Whether you are religious or not you might practice a day of devotion or ritualistic vows of self-improvement on January 1st. Most of our resolutions though, tend to fail.
For example, gym memberships literally spike after NY, they start to decline after the 3rd week of January already, and after eight months around half of the people who signed up have stopped going completely.
Why is that though? If self-improvement goals were so easy to achieve, we wouldn’t have to make them in the first place anyway, we would change what we want to change right? We believe that if we meet our pre-set goal our lives will be better if the transformation requires some sacrifice. The reason we don’t make it to the end is that we choose resolutions that don’t really match our true idea or goal of greater happiness.
We need to ask ourselves what are we really trying to improve? In almost every case it is happiness. Successful resolutions are associated with celebrating oneself for ongoing success, avoiding temptation and positive thinking, basically, the key to success is positive motivation.
What would really make us happy?
Here are some bits of advice that hopefully, everyone will find useful: forgiveness and gratitude. Think of five people who hurt you, make a list of them and try to use a technique called REACH to forgive them.
R – Recall the hurt
E – Empathise with the offender
A – Altruistic gift of forgiveness
C – Commit
H – Hold on to forgiveness
Be grateful. Easier said than done of course, we all understand how hard it is to feel grateful, especially after everything we’ve been through from a global pandemic to personal struggles, but despite everything, all of us have something to be grateful for.
The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology performed a study on two groups of people. People in the first group were told to write a short weekly list of things they were grateful for, whereas people in the second group were told to list hassles or simple neutral events. After ten weeks the first group shows to have more joy and life satisfaction compared to the second one and also feel mentally and physically better and naturally wanted to exercise more. It seems like it’s more successful to improve your happiness and let that be your motivation rather than forcing yourself to exercise (for example) and then become happier. So why don’t we try to sit down for 10 minutes in this first week of 2022 and write a list of 3 things that we are grateful for? Then every evening before going to bed we have a look at it and every 2 weeks we add two more things. We will all see how long the list will become and how empowered you will feel.