With each new year comes a desire to reinvent ourselves. And magazines and advertisements make it sound so easy. New Year, New You, they promise—as long as you buy our expensive product or service! I’m all for New Year’s resolutions, but why do we need to become all-new people to feel like a success? While everyone can benefit from a little bit of self-improvement, be careful not to put too much pressure on yourself to change in ways that are just not realistic. The more improbable your resolution (a.k.a. “new you”), the greater your chance of failure. If you’re slowly realizing your resolutions were a flop, keep reading! There may still be hope for a new year with the same great you in it!
In order to succeed, our goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely). So take a look at yours: Were you reaching for the stars? Or were you planning your very own metamorphosis? Try to avoid changing the things that make you YOU. Instead, focus on the positive parts of your personality. Build upon what is already great by developing your existing skill set. Need ideas? A language course is a great place to start!
Being able to communicate in another language means more opportunities to make new friends or find love, while learning how to get by in the language spoken in your dream destination means taking one step closer to getting there. And when it comes time to look for a satisfying career, adding a second (or third!) language to your resume will make you all the more employable.
A few other S.M.A.R.T. resolutions—“I will…”
Antidote for that afternoon slump: I will replace my sugary snack with energy-boosting foods, like a bowl of almonds, an apple, or a salad bursting with colour.
Easy way to exercise: I will walk 30 minutes a day by parking farther away or getting off public transit one stop early when heading to school in the morning or going home at night.
Free yourself from Facebook: I will schedule a daily break from technology and will read, call a loved one, or meet a friend for tea instead!
Procrastination problems: I will find a study partner so I can look forward to learning and avoid the temptation to procrastinate.
Advice from Cupid: I will take a deep breath and ask that cute girl or guy in my class to go to the movies with me.
So forget about keeping those resolutions that mean changing the great person you already are. Choose one of your strengths and work on improving it. Or, make a resolution that incorporates one of your interests or passions. Not only will you have a greater chance of success, you’ll enjoy yourself too!