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Start exercising! Quit smoking! Eat better! Quit my job! Go on a holiday! Stop drinking! Stop self-harming! Do better in school! All of these are great goals.
They are focused on improvement, bettering yourself, starting new and fresh. There is always pressure around the new year to create resolutions for yourself in hopes that you will improve something about your life. Maybe it’s your health, maybe your marriage – whatever it is, you welcome the new year with the vast openness of opportunity.
How many of us stick to those goals? One out of everyone I know? Two people if I’m being generous?
The fact is, people set goals around the new year and they come from great intentions.
Yes, exercising is a great way to improve your mood and feel great. Smoking damages your lungs – think about how much better you’ll breathe without smoking. All of these are healthy ideas. However, they are unhealthy goals.
We think proclaiming something completely vague at the strike of midnight will magically change our lives.
However, this is often not the case and they are not attainable goals. Gym memberships around New Year’s skyrocket, but how many people actually use them? They are an optimistic prospect with no backbone. Once there is a little pressure applied, it bends and breaks.
Don’t get me wrong; I am a firm believer in setting goals for oneself and strongly advise people to do so. However, it is how we set these goals that really determine our success.
I’m going to focus on the last goal I mentioned: doing better in school.
Maybe school isn’t your thing. Maybe the environment is hard for you to learn in but you want to do better anyway. Sure, it’s a great goal, but you need to have some planning to go with it. Instead of sacrificing much-needed sleep, you stay up all night studying only to fall asleep in the morning and miss your exam, failing it. It has happened before; trust me. Instead of just saying “I’m going to study all night to pass this exam.” You could say something like “I’m going to study two hours every night with my friend so that we keep each other accountable.”
Those goals ultimately achieve the same outcome: studying so you pass. However, the way you studied was much healthier. You didn’t sacrifice sleep, you didn’t turn into a hermit, and with hard work, school becomes much easier.
Studying at school or in the library not your thing? Find somewhere that allows you to study without interruption. Go to a coffee shop, a bistro, a park – anywhere that will allow you to focus.
I mentioned having a friend do this with you.
I think accountability with your goals is vital if you want to succeed.
I think you both keep each other focused on the goal you are trying to accomplish. I also think it’s important to have someone trying to achieve the same goal as you. That way you can celebrate together, but also be there to pick each other up if you fall. Having an accountability partner is so beneficial, and I recommend it to anyone who actually wants to achieve their goals.
Instead of blurting out something totally random because you felt pressured as the new year approaches quickly, have some intentionality to it.
Make specific goals, share them with others, become excited about what you will do.
This next year holds so much potential, and it is up to you to fill that potential with something sustaining and life-giving. I hope this new year brings a whole world of great moments. I hope you make lasting memories, do something you’ve never done before, and learn something new. I also hope that next year – although it seems so far away – you will be able to say “Yes, I reached my goal I set for the new year, and I have become a better person for it.”
I wish you the best luck and I hope that this coming year is healthy, healing, and exciting!
Mark is currently in high school and hopes to study International Law in the future. He struggled with depression for four years until finally winning the battle. Upon first hearing about Libero, he made the decision to bring his story about depression and how he has dealt with it in hopes to spread awareness and bring support to those going through depression. With still being in high school, he will offer a teenagerʼs perspective on depression and relationships through sharing the many challenges and victories he has faced with both. Mark hopes that through his writing he can help others understand that brokenness can lead to wholeness.
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