Making New Year’s resolutions should be a happy act of creation, not a source of failure year after year. One of the best ways to ensure you keep your promises is to make the right promises in the first place.
“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called opportunity and its first chapter is New Years Day.” – Edith Pierce
Use your New Year’s resolutions to transform your life in small increments, instead of taking huge leaps in unrewarding directions. Allow yourself the flexibility to struggle without giving up, knowing that this is a journey and not a destination.
Let the practice of setting positive intentions for this new year be less about changing yourself and more about becoming yourself. Focus on the positives (what’s good and can be enhanced) instead of focusing on the negatives (what’s wrong and needs to be fixed).
Here are ten practical and positive New Year’s resolutions that we can keep coming back to. Choose one resolution that really speaks to you, and build on it in small ways every day. It’s important to devote attention to the resolution of your choice, rather than putting pressure on yourself to master multiple new habits all at once.
10 New Year’s Resolutions for Sustainable Happiness
1. Prioritize the present moment.
Cultivate a sense of oneness with the moment.
Drop the needless burden of past hurts, take a deep breath, inhale the possibility of the present, and start again. Focusing on the past is like cheating on the present. What happened then will only determine your future if you let it.
If you focus on the present, you’ll harness your potential to create a future that’s like today (instead of like yesterday).You are not what has happened to you; you are what you choose to be in this moment. Click To Tweet
Start giving priority to the present moment. The wonderful thing is, even if you forget to be present one moment, the next moment holds equal opportunity for you to become present once again.
If you’ve lost your way, close your eyes and feel where you are right now. Honor it. Embrace it. Sink into it. Open your eyes and move forward with awareness.
The best way to experience the fullness of life and the depth of happiness is to live with a vibrant self-awareness.
2. Trust where you are in life.
You are right where you need to be to get to where you need to go. Believe that you’re where you’re meant to be, no matter how dismal that may seem at times. Never let your small beginnings or small steps make you small-minded. Cultivate a vision of hope that sees beyond your circumstances.Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do. – Benjamin Spock Click To Tweet
There’s a certain peace of mind that comes with being able to trust in the process of your own life, and to have faith in who you are regardless of how your life is playing out at the moment.
3. Embrace imperfections.
The world isn’t the perfect, calm, orderly, simple place we’d like it to be. We want things to be comfortable, nice, and attractive. Unfortunately, work is hectic, people demand our attention, we aren’t as disciplined as we’d like, people do things that frustrate us, and there’s just so much to do and read and learn and process.
The problem isn’t the world outside of us. Peace begins within. Perfection is an impossible and painful ideal we must gradually learn to let go of. Let go of blaming the world, other people, and yourself for the imperfections you think you see. If you can’t change something, it’s time to change the way you see it.Wishing things were different is a great way to torture yourself. – Unknown Click To Tweet
If you lose your way with any New Year’s resolutions (including this one), practice accepting that deviation in the path. If you break a promise, try again tomorrow. No hard feelings, no guilt, no blame. Perfection is best soothed with compassion.
4. Give gratitude every day.
Make gratitude the centerpiece of your life.
Appreciate and honor everything that has happened to you, good or bad. Say, “thank you” for it all, for it’s all here to support your growth into your highest self. Make it a point to give thanks for the beautiful people in your life. Speak grateful words and show your gratitude every single day. There are so many things to be thankful for.We can choose to be grateful no matter what. – Dieter F. Uchtdorf Click To Tweet
It’s an honor to experience this life at all, so honor your chance to experience it all.
5. Do one kind thing every day.
Tiny acts of kindness build the castle of compassion that showers the land with love and joy.
Give your time, lend a helping hand, offer a compliment, a smile, a meal, an unexpected gift, and your presence. In a world that’s so focused on getting, resolve to give without expecting anything in return.Be grateful for your ability to give anything in this life, even if it's simply your thanks. Click To Tweet
Make giving a daily habit, and you make gratitude and kindness central themes in your life. Through mindful compassion, you play a leading role in the positive transformation of your own life.
6. Believe in your ability to change.
Change is reality, and you can change whenever you decide that you really want to. Don’t falsely assume that life is stagnant and you’re destined to repeat the same patterns forever. The choice is always yours, and you’re always doing the best you can with where you are and what you have.It's never too late to be what you might have been. – George Eliot Click To Tweet
Change is possible, and it begins with the belief that it is. If you believe it, you truly can achieve it. Have courage, faith, and patience. Motivate yourself every day by believing in yourself and letting that self-love shine through your actions with consistency.
Manifest the life you want by owning your capacity to change. Start giving yourself a chance.
7. Make space for joy.
You can do anything, but you can’t do it all.
It’s easy to cram so much into our schedules so that there’s no room for fun, relaxation, adventure, self-care, or creativity. Leave a little room for spontaneous joy to enter your days. Make a vow to take care of yourself in small ways. Give yourself a break. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t cross everything off your checklist.
Take deep breaths and know that it’s all going to be okay.Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. – Unknown Click To Tweet
Do more of what makes you happy. Spend more time with family and friends. Dedicate time each day or week to something that sparks your creativity. Paint. Sew. Play games. Be silly. Don’t take everything so seriously. Don’t be so strict with yourself or your to-do list.
8. Focus on the good.
If you’re looking for dirt, it’s easy to find. Negativity is not hard to see in this world. Make a resolution to be a positive influence on the world around you, to look for the good in others, and to appreciate the small pleasures in life.See the light in others, and treat them as if that is all you see. – Dr. Wayne Dyer Click To Tweet
Spend so much energy on forgiveness, acceptance, happiness, and positive growth that you have no room for bitterness, criticism, blame, shame, or drama. Focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses. Focus on how you can love the person or the situation more instead of getting pulled into the pain, the hate, or the negativity.
Life is beautiful, and if you need a little reminder, here are 35 reasons why.
9. Learn something new.
If you stop learning, you stop living. Make a happy resolution to learn more about something that interests you, and you’re more likely to actually follow through with it.What we learn with pleasure we never forget. – Alfred Mercier Click To Tweet
Learn a new language or practice a new talent. Sign up for dancing or painting lessons. Experiment with new hobbies to see if it’s something you’d like to pursue. Ask for creative responsibilities at work. Learn more about the people you love, or about people you barely know. Ask questions and keep your curiosity alive.
10. Create happiness.
Don’t wish for happiness or wait for it to come in the form of achievements and goals fulfilled. Happy people create happiness where they are. They own it, and they know they’re responsible for how they experience their experiences.You choose happiness. You don't wait for it to choose you. – Bethenny Frankel Click To Tweet
Here are a few posts that might help you create your own joy every day in small ways:
- A daily to-do list for happiness
- 21 laws of happiness
- 7 rules for being happy
- 7 ways to be happy when life seems crappy
- 7 ways to start loving life more
- An acronym for happiness
- 101 short and sweet ways to be happy
- Happiness is a practice
- Happiness is a state of mind
- Do any of these New Year’s resolutions speak to you? What promises are you making to yourself this year?
- What do you enjoy, love, and want more of this year?
Please share your positive intentions, most important New Year’s resolutions, lessons you’ve learned this year, and any helpful or inspiring stories with me in the comments.
Share these New Year’s resolutions with someone you care about.
You might stumble, but you will rise again. Practice your comebacks.