Forget Resolutions, Just Be Better

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Ever wonder how New Year’s resolutions originated? I did, too. So I did some research. New Year’s resolutions originated thousands of years ago, tracing back to the ancient Babylonians and Romans. Back then, these people used resolutions as a way to appease the gods. As Christianity emerged, Christians also began to make promises to be more devout and cleanse the sins from the former year.

New Year’s resolutions, which are mainly secular these days, have now turned into a joke with the likelihood to keep them very slim. I’m sure they still have meaning to some; if for nothing else than to contemplate the year that has passed.

I don’t make resolutions. I do set goals. But these goals don’t hinge on a new year. I don’t need any additional pressure to “change” my life come January 1st. I want to always be willing and open to change and growth. So why not start every day with the hope to be a better person? I’m not a self help expert or a motivational guru. I’m just a real person with real challenges that loves to write. I don’t have it all together by any means. I just try hard every day to be better. Here are some thoughts on “better.”

Be accountable. This is your life. You made the choices, for better or worse, that led you to this moment. Stop blaming everything and everyone for your situation. Yes, we’ve all had things happen to us outside of our control. Right now at this moment you’ve got to stop thinking that someone or something else is the reason for your current condition. Own your own life! We’ve run out of time to change the past. Stop being stuck in it. Being stuck in the past is like quicksand. If you don’t clear your way out, you’ll sink into it and disappear.

If you are depressed, anxious or both, get help! There’s no reason to suffer. And your spouse, partner or best friend isn’t the help I mean. Yes, having a support system is important, but I mean professional help. There’s no shame in this. Take meds if you need them. It’s okay to ask for help. Because guess what, your life’s not perfect. And it doesn’t have to be.

Stop being so self-absorbed. Try being present with those in front of you. Put your phone away. Look people in the eye. Have a real conversation. Self absorption isn’t just about the self, it’s often disguised by whatever you’re focused on like your children or job. Look, I’m no expert on kids. I’m not a parent. But I have been obsessed with my career. That was my priority. I was always working. And my relationships suffered. So whether it’s kids or career or something else, just remember that if someone is taking the time to be present with you then reciprocate.

Stop waiting for that magical thing to happen that will make you feel happy or successful or some other emotion you crave. It’s not going to happen. Maybe it will, but don’t count on waking up the next day with all your worries gone and a cloak of happiness. I fell in that trap, thinking when I accomplish this professional goal then I’ll finally feel like a success. It never happened. While I still struggle with what “success” means, I’m no longer waiting for that unicorn to ride in with a “You’re a Success” banner. The same thing with relationships. Thinking that if you’ll find the “one” you’ll live happily ever after is utter bullshit. There is no “one”; there are people out there you’ll be more compatible with than others. Ultimately though you’ve got to be right with yourself to have a real, lasting relationship that is healthy. Stop waiting on that happiness train; it’s never on time and will pass you by.

So that’s my non-advice. I call it this because I don’t really think I’m in a position to provide advice. What I can do is tell good stories based on what I’ve learned. Writing this is as much for me as for anyone who reads it. Just remember, you’re still here. You’ve successfully made it through a lot of spectacular and horrible things. The only thing you need to do is just be better.

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