As we welcome 2021 into our lives and say goodbye to the sorrows and joys that 2020 has brought, let’s not forget the lessons it has taught us. I say this because it can be quite easy to get enamored by the idea of a new beginning that you don’t notice that you’re falling into the same pitfalls as you did in the past. Which is why, at the beginning of each new year we create resolutions on how we wish to improve based on our shortcomings in the past, but we struggle to apply new solutions. Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.” In our case, the problem is falling into the pitfalls of creating a New Year’s resolution for the same things – losing weight, getting good grades, finding a work-social life balance, etc. – but we don’t try to improve on what went wrong before.
Personally, I’ve never been a believer of New Year’s resolutions yet as we enter a brand new year I can’t help but repeat the mantra “A new year, a new me.” I’m sure that I’m not the only one who’s fallen into this habit. Although it works for some, for most people these habits or habit building intentions only last a couple weeks at most – and sporadically at that. This is primarily due to the fact that most people are result oriented. So, they’ll try anything for a couple of weeks but as soon as they don’t see any actual results, they quit and return back to the bad habits which delivered “rewards” instantly.
This year, one of the things which I have been primarily fascinated with is the idea of self growth. It’s something that I both talk and write about often, but what is it. Well, self growth is different for everyone. And yes for the most part self growth is about change. But the change that it brings into a person’s life depends on the significance that a habit or action has to that individual. If you think about it, New Year’s resolutions are all about self growth. They’re the plan that an individual has regarding what they wish to spend the next 365 days of their life working towards. For example, someone who is unhappy with their weight decides that their number one resolution is to lose weight. Why? Because to them losing the excess weight that they have will lead to them becoming healthier, more disciplined and overall much happier.
Although self growth is the journey of an individual towards their ideal self, like most things it is a journey that will be filled with criticisms and haters. Going back to the example of a person whose number one resolution is to lose weight, they might deal with people making assumptions that this individual is doing this to attract someone or to “fit in”. They might also come across people who will give them sugar coated insults, encouraging the individual’s growth whilst hurting their self confidence. Regardless of the hate or support that a person gets on their journey the most important thing to keep in mind is that even though actions are a great way to reach your goal, the true journey comes from within. Because believe it or not mind over matter is more than just a cliche saying, its fact. No goal becomes achievable unless you have the right mindset – a growth mindset.
The biggest part of having a growth mindset is being able to admit to yourself the true reasons as to why your past solutions have failed and how you got to this point in your life. So many of us grew up being taught that honesty is the best policy, yet so few of us actually apply that lesson to ourselves. Learning to be honest with yourself is one of the biggest proof of self growth. Why? Because as much as you may deny it, the number one person we lie to is ourselves and we do this every time we know something isn’t good for us yet we try to justify it. Be it in the form of “I’m totally going to wear this $300 jacket everyday” even though you’ll end up wearing the jacket a couple of times then leave it in your closet and let it collect dust. Or “I’m not tired at all, I’ll just watch one more episode” even though you’re extremely exhausted and probably have a lot to do the next day. We all justify the bad habits that we have from the small ones – such as procrastinating and time wasting – to the big ones – such as over spending. It doesn’t make you a bad person it just makes you a person.
Which is why the biggest difference between a person who claims they want to change and a person who is actually able to is their ability to be brutally honest especially with themselves. Remember at the end of the day you are your own competition. Because if you think about it, you are the only person that is constantly around you. That’s why if you are unable to hold yourself accountable and be brutally honest with yourself then you will just continuously fall into the same cycle of broken habit building. That’s why most of us have a repetitive New Year’s resolutions li
st everytime the New Year comes around.
So, now that we’ve reached the end of 2020 and are staring down the barrel to all the wonders that 2021 has here’s a few things to keep in mind before reaching for your pen and paper. One, there is nothing wrong with failing and having a repetitive list of resolutions but just make sure you mix up the solutions that you use so that you increase your chances of achieving your goals. Two, honesty is the best policy especially with yourself. Being honest no matter how much the truth may suck will not only help you grow but it will make you much happier. This is because you no longer leave yourself constantly asking “why did this happen” or “how could this happen to me” we all know the answer to these questions 90% of the time we’re just scared of admitting it – ignorance is bliss and all that. Lastly and most importantly, always keep in mind that growth isn’t linear and that no two journeys are the same. It’s easy to want to be like others and do what they do in hopes of achieving a similar life that they have, but it isn’t ideal. So, when you write your New Year’s resolutions keep these three things in mind, and maybe by next year we might all be able to put an end to the repetitive resolutions list that we have.
by Ayah Barghout