Happy New Year!

If you’re reading this you made it to a new year. And as much as we want to have “accomplished” things and “improved” each year, making it to another year is an achievement in and of itself. You made it through 365 days. Those days may have been good, they have been bad, but either way you kept going and made it here.

Congratulations!

Now, I am a person who makes new year’s resolutions. It’s more goal-setting these days so I don’t spend the year staring at my navel. (Or, more likely, reading books.)

With writing I usually have something drafted and ready to release in January so that one of my goals can be to publish that book. That way I can reach the end of the year and know I at least accomplished one of my goals.

(I am not above cheating to give myself a feeling of accomplishment.)

Sometimes, though, I’ve set goals that are about improving myself or my life. You know, I want to lose ten pounds, I want to travel internationally somewhere, I want to find a relationship, etc.

And sometimes you have to set a goal to make something happen, right? There are areas of life where if you leave it to chance, it won’t actually happen. Relationships being one of them for most people. Weight loss being another.

But what I’ve learned with those sorts of goals is that if it isn’t something I personally want and value, making it a goal won’t help.

I once set a dating goal. Something like I’d go on fifty dates in the next year or until I’d found someone to date long-term.

I think I made it through five dates. Because I honestly didn’t care about being in a relationship. It just wasn’t on my priority list. My life was good without one.

I tried to make it a goal because I was getting to that age where people look at you sideways for still being single, but it honestly just did not matter to me. Which is why I abandoned it within a few weeks. I did not want to spend my year on that sort of slog.

Same with weight loss goals. I’ll set them some years, because theoretically it sounds good to weigh 25 pounds less, and I am more photogenic when I’m skinnier.

But at the end of the day I like chocolate and cheese and bacon more than I like being skinny. And reading books and watching TV more than I like spending time at the gym.

It is what it is.

So my advice to you for this year as you set your goals is: Focus on you.

Focus on what you value and what will make you happy. Don’t set a weight loss goal because someone tells you that you need to be different from who you are. Don’t set a dating goal because other people think you need to “get out there”.

And if you know that trying to reach that goal, even if it’s what you really, really want, is going to make you absolutely frickin’ miserable and not be something you can sustain, then don’t do that to yourself. Life is too short to be miserable all the time.

I don’t know you. But I’m going to tell you that you, as you are right now, are perfectly good and wonderful. You don’t need to change a thing.

If you want to, go for it. But don’t force it. Don’t let other people’s issues shape your life. Embrace being you and find the things you really do want and aim for those instead.

Author: M.L. Humphrey

M.L. Humphrey is a former securities regulator, registered stockbroker (although only briefly), and consultant on regulatory and risk-related matters for large financial institutions with expertise in the areas of anti-money laundering regulation, mutual funds, and credit rating agencies. Since 2013 M.L. has also been a published author under a variety of pen names and across a variety of subjects and genres. You can contact M.L. at mlhumphreywriter [at] gmail.com.

One thought on “Happy New Year!”

  1. I like using goals instead of resolutions – resolutions can be broken – goals…well they can be adapted and changed. But your “Don’t let other people’s issues shape your life. Embrace being you and find the things you really do want and aim for those instead” resonated with me. For too many years, I did what I thought others wanted me to do. Now, I play by my own rules (and only the husband can tell me otherwise in those rare moments we don’t mesh).

    Liked by 1 person

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