Time Over Trophy: Why Your New Year’s Resolutions are Shit

I have a dear friend who absolutely hates the grind of an early Monday morning. It doesn’t matter what season, month, or year it is- in her eyes, Monday morning’s equate to purgatory. Every Monday I ask her what her schedule looks like for the day, and often times it begins with a class on the other side of campus, followed by lunch, followed by a couple hours of studying, and her day is usually wrapped up with some kind of meeting or engagement in the evening prior to studying some more- that is, IF she decides not to go out to a bar or club with friends… and yet, most often when I see her she complains about how overwhelmed or unhappy she is with a certain aspect of her life; with this daily routine.

For me, 2015 and every year leading up to the celebration of yet another new year, has been surrounded by these friends who set phenomenal intentions for themselves carried out only through the end of January. Following that first month, we tend to find ourselves in a rut because we return to the rituals of previous years; We’re not happy because we don’t see any change.. And yet, throughout the entire month of January all we focused on was the reward sought, the trophy earned, rather than valuing the moment, the time spent, the experience.

For years people have said to me, “I’m going to do this,” or “I’m going to do that,” or my favorite: “I’m going to write a book someday.” And for those people, unfortunately such aspirations never seemed to materialize. Why is that? Because people have their heads down on a Monday morning. The same can be said for those who don’t see their new year resolutions through past January 31. All it takes is simple control of ones destiny.

What do I mean by that? Well for millennials, so many of you would rather ‘Netflix and Chill,’ sleep, party, etc. than you would read a book, go the gym, or meet with somebody to discuss a new pursuit, all of which might inevitably lead to your individual success in the new year — and that’s coming from me, a fellow millennial. Millennials seem almost directionless anymore. These are the people who are going through the motions every single day in an almost reactive, unconscious state without ANY idealized intention of who they are, who they want to be, or what they seek by the end of the day, week, semester, or year. So, yeah.. if you’re making resolutions to lose weight, read more, or travel (when you can’t afford it), while you’ve spent the first three days of 2016 binge watching Making a Murderer, sorry but, your resolutions are probably shit. Determining direction and auditing who you actually are as an individual plays a massive role in those resolutions that you’ve been setting and watching fall for the past 5, 10, 15 years. I always say that, “it is bringing attentiveness to the moment that makes you mindful of it” — particularly when determining your direction.

Once you’ve determined a direction, then let’s start talking about your goals and the time it takes to achieve them. Look, capitalizing on your goals is not about what or who you know, it’s about where you go and what you do there. It’s 2016, people. Not only do we live in a world that is moving at an incalculable speed, but we thrive in it. Sure, some of our ideas may be impractical and idealistic, but nonetheless we’re the reason for such a huge social shift- We control our own destiny and we work effortlessly to inspire our not-so-confident peers along the way. People living in 2016 should no longer accept our circumstances as an excuse for not being successful. As a millennial, I know it’s easy to get caught up in tradition and minutiae, but we have no reason not to refute that people rarely realize their dreams anymore. Your success is not predicated on your weight, your zip code, your shoe size, or the number of zero’s in your bank account.

The opportunity to grow and learn, your experience, is so invaluable- it will literally take your career and your life to the next level. In the opportunities I’ve had to speak to student groups across the country, I emphasize that you can get more direction in your life just by choosing to have it; you can minimize distractions in your life; you can choose not to detach yourself from experiences and opportunities, but rather to engage with them; you can control your own destiny- and when you do all of these things an entirely new level of life opens up to you: The new year, new you, new level that you’ve been waiting for.

So, ask yourself: Are you going to use the new year, 2016, to ‘find yourself’ or CREATE yourself? Are you going to start focusing on the time spent in your experience, or continue drooling over the trophy you might receive at the end of it all? What’s more important: Favoring the journey, or the destination?

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