“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s hard to believe, but the eve of 2015 is upon us. Whether or not you habitually make resolutions for the new year, it’s hard to deny that there is something promising about the threshold that is December 31st. This is the time not only to take stock of all that you’ve accomplished in the past 365 days but also to think about what you wish you had made a reality.
The thing that makes the idea of crafting a proper New Year’s sesolution so daunting is the enormity of the task. Is it really possible to achieve a dream in just twelve month’s time? Well, perhaps, but that’s not a very realistic expectation for most people. Life can often get in the way, and it’s easy to make a proclamation for success today but lose your drive as the reality sets in that the new year actually isn’t all that different from the last.
That’s where we at the Endpaper Blog come in. Because we’ve all been forced to admit defeat in the face of failed resolutions, we’re sharing what we’ve learned from the past in hopes of helping us all achieve our goals in the coming year.
First and foremost, be kind to yourself. The point of a resolution is to help you achieve a goal and feel good about the direction your life is taking, not to beat you down over the failure of an unrealistic dream. So, if in past years your unaccomplished goals have sounded like “I will get married” or “I will become a famous writer,” why not break that down into the core of what you really want. Instead of aiming for a marriage, why not say, “This year I will love myself so that I can be a happy and healthy partner in a relationship with a real future.” Instead of expecting fame and fortune, tell yourself, “This year, I will take a course/find an agent/submit ten short stories to help make my dream of being a successful writer possible.”
Break it Down
Saying, “I will… save $5000/lose 25 pounds/write one screenplay” is easy when you have a full year ahead, but when it’s all of a sudden November 23rd and you’re no closer to your goal than you were on January 1st you know you’re in trouble. Save yourself the last-minute stress and make a goal that might actually let you feel the sweet sense of accomplishment by pinpointing ideal final result into a series of smaller successes. If you want to write that screenplay, go for it! Just tell yourself, “I will have my characters and story arc fleshed out by February 28th” or “I will have my first act complete by the end of winter” and focus on achieving these easier-to-manage steps as you go.
Focus on Others
Breaking a promise to yourself, though upsetting, is relatively easy. Breaking a promise to someone else feels awful. So why not set a goal with a friend or, even better, make a commitment to help others this year? Promising yourself that you will volunteer in 2015 is a great way to give back to your community as well as achieve a particular goal. You can connect this to your own, more personal wishes, but with the added impetus of not wanting to let someone else down! Want to get healthier this year? Why not volunteer with Big Brothers/Big Sisters or join a community sports league? Aiming to increase your literary skills? Volunteer to read to children or the elderly. Combining a selfless deed with a personal resolution is a great way of keeping you on track while helping others achieve their goals, as well.
Above all, try to find a happy middle between your ultimate dream and an achievable accomplishment. It’s important to aim for the top, but if you also need to give yourself positive encouragement along the way.
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