First of all: Happy New Year to all of you! I wish you all the best for 2018, may your goals be achievable and dreams come true! Around the turn of a year, I’m thinking about the last 365 days and what I learned from them. Moments of joy and happiness, excitement and stress or just the average days without feeling anything special. In the end, all of these days have passed to quickly and sometimes it feels this time hasn’t made any difference at all. Then, reading about all these people motivated by an approaching new year and their inspiring resolutions, it’s difficult to stay away from this “new-year-new-me” thing.
New Year resolutions lasting only a few weeks
I don’t know about elsewhere, but in Germany, most New Year’s resolutions are broken in the first quarter. You can tell from watching the gym 😉 In January, everyone seems to join and the gym gets quite crowded. But after a few weeks – latest in February when carnival has arrived – it’s usually back to normal. Although I’m really glad to not share the gym with too many people, it’s somehow sad to see so many people longing for a change but failing. The ones making it until Carnival have kept their resolution up for approximately 4-6 weeks. It should have become a habit for them already.
So why do so many people give up just because an event of a couple of days? Because of the all-or-nothing attitude. It’s the same reason why many of us make it 5 days of the week sticking to their meal plan but switching to binge mode on week-ends – just to start on Mondays all over again. By the way, Mondays are usually the days when the gym is most visited in the course of the year 😉 So when making resolutions or trying to build those habits, you should expect to fail. It’s not easy to cope with unforeseeable events when you’re practicing new behavior. And when you have failed and it was all-or-nothing, all the effort you’ve put into your project seems to have been for nothing. But building new habits is learning how to deal with different situations in accordance to your goal. That means you have to develop some habits and strategies how to react to obstacles – because life always gets in the way and often nothing turns out how it’s been planned. Give yourself time to develop those strategies, try out different approaches. Some might work, others not.
How to refresh the new-year-new-me feeling from time to time
Another strategy involves to bring this motivational “new year” excitement down to a “new week” or even “new day” feeling. Little challenges help to dissolve from particular dates and let you find back on track . Depending on your goal and what type of person you are, a personal challenge on your own can work just as good as finding others to join. The only thing that matters is to keep going – and focus on what you’ve already achieved.
Except for the all-or-nothing attitude, New Year’s resolutions also raise expectations. Usually, these expectations are high. On the one hand, expectations create motivation and a feeling of excitement. Expectations are what get us started and keep us going. But be careful to not set your expectations too high. Setting realistic expectations and taking small-steps gets you farther than dreaming big. Little steps add up and will get you anywhere you want – just start walking. This is why I named my blog “Lovely 365” – to remind myself that we are given 365 opportunities each year to achieve what we wish for.
The reason behind good resolutions
The turn of a year also makes me look closer at my current life and recap my values. Values are important, because this is what steers our thoughts, actions and decisions. It’s like an inner compass that tells us what’s right and what’s wrong, what we should do and what doesn’t do us any good. So, how we live our life, deal with others and treat ourselves
is should be the expression of our values. Ignoring – or even denying – these values causes pain and discontentment. It feels like living someone else’s life instead of your own – this can even lead to a sense of heteronomy. To me, there’s nothing worse than ignoring this inner compass. In order to live a life against my values, I would have to numb myself from the inside – and if I just live life long enough like that, this would probably leave me with depression or even physical pain. I think the necessity of making resolutions comes partly because we might sometimes (have to) shift our priorities away from our values. So this is a good time to think about our values, take stock of what might prevent us from living the life we really want to live and take a first tiny step to regain balance in our lives.
My personal highlights 2017 and resolutions for 2018
The biggest highlight for me was definitely finishing my bachelor thesis and successfully graduating from university. Apart from that, I noticed the best moments involved being outside – so I hope to spend my time more often out and about. I should also take my camera more often with me – because photography is something I’d like to intensify this year. Spending time with family and friends is another thing that I aim for. I also hope to post on a more regular basis here and share more thoughts and pictures with you. Last but not least, my bucket list is still waiting for me – so there are hopefully many more great moments to come in 2018!
So, after all these heavy thoughts, here are some joyful moments of the last 365 days:
What were your personal highlights 2017? What are your resolutions, hopes and dreams for 2018?