Most of us have a love/hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions. After all, there’s nothing quite like the start of a new year to add some needed fuel to your fire to hit the gym, eat healthier, or take up that hobby you’ve been promising yourself you’d try for years. But we all know that the burst of New Year’s motivation can flame out as quickly as it came leaving us feeling defeated by February.
But what if we could approach New Year’s resolutions differently?
The reason why so many of our well-intentioned resolutions ultimately fail is that they rarely come from a genuine desire to spark self-growth. Instead, they come from places of comparison—not feeling fit enough, successful enough, social enough (you get the idea.) So this year, we’re breaking that cycle by re-framing our approach to New Year’s resolutions.
The following five resolutions will spur you on in personal development. And while we won’t promise they’ll be a snap to stick with, you’ll definitely reap the benefits if you do.
That wellness guru you follow on Instagram is always talking about boundaries for a reason: setting them helps you acknowledge and respect your own self-worth. They allow you to move through your life in a way that feels safe, while still allowing you plenty of room to grow. So this year, dedicate yourself to figuring out what boundaries you need to set, and re-evaluating your current ones. Start small by setting a boundary that’s relatively easy to maintain (like pledging not to gossip), and then gradually work your way up.
Acknowledge Your Body
Let’s be real: if you’re not currently on a workout regimen, then promising you’ll get to the gym four times a week, every week in 2020 is setting yourself up for failure. So instead of setting an unrealistic fitness goal, commit to listening to your body. That could be doing yoga if you’re feeling stiff or taking the dog on a long walk if you’re feeling a bit restless. This is also a great way to approach changing your eating habits in a way that encourages growth and doesn’t leave room for beating yourself up for indulging a little bit. Listen to what your body needs and start eating from there—you’ll learn more about yourself than any diet will ever teach you in the process.
Channel Your Inner Bookworm
Pledging to read more isn’t exactly a groundbreaking resolution, but it’s one we can always get behind. So why not dedicate some of that reading time to encouraging self-growth this year? Whether you want to read 12 books or 200, carve out at least a few of those books for subjects that push your boundaries a little bit. That could be anything from taking a break from your true-crime addiction to read a few self-help books or seek out work from authors with different perspectives and backgrounds than your own. You may just discover a new passion or some new ideas that resonate deeply with you as you make your way through your reading list.
Follow What Feels Good
The three resolutions we just walked you through all really boil down to one thing: finding what feels good to you. And that’s what growth is all about, right? So this year, commit to not only finding those things but following them. If you discovered a new workout you loved while listening to your body or stumbled across a boundary that is truly important to you, give yourself the time and space to explore it fully. Don’t be afraid to shift your routine around to find those pockets of time—because we promise you’ll find that swapping out half an hour of social media scrolling for working on your passion project endlessly rewarding.
Seriously. Growing takes time—so this year, commit to fighting the urge to keep yourself overly busy. You’ll find that space you used to frantically fill up with extra work, social obligations you were less-than-excited about, or getting lost in never-ending group chats is where you’ll find room to grow and discover who you want to be in 2021. Even if it’s just 10 minutes a day, carve out some time to quiet down your brain and be still, you’ll be surprised about how quickly you’ll start to hear your heart.
This post was originally published on Jan 6, 2020, and has since been updated.