New year brings the same old shit. Hangover, credit card bill, a few extra kilograms. A mental list of resolutions that you kinda already know you’re not going to stick to, but you’ll play along for a couple of weeks before going back to the “I’ll start next week” mentality. Before you blink, it’s Christmas again, and you never did get round to that thing that was going to change your life.
There are several things I want to get through to your brain about resolutions this year. Ready?
1. BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
That’s not to say, don’t have goals that challenge or stretch you, but if you decide to do a single thing because you think you “should be” rather than because you want to, then you are destined to fail, my friend. You’re lying to yourself from the outset.
If you “should” be doing something, then what you’re really saying to yourself is, “I don’t want to do this, but I think society/people/my boss/friends/that guy I like will judge me more favourably if I do, so I’m going to”.
This is not being an authentic bitch. This is lying to yourself. If you GENUINELY want to do something, you will, and it will make you happy. If you SHOULD do something, you might do it, but it will be painful, you’ll hate the process and probably dislike yourself by the time you achieve that thing you should achieve. (disclaimer here- when your boss tells you to do something, you kinda got to, but you get what I mean).
OK, second thing.
2. BE REALISTIC
If you want the world, you’re setting yourself up for failure. If this is you on January 1st: “This year I’m going to learn to drive, buy a house, get a new job, meet the man I’m gonna marry, and go on my dream holiday” then I guarantee this is you on December 31st: I didn’t achieve ANYTHING I set myself up to achieve this year. I’m a failure! I hate myself! Pass me the gin”.
Life is short, and I advocate packing in as much as possible. But be realistic about what you might achieve. Break it down into achievable little bitesize pieces, and focus on one thing at a time.
Life is a balancing act. Never will everything be perfect, so it’s your job to seek out happiness in key areas of your life, and work towards them in a way that means you’ll actually do them.
And remember to peek up from your goal-focused actions from time to time, and enjoy the journey going on around you. Sometimes the best part of hitting a life goal is actually the cool stuff that’s going on while you’re striving to get there.
That brings me onto my third point…
3. GET COMFORTABLE WITH SACRIFICE
I learned a theory recently that your life is split into 3, with you- grand high chimp, sitting as decision maker in the middle of all of them. The first is you as an individual, the second is you with friends and family, and the third is you in your career. Personal You, Family You and Career You.
All three of these ‘yous’ cannot be 100% happy, healthy, fulfiled and funcitoning at any one time because you are not a robot. You are a human. You need to get comfortable with this fact.
And so, if you decide that this is the year you focus on your career- I mean REALLY focus (you wanna start a business, you wanna get promoted…) then you HAVE to get comfortable with the fact that this means Personal You and Family You might need to step back a bit, and let Career You take the spotlight.
Admit to yourself from the onset that for the next 3 months, you might not be seeing your friends as much, or that you might not be able to keep up your regular gym routine. There’ll be times when the balance is different. Understand this concept of sacrifice and you’ll be fulfilled rather than frustrated. It’s about taking it easy on yourself while following your dreams.
4. BEING NORMAL IS NOT BEING LAZY
Just as you should get comfortable with the fact that one area of your life might have to get stripped back if another is charging ahead, you should also get comfortable with the fact that sometimes, it’s nice to just coast. It’s not lazy. It’s actually just nice. It’s ok for Personal You and Family You and Career You to be set at “content” rather than smashing it and looking to achieve The Next Great Thing.
What’s wrong with being an average, happy human who does ok in each aspect of their lives, exactly? Stop shaming yourself if you are happy to ride the waves and don’t want to go crazy Achieving Life Goals like some human version of a self-help book.
5. HAPPINESS SHOULD BE ENOUGH
I say this so often, I’m boring myself. Decide what happy is to you. And smother yourself in it. Take one hour, one peaceful hour on a Sunday night after a hot shower or bath, warm and snuggly in your onesie, and just think “what makes me feel happy?” visualise it. Which people? Parents, children, best friend? Which parts of your job? Strategy, projects, making a sale? What activities? Reading, walking, sweating at the gym?
Make 2016 the year that you try to spend at least 75% of your time doing things that make you happy. They don’t have to be goal orientated. They just gotta make you feel good. Boring work meetings and cleaning the cat litter tray will occupy that left over 25% of daily activities, so make sure the rest of it’s surrounding you with things that make you happy, no matter how simple they are.
Be honest with yourself about these things. Remember to ask yourself, does this actually make me happy, or am I doing it because it “should” make me happy? Ditch the should. Persue happy. And 2016 is about to get a whole lot more enjoyable.