Whenever we think of resolutions, they seem to always be tied to an objective we cannot tangibly reach, or patterned after someone else’s success. It’s always, “I’m going to be thin/rich/promoted/married,” and so on.
The trap we often fall into is comparing our achievements with others instead of focusing on our own progress, forgetting that our paths are unique to us and that every “successful” person has their own faults and shortcomings.
It’s true what Bill Gates said: “Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world. If you do so, you are insulting yourself.”
It might be more effective to change your perception instead, and allow this change of outlook attract good things into your life, and permanently alter the way you look at the world.
Try the following:
1. Say “yes” instead of “no” and see what happens. Say yes to that date with someone you know isn’t exactly your type. Say yes to that task at work you’ve been dreading. Say yes to a friend who wants to go out late at night.
Surprise yourself by changing your normal response and a different outcome awaits. It’s human nature to hope for a different result without changing any factors, but what would happen if we actually changed our input? Maybe something good will come out of it, or at least a learning experience.
2. Instead of “I hate” say “I love” and see how an annoyance becomes just a bump in the road to laugh at and ignore.
Example: “I hate Jason, he’s such a jerk coworker!” versus “I love how Jason just acts that way!” Or, “I hate the freaking traffic!” versus “I love how the roads just seem to slow down when I need to get someplace.” The forced positivity, no matter how sarcastic, makes it hard to be so angry when you use the word “love” in speech. It’s easy to seethe in anger, but not in amusement.
3. Change the scenery. If you can’t make immediate changes to your current situation, remove yourself from it, even temporarily. Make a plan to travel.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page,” said St. Augustine. Shake up your life by seeing new things, tasting new flavors, speaking other tongues. It doesn’t even have to be so far away. Explore your own country, and by that I don’t mean fancy resorts and shopping malls. Go to a nearby province, stay in a modest room and find out where the local market is, figure out their food specialties, meet locals, and drink warm beers.
We are so focused on ourselves that we forget the peace others have in the way they’ve always lived. Broaden your view by removing your blinders occasionally. It will help you refocus your own life.
4. You lose the money you don’t save. Open a savings account and enroll in a program that auto-deducts a portion of your salary. Chances are you won’t feel it, and if you don’t put it away you’ll spend the money anyway, guaranteed.
5. You are dumb in some things. Take a class. It doesn’t matter what it is, be it cooking, crochet, cheese-making, or pottery.
Learn a craft, gain a hobby, and have one more interesting thing to discuss at gatherings. Classes are a great way to meet people with the same interests, and learning something new is a good reminder that there’s always room to grow and ways to advance yourself.
6. Enjoy life by prolonging it. Instead of going on another diet or period of intense activity, try a lifestyle change.
Woody Allen said, “If you don’t have your health, you have nothing. No matter how great things are going for you, if you have a toothache, if you have a sore throat, if you’re nauseated, or, God forbid, you have some serious thing wrong with you — everything is ruined.”
Cut refined foods (white sugar, white bread, high fructose corn syrup) from your diet and replace them with healthier and tastier whole food. Find a sport you like, or try one you don’t think you’ll like .
Make serious plans to quit smoking, even with the use of supplements.
7. Be brave enough to admit there is more to life than where you are right now. Instead of speaking in a manner of constraints and excuses (“I can’t, because…” or “I wish I could, but…”), say, “I am afraid, but I will…” Stop being afraid of your own potential and try something new. Be brave enough to try one or all of the above.
Happy New Year! – Rappler.com
Shakira Andrea Sison is a Palanca Award-winning essayist. She currently works in finance and spends her non-working hours being brave in subway trains. She is a veterinarian by education and was managing a retail corporation in Manila before relocating to New York in 2002. Her column appears on Thursdays. Follow her on Twitter: @shakirasison and on Facebook.com/sisonshakira.
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