It’s two week into the new year of 2016, and I’m seeing everywhere things about New Year’s Resolutions. Blog posts, status updates, articles and mentions on television. It’s the popular topic of this time of year, what’s on everyone’s mind: what am I going to make of this new year?
I’ve mentioned before my slight issues with resolutions. But don’t get me wrong – I think resolutions are great. It’s a great practice to set goals for yourself, to hold yourself to a new standard as the new year comes around. But just as much as there are mentions of what resolutions people should endeavor to adopt, there are just as many on the little use of resolutions at all.
I myself have always set New Year’s Resolutions, ever since I learned what they are. I thought it was a cool way to set goals and plan for the new year. But, like many people, I never usually got around to fulfilling the majority of those resolutions. And then the next year, I would oftentimes have the same resolutions as a kind of rollover system. They were things that I wanted to get done and become habit, so I would continue putting them on the list until that happened.
Being in an eternal cycle of not fulfilling resolutions and just putting them on the list again for the following year serves nothing except an increase in self disappointment. And being disappointed in yourself makes you not want to try again – you’ve violated your own trust.
Maybe the problem lies not in the resolution itself, but in the reason why you never fulfilled that resolution in the first place. If your resolution is to go to the gym more, think about why you never when in the first place. Were you lazy? Procrastinating? Scared of the judgement of everyone else there?
I’ve found that more likely than not, the reason people don’t do things or procrastinate on them is because of some sort of fear. Fear of pain, of judgement, of conflict, of failure. Fear tends to be our biggest motivator in not doing something, or putting it off. Fear is a paralytic – it definitely has been for me.
Having resolutions is great – it’s great to have goals for yourself for the coming year. But those resolutions won’t happen, won’t be fulfilled, if the underlying fear is not faced and conquered. Fear is the real problem, the real deterrent, so confronting that fear is the first step to actually accomplishing your goals.
2016 is a new year, a year to make things happen. Maybe you have a list of resolutions, or a mantra, or a word to define the year. But also make this a year in which you conquer your fear, whatever that may be. It is the year of courage, it is time to be brave. And being brave in the face of the fear that has held you back so many times before is how to best live and own the new year. “New Year, New You” only works if you have the courage to fully pursue it.