Despite the admittedly unencouraging weather this time of year, many people use the first few weeks of the new year to strive for improvement in themselves. It seems, in what is quite literally the darkest hour, we search for the light (and by we, I don’t necessarily include myself). New Year’s Resolutions give people purpose, they allow us to believe that not only will we be better, but that this year will be better for it. So here are a few ways to help make those resolutions a bit easier to manifest.
Start right away
Procrastination is a great ill. Personally, I think it may well be the nectar of the gods, but most people tell me I’m wrong. Whatevs. Anyway, if you don’t get going the day after making that resolution, you may never begin to make it come true. As days go by, you’re more likely to accept further postponement, until it’s New Year’s Eve again and you have to start all over. But stay positive! We at TEDxWarwick believe in you- we’re contractually obligated to.
Don’t make a big deal of it
Instead of proclaiming to your friends your enormous plans to conquer the world, keep them to yourself. Not only will this make them like you more, it will also make you more likely to accomplish your goals. By telling people about your targets, you receive a hit of dopamine from their (we’re hoping) positive reaction, giving yourself the sensation of having accomplished something when you haven’t even had the chance to begin. This is especially true if you do plan to conquer the world, as it appears people enjoy getting in the way of that.
There will be days which won’t be particularly effective in moving you towards your goal. The important thing is to stay optimistic and keep moving forward. Take the bad days as motivation, making sure that the next day is good. Giving up does you no good. As Michael Scott says, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take- Wayne Gretzky.” And you know what? He’s right. Just like when he said, “The early worm gets the worm.”
Single-minded focus can be a good thing, but it’s also necessary to identify its limitations. Sometimes your goal, or at least your way of going about it, will need to change. Conditions won’t necessarily remain the same for the duration of your project, and you’ll need to be prepared to roll with the punches. Staying in determined obstinacy will make it harder for yourself, and let’s face it, these resolution things are hard enough without making it worse for ourselves.
The start of the new year is a great time to decide to make improvements to yourself and to your life, but positive change should not be limited to January. Make those resolutions happen, but don’t be afraid to create more as the year goes on so you don’t have to wait until the ball drops to start living better. Me? I’m looking into building my own ant colony. Wish me (and the ants) luck.
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