It seems like there are two kinds of people in January: those who passionately believe in setting New Year’s Resolutions, and those who find them completely and utterly pointless. I interact with both types, and I get both of their views. On one hand, resolutions are an amazing way to set new goals and aim for self-improvement. On the other hand, they can be notoriously hard to keep and wind up making us feel less-than-stellar about ourselves. That’s why, whenever the subject comes up, I urge people to make modest, realistic, and general goals to keep in mind as they embark on a new year.
At the start of 2017, I set a simple resolution for myself and it’s one that has become my personal mantra over the past few years. I decided that, no matter what situation I was confronted with, I’d always remember that I can do hard things. I love these words because they’re true.
I can do hard things, and you can do hard things, and 2019 should be the year of doing hard things.
It’s not some grand or overly-ambitious resolution that will be hard to stick with. It’s also not a meaningless phrase. It means that this year – and every year for that matter – we can all take small steps to do those things that we may have previously put off because they seem “too hard.” They might be hard, but they aren’t too hard. After all, you can do hard things!
Pursue that interest or hobby you’ve been thinking about.
…You know, that thing that you see others doing but pretend you’re not interested in joining, thanks to self-doubt or fear. Try out that hobby you keep reading about and researching in your spare time, but have assumed it’s meant for other people. Pursue that thing that you’ve half-heartedly attempted in the past, but retreated back to your comfort zone when it didn’t come easily. Don’t ignore those thoughts that keeps weaseling their way into your mind – they may take you out of your comfort zone, but there’s a reason your mind wanders to them in the first place.
Ditch the people that make you second-guess your worth.
There are plenty of people out there who will think you hung the moon. The friends who were with you in 2018 don’t necessarily need to be in your 2019. Don’t give your precious time to the people who don’t make you truly, genuinely, authentically happy. Romantic and platonic break-ups are hard, but you can do hard things.
Stop hating your body and start doing something that will make you love it.
I’ve found that there’s a huge difference between setting a superficial resolution (“I want to lose X pounds”) and setting an activity-based one (“I want to start taking one dance class every week” or “I want to train for a half marathon”). Do those things that will make you recognize the amazingness of your body. Remember, you can do hard things!
Work on kicking the bad habits.
This doesn’t happen overnight, as much as we wish it did. Think about your bad habits – those ones that you recognize deep down that make you feel icky, for lack of a better word. Whether it’s routinely procrastinating on homework, talking back to your parents, flaking on responsibilities, partying too much, or anything else, you know in your gut what behaviors don’t make you feel your best. Take active steps to fix those bad habits, and aim for progress rather than perfection. It’s hard! But you’re up to the challenge.
This is the ultimate New Year’s Resolution: When you find yourself complaining about something, ask yourself if I have the power to fix it. Don’t shy away from those obvious but “too hard” solutions. You can do hard things, and this year you will do hard things. Happy 2019!