Welcoming 2017 with a determination to change

New Year’s Resolutions is a hot topic, especially as we are finally into 2017!  Congratulations!  We made it through 2016!  However, some people point out that resolutions seem unrealistic or even silly like in the previous post, and they’re not entirely wrong.  It is true that a new year doesn’t actually mean new beginnings – after all, time is linear and not tangible.  It’s essentially a human construct.  And it is true that you should live every day fighting for a goal or accomplishment instead of giving up in the middle and waiting until the new year comes around. But I like the idea of New Year’s Resolutions.  I think that it gives me a time frame that I want to work with – a whole year to work for what I want.  And I think the key to having New Year’s Resolutions is that you have to make it realistic and meaningful.

Some people choose unrealistic resolutions or goals that they aren’t actually passionate about.  It only works if you choose things that you really, truly, with all your being want to accomplish or change. Something that you think is possible because you can feel it inside of you or you’re feeling super up to the challenge.  If you halfheartedly throw out, “Oh, I guess I’ll lose some weight next year,” when you’re already thinking about all the burgers you want to eat or shuddering at the exercise to come because your body is repulsed by the idea with all its being or just indifferent about it but feeling guilty like you should care, then of course that is not going to work. You don’t have the willpower for that. That’s not a true resolution. You have to pick something that you really want to work on, like a workman whittling down wood at his table carefully and lovingly.  Something you can see yourself dedicated to throughout the year.

It’s sort of interesting how it works.  I never cared much about resolutions until 2014.  I mean, I made them, but I wasn’t that serious about them.  I didn’t really believe in them.  Then at the end of 2014, I had a couple things I wanted to work on in 2015, but, and this is key, only one or two super goals that I absolutely had to accomplish. See, it’s not about stuffing everything into a long list and checking each one off – it’s about picking just one or two projects you really want to focus on and then hoping to finish it by the time the next year rolls around.
For 2015, I wanted to travel more, and I did.  I went to Chicago and Los Angeles.  I also wanted to be more social, and I was.  I worked hard on seeing my friends more often.  By the end of the year, there was a great feeling of accomplishment.  It might not seem like much, but it’s quality over quantity. I was more than satisfied.  However, interestingly enough, I had a feeling of dread for 2016.  I didn’t know what the point was because I knew it was going to be a bad year – and it was. It truly was. I think, honestly, I was also a bit worn out from 2015, but I’m ready to get back on my feet because 2016 is now gone.  I am determined to make 2017 a better year – and it’s all about positive thinking.  That has always been hard for me.  So that’s one of my main goals: to think more positively.  Believe me, I have a very long list, but I think that’s one of the super goals for this year, something very important to me.  My negative thinking has, for too long, impacted me negatively – because that’s how it works: mind over matter.  Your mind is a powerful thing.  My pessimism leads to stress and anxiety which leads to bad health.  I’ve been struggling with it because my new year started with a huge decision, but I like that I can feel that struggle.  I see how bad the problem is, which makes me even more determined to fix it.  Awareness is the first step and I’ve been aware for a long time. The next is the desire to change.  The struggle is all part of the process, so, while it’s hard, I welcome it, and it does indeed make me feel alive.
Another one of my big goals, though second in priority to the aforementioned, actually can be split into sub-goals.  I want more hobbies.  I think that when I have time, I feel obligated to work on more “important” projects like stories, scripts, and other things to get me closer to my career goals.  However, it’s hard always working on things so seriously all the time, to the point they begin to feel more like chores.  Hobbies seem like a nice balance of work and play, and I do think it would be nice to busy myself by picking up new skills or honing old ones.  This could also start a domino effect that would increase my productivity in all areas of my life.  Freshening up my mind with new things could rekindle my joy for other things, as well.  A few I’m considering are going back to drawing regularly, picking up guitar, pursuing photography, etc.

If you think too much about resolutions, you are bound to get overwhelmed, burdened, and freaked out, leading to you backing out and then feeling guilty because you didn’t accomplish your resolutions.  Don’t let it be such a serious thing; it’s something that you do for yourself because you want to.  You didn’t sign a contract with dire consequences upon breaching it.  Believe in yourself.  Make resolutions you really care about.  And then don’t say any disclaimers about the likelihood of you failing because if you don’t believe in yourself, who will?  No one is going to judge you for failing in the end, and if they do, why should you care?  You weren’t doing it for them in the first place. If they’re true friends, they should chastise you for speaking nonsense and then saying they have faith in you. Also, don’t have resolutions if you don’t want to.  Just say you don’t have any when asked instead of trying to come up with something that you don’t mean for the sake of having an answer to the question. Everyone is different, and this really may not work for some people. For me, I take my resolutions seriously, and so I believe I have already accomplished something this year – deciding who I want to become. That already makes me one step closer to my future self. There’s nothing better than having a goal, feeling a purpose, and wanting to be a better me.

Happy New Year, everyone!  I truly hope you have an amazing 2017!

-Annie

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