Looking Back, Moving Forward

Around New Year time, most of us look back at the previous year and start making a list of resolutions for the coming one. Are you one of those? Did you review 2010 and decided to make a change in your life in 2011? I want to speak only for myself  – yet something inside me confirms that many of you feel the same. Those resolutions/decisions for change do not unfortunately last long. Some promise to quit smoking, others to cut back on alcohol/caffeine. Some say they’ll start going to the gym regularly, others say they’ll lose weight. This set of new decisions – in addition to physical ones – also includes emotional changes – which in most cases contribute more to overall hapiness. Such decisons might range from promising oneself to stop speaking to people that hurt us, to giving somebody new a chance… from deciding to not give as much without receiving back, to stop hoping/wishing for something one cannot have.

New Year Resolutions. I’m definitely not a fan. I don’t make these decisons because I know I never stick to them. According to an article sent by a dear friend (written by a psychologist – which honestly inspired me for this blog entry), 22% of people who take such decisions give up during the first week of the year, while 40% quit at the end of the first month and 60% at the end of three months. So why do we give up so quickly and easily if we are in desperate need of such change? Why does the feeling suddenly fade away? According to the same article, because we choose short-term pleasure over long run happiness/well-being. YES! EXACTLY! Because when we want to lose weight, we don’t want it to be healthier or one size smaller.. we want it because we want to fit in THAT dress, look good in THAT bikini. So once we wear that dress or that bikini, we’re not motivated anymore. The task is accomplished.  The article also argues that a very common mistake we do is to set goals that are open-ended and not specific enough. Abstract goals, it argues, ruins our plans instead of taking us to our target. It’s much more efficient to say “I will lose 3 kilos until 1 June” than saying “I will pay more attention to my weight”.

Although I don’t make a list of such resolutions, neverthless for the first time this year, I gave it a thought and reviewed 2010. Some things I regret, others I wish did not happen.. Anything I can do now? Pretty much nothing. Anything I would like to do now? To stop looking back and move forward. I learned a lot this year.. I learned to not trust everybody – because not everything everybody says is true. I learned not to push somebody for something they do not desire – because at the end, it won’t happen; even if it does, it won’t be how you want it to be. I learned to value friends a lot (even more than ever before) – because at the end of the day, they are the ones that guide you through finding your own happiness. I learned not to sit silent when something that needs your reaction is happening out there. I learned there are times when you have to say someone that they make you upset. I learned that leaving some people out of your life, although painful at first, will make you get a good night sleep after a while. And many more..

I honestly am not sure what the best way to succeed in executing these decisions is – according to the stats above, the fourth day of the year is still too early to see how it’ll go. But I will give you a hint I recently discovered. Will that slight change make you smile? Will that make you happy? Will that make you love yourself? Yes? So what are you waiting for? Work on it. Here! And now! Only when something makes you smile, somebody else will smile at you. Do it. And do it only for you.

How about you – do you have anything you’d like to change in your life? Did you ever give that a thought? Do you believe they’re almost impossible to achieve? Isn’t it still worth a shot?

I’d like to offer you a goal for the coming year: happiness.

Remember, being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.

Happy New Year all!

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