The beginning of a new year seems to be a good time to evaluate our life, reconsider priorities, some things to change and some other to be grateful for, and to set a few resolutions that will drive our future direction. We can use this opportunity to actually grow and evolve, think carefully about the resolutions we make, and understand why we choose them.
If we make this little exercise following the next steps, we may be surprised to find out that what we saw as a problem in the past year, in the end it turned to be an opportunity, that certain goals don’t make sense anymore, that what makes us happy is something different than what we thought it would, and that our attitude towards life actually creates a different life.
So, these are 7 tips that can help you make the famous list of New Year’s resolutions!
1. Adopt a “growth mindset”
When doing a list of resolutions, we may look back at the struggles or painful situations we don’t want to have any more, but we sometimes forget to try to find the lessons in them instead of just rejecting or avoiding them. This can change the whole attitude we have when facing adversity, the impact it has on us, and our ability to actually adapt and even find the learning in it. And this applies to everything in life!
Our happiness ultimately depends more on how we face life than in what actually happens in it. We can adopt a “growth mindset” and understand that each situation has a lesson, and it’s especially in front of adversity when we grow the most. It’s in those situations when we are forced to reconsider our beliefs, ideas, goals, priorities and meaning of the world, and replace them with new ones when they are not valid anymore.
And as much as a child can’t stop growing up, we can’s stop learning as we live. When we resist the change, then everything is more difficult and we take situations more personal. And this is perhaps the secret of evolution, taking challenges as learning situations, being ready to adapt on the way!
Then, to reassess your values and realign priorities, what are the lessons form this year?
2. The power of gratitude
Another aspect you may want to consider when looking back and forward at the end of the year is gratitude. Gratitude directs us to see the positive things around us, impacts our priorities and values, enhances the sense of purpose, and it has effects on happiness and health!
A practice for the new year can be the daily exercise of thinking about three things you are grateful for, and three people you thanked them for something positive they did.
Think about it, wouldn’t this simple exercise make your day much brighter?
3. False beliefs about happiness keeps us unhappy
We all want to be happy, but we often miscalculate the things that would actually make us happier, and pursue a set of wrong beliefs about it. As Easterbook explains in his book “The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better while People Feel Worse”, linking material wealth to happiness has been proved to be an endless dissatisfaction, since there will always be something you can’t afford, and you will also have “reference anxiety” comparing yourself to those around you and worrying that you are not keeping up.
Easterbook also makes a very good point saying that, “Most of what people really want in life—love, friendship, respect, family, standing, fun—is not priced and does not pass through the market. If something isn’t priced, you can’t buy it, so possessing money doesn’t help much.”
According to this, what does it really make you happy?
4. Vulnerability allows us to take risks
Being uncertain is one reason we avoid vulnerability, but it is also a major reason we avoid risk. If we can’t be allowed to be uncertain of the outcome, we’ll be locked into the same path (situations, people, activities, etc) and we won’t adapt when needed. In other words, allowing yourself to be vulnerable is also a sign of courage!
You can start questioning yourself, what are you not doing to avoid vulnerability?
5. Trust and connection builds intimacy
Connection teaches trust and builds intimacy, and our sense of belonging and safety depends also on that, and ultimately our happiness. Trust can be difficult if we keep the memories when we were hurt and take them personal, and intimacy can be built easier when we are authentic without playing roles. And both aspects are an ongoing process of having an attitude of understanding, forgiving, and trusting!
Do you want to build better relations? How could you improve this point?
6. The trick to be healthier starts in the mind
And all this also applies to eating cleaner and becoming healthier next year! Replacing old habits with new ones depends a lot on our priorities and tools to face adversity. The process to become healthier starts in the mind, so don’t worry about the cost of “organic food” for now, because there is probably lots of room for you to improve that depends on you, so start with that!
Realising our tendencies, the reasons of “unhealthy” habits, our priorities, and our assumptions about what being healthy means, can really make us healthier in the long term. And education is key for changing our priorities and having criteria to make sound decisions!
Can you question your assumptions about health and food? What are the reasons of your unhealthy habits? Can you educate yourself more about these topics?
If you would like to learn more about this, you can have a look at our book series “Food Wisdom” that will guide you through the fundamentals and topics about nutrition and health, in clear and simple ways!
7. Mindfulness makes us more present
Mindfulness helps to set the time and mental space to observe yourself and your tendencies, allowing deeper understanding, and helping you to evolve. So, instead of acting in automatic pilot, choose to be more mindful in your daily life!
To bring more mindfulness to your days will also help you to put all your New Year’s resolutions in practice, because in the end practice is different than theory, and it’s not always easy! But you know what? Challenges happen all the time, so you will have many opportunities to practice and test your progress! Remember:
Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
G. Easterbrook, The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better while People Feel Worse (New York: Random House, 2004), 87 ...
Leverage for personal trainers - Claire Dorotik-Nana (ISSA)