise yourself a transformation.
Wake up to what’s in your control by discovering stillness and you will achieve more than you’re wildest dreams can imagine right now. In the new year ahead, don’t push yourself to the limits and expectations that society sets. Find significance in the power of seeking little joys in life.
Want to start right now? Forget January 1st. I’ve compiled a list of 8 thought-provoking practices that will help you transform your idea of what’s it’s like to feel joy and truly achieve success in life. If you can remember any of these practices once a day, you will achieve your goals faster than you can ever imagine.
Our one true purpose in life is to enjoy it as much as we can, every moment that we can. Let that be your resolution for the new year.
Happy New. Day.