Every year at the end of December I get the rush of the New Year’s spirit. After weeks of food coma, I finally have time to think about something other than the next day’s menu. I feel the excitement rushing through my body and think to myself ‘How special this next year is going to be!’ Until weeks go by and nothing is really changing, except that suddenly I am anxious again.

Is the urge to make resolutions cursed from the beginning or is it just a bad concept that needs some rearrangement? Well, let’s find out!

I searched the internet to see what are the top 5 most common resolutions. Surprise surprise, the list goes like: ‘Exercise more, lose weight, get organized, spend less money and live life to the fullest”. These plans seem basic enough to really follow through but somehow we never seem to finish them. I think it’s because we are too hard on ourselves, we try to turn our lives upside down to become ‘our best selves’ only in a blink of an eye.

When in reality, the key is changing gradually.

Today’s productivity culture is a heavyweight to carry. We have internalized this mindset to the point that New Year’s resolutions only make sense to us if they are fast, and the results can be easily noticed by others. Instead, we should focus on what we truly want and work towards our goals at our own pace. To do so, I want to give you some of my tips on how to get started:

  1. Celebrate what you have already achieved

Before deciding on anything, sit down and reflect on your year. Go through everything you achieved and everything you are grateful for, no matter how small those achievements are, they deserve to be celebrated.

  1. Set realistic goals 

When you decide to set goals make sure they are beneficial for you and align with your values. They shouldn’t come from a sudden urge to achieve something new, rather they should feel authentic to you. 

  1. Know your limitations

Everybody has limited time to work with so try to make a list with a maximum of 5 points, this way the resolutions would be more manageable in the long run. 

  1.  Be specific in your interest

Try to break them down into categories so that you can see what your main goals are really about. Don’t just say ‘I want to be happier’, instead create a plan on how you are going to achieve it. Make sure to give them a timeline to track your improvements. 

  1. Write it down/make a moodboard

Buy yourself a calendar or just use blank paper to write everything down. If it helps you, but the resolutions on your wall to be able to see them every day so you can push yourself more efficiently. And if you are more of a visual type, make a mood board and create your dream poster so that it feels less like a burden and more of a cheerful transition. 

  1.  Don’t punish yourself/accept failure

In the end, what really matters are the small seps, the ideas you make that transform you: it is the thought process that goes into it that matters, not your end-result change. Don’t be hard on yourself if things won’t work out perfectly and you don’t achieve everything on your list. Celebrate every little triumph because you are already where you meant to be. And with time and patience, you will become even more of your authentic self. 

I hope this list can help you the way it helps me. Remember that you can always take a step ahead, you just have to plan, be patient and work for the things you want to accomplish. And if you fail you learn your limits and make another plan. 

In the end, you are already enough, so make your 2022 list’s top priority: ‘I want the best for myself’. 

Written and illustrated by Franciska Panda.