Forget About Your New Year Resolution – Just Focus These Three Things
New Year Resolution: thoughts people flirt with probably only at the start of the year.
I have a tradition of living life in a yearly fashion marked by annual pilgrimage to my specialist. Year after year for the past 14 years, I have successfully left his room without him hinting that I have further complication that requires closer scrutiny. And year after year, I gave myself psychological permission so that I could ‘extend living my life’ for another year. Like some ultimate dread, I often imagine the probable ‘end of me’ scenario if my doctor goes ‘Mark, I think we need to discuss’
Living life thinking that I only have one year of lifespan may sound morbidly weird, but the irony is that it forces us to prioritize what is really important in life. More importantly, learning to shrug away chunks of unhappiness that often accumulate unconsciously. When time is perceived to be limited, I would naturally become less bothered about what people thinks of me, make choices that will bring about long term flourishing and let go of toxic circumstances much faster. These three things are possibly life most common barriers to fulfilment. Because people are highly sensitive towards other’s opinion of them, overly sacrifice long term for short term gains and dwell in toxic circumstances much longer than appropriate.
If you are thinking about adopting a new year resolution and have no idea what to set for yourself, you can consider these three universal resolution of having to (a) Reduce, (b) Start and (c) Stop to improve personal growth and wellbeing.
To Reduce: Being Sensitive Towards Other’s Opinion Of You
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This is one of the top nasty mental burden that cause unnecessary distress. As a fair statement, having some consideration about people’s opinion of you does shape us to become a better human-being in a general sense. Just imagine all possible faux pas in society. If one is absolutely indifferent to other’s opinion of them, it can lead to horrible social disaster.
On the other hand, over consumption of other’s opinion is unhealthy and disempowering. After all, if we are unable to decide which opinion to let go, the natural weight of all these opinions will crush our mind. The psychological liability of shouldering them as if all opinion carries the same weightage is not only a false illusion, but also an unnecessary practice.
The reality is that not all opinion holds the same value. Just like a bag of supermarket purchase is made up of different items of different nature.
So for this coming new year resolution, strive to develop the wisdom to discern which opinion would bring about long term growth and which to discard. When you become more competent at this area of judgement, personal fulfilment will find its way into your life mystically.
Just think about this: if you do die today, some of these people will not even make it to your funeral. So why even bother about their opinion?
To Start: Focusing on long term
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My specialist shared that I am one of his youngest regular patients under his care. His work with me is largely preventive rather than remedial intervention. What this means is that his presence in my life is akin to a checkpoint – pointing out to me if I needed to improve my cholesterol, BMI, blood pressure or glucose level. He shared that I have to attain a better health outcome than an average person because of my pre-existing illness. And I do take his comments rather seriously. In all my attempts of trying to be mindful towards my diet or exercise throughout the years, the image of his face will instantly appear in my head. Like some kind of creepy benevolent mental shadow nudging me to make the right decision subconsciously.
I recalled fondly that many years ago, he wanted me to start taking cholesterol medication, which I adamantly refused. I threw the question back at him.
‘If you were me, would you start?’
He was dumbfounded. And considered my question for a moment. I was 20ish by the way.
‘Actually, the medication doesn’t help me. Because it will give me the false impression that all is well, when the crux of this matter is that I have to change my lifestyle. So I have to tackle this root cause for the sake of my long term health.’
Long term growth requires some degree of delay gratification. That in order for us to enjoy more sustainable pleasure or gains, we will need to invest some decisions that will promote long term benefits. The challenge that some people have is that they constantly make choices that merely satisfied short term gain instead of adopting a longer view. Then when the ‘future’ becomes ‘now’, people may be caught in situation they deemed as ‘unlucky’ because ‘bad things happen’.
More often than not, people appeared to be lucky not by sheer accident. It is really about personal motivation, planning and courage to pursue those plans. When you remove factors that creates catastrophic outcome we have no control over (e.g. Act of God situation), what remains are really seeds of your earlier decisions coupled with action to nurture them to fruition.
Fruits of some decisions will only manifest in the future. So it is important to incorporate longer term plans and supportive action throughout the year as part of your new year resolution now.
To Stop: Staying In Toxic Environment Longer Than Appropriate
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People often wished they could exit toxic relationship much earlier on hindsight. Sometimes, overstaying in a bad relationship in work, relationship or family can be rather cancerous to our wellbeing. If you are currently still stuck in a toxic environment, you might want to do a thorough review if sticking around is the best thing you could do for yourself for the long haul.
You are important. Not just the role or function you perform in a given environment, but ‘you’ – as a person – matters. I realised one common strategy employed by key figure/s responsible for indulging you far longer in a toxic place than appropriate often seek to reduce ‘you’ as a person to some kind of properties or roles played. You matter only because a part of your skills, roles or contributions are practically useful. Period.
The relationship seemed ambivalently good because what you provide is good. You are crap if you don’t give or produce what your environment demands you of. Fundamentally, you (as a person) don’t really matter.
Part of adulting is learning this one painful lesson that every exchange in life isn’t equal in value between people. Just because you invested your time, resources and effort genuinely doesn’t mean people will reciprocate in kind. And when you finally realised this toxic relationship is really established from the foundation of utility masquerading an authentic relationship, the burn in your face will etch in your memory for decades to come.
Toxic environment can do long term harm to our wellbeing. Don’t let anybody convince you why you should stay in a toxic environment longer than you ought to. Especially for people who actually benefit from you remaining status quo.
How would you know if it’s time to go? Well, your body naturally will tell you. When you start to lose yourself, become extremely unhappy, burnout and see no meaning or hope for change in whatever you are pursuing – it’s about time. The last you want to do is to ignore those vital signs because the cost to your wellbeing will start to escalate astronomically.
Summary of New Year Resolution
It can be tiring thinking of fresh new year resolution every year. Might as well focus on something more internal this year. Ultimately, we are responsible for our happiness and wellbeing. If you set your new year resolution to work on these three aspects of your life by finding the right resources and help to support your choice, I assure you that you will be in a much happier state by the end of the year. Or even possibly earlier.
In addition, you might want to check out how working on Self Forgiveness might also be helpful towards resolving some of the unwise choices you have made.
Wishing you an awesome new year ahead!
Featured Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash