The Cold Penguin

expanding the box

Making resolutions

on December 31, 2013

I tell people I’m not a New Year’s person, but that’s not true.  I am not a person who goes to a big New Year’s party, dance and drinks the night away, and celebrates like crazy at midnight.  In fact, I’m usually in bed at midnight on January 1st.  Usually I am woken up by celebrating on the streets (my neighborhood LOVES fireworks!) but quickly fall back to sleep after all the revelry has died down.  So in that aspect, I am not a New Year’s person.

I do love the idea of a new start, a new outlook on life, and a whole year that is filled with optimism and goals.  I enjoy letting go of all the unhappy events over the past year, shedding the past, and looking towards a happy and hopeful future.  So in that aspect, I am a New Year’s person.

So I guess I like New Years Resolutions, not so much the New Years party.

Despite the fact that I love New Year’s resolutions, I’m like most people in that life gets in the way, I fall off the wagon, and forget them by April.  I hate that, but at least for the first few months of the year, I’m working to better myself and my life.

Perhaps the reason I don’t stick with resolutions is that I don’t make meaningful ones.  They are great, well-intention desires, but clearly they are not as important to me as I think they are, or I would continue to work towards reaching my goal.  For example, I think yoga would make my physical and emotional wellbeing so much better, but I never have attended a yoga class.  Even though I know it will benefit me, I love to run, to jump, to sweat, not stretch, and that love of running, jumping and sweating beats out the knowledge that yoga will benefit me.  If you are not ready to  make the change, a resolution will not work.

I’ve been thinking a ton about what resolutions to make.  I want to have a healthy, happy 2014, as we all do.  But what steps really will lead me down that path?  It’s easy to figure out what makes you healthier, even though taking the steps can be difficult.  But to be happy.  It’s not as easy to figure out what will make you happy.  And I am a big believer that happiness leads to good health.  So happy should take center stage.

A while back I read the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.  Even though it is a cheesy self-help book, it doesn’t feel or read like one.  It’s an enjoyable and educational book.

Gretchen suggests answering some seemingly simple questions:

  1. What makes you feel good?  What activities do you find fun, satisfying and energizing?
  2. What makes you feel bad?  What are sources of anger, irritation, boredom, frustration, or anxiety in your life?
  3. Is there any way in which you don’t feel right about your life?  Do you wish you could change your job, city, relationships or any other circumstance?  Are you living up to your expectations for yourself?  Does your life reflect your values?
  4. Do you have sources of an atmosphere of growth?  In what elements of your life do you find progress, learning, challenge, improvement and increased mastery?

(from page 313 in the Happiness Project)

Answering these questions can guide you to your resolutions.  So if you are like me and struggling with your resolutions, and don’t want to make the same silly resolutions you do every year and forget them soon after, then answer these questions.  I will be working on them for a while myself, and I’ll report back to you on my completed resolution list.  Take your time!  It’s better to have true and good resolutions in Jan 3rd then bad ones on Jan 1!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

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