One day before we say hello to 2010 and a line is already forming outside the gym. The "healthy food" is flying off the shelves and the message boards are overflowing with hopes and dreams of a new and improved year.
Will this be the year? The year with smaller waistlines and more stable finances? The year of improved relationships or, dare I say, the love of our lives?
Well I have already made it clear that I am anti-resolutions. I don't like failure and January 1 is not a good enough day for me to change my life.
But I think New Year's is tricky because I cannot pinpoint where exactly we get these resolutions or what is our main motivation in creating them.
A simple equation: New Year's resolutions + self transformation = greater happiness
But do we do it for ourselves or because other people feed us this equation day after day, week after week, year after year.
Maybe that is why self transformation is so hard because after a while we stop focusing on helping ourselves and refocus on being socially acceptable, being beautiful to society, having other people like us and enjoy us and want to be around us. I think we all know it, but it is not easy to be happy and it may just be because our standards of happiness are always shifting.
Well let me tell you right now:
Happiness is falling in love, so join eHarmony and make it happen (free communications weekend!). Happiness is losing weight so grab a gym membership and start running. Happiness is making more money so head over to Barnes and Nobles and go straight to the economics section. Happiness is the best clothes so screw the bad economy and start shopping. Happiness is a size four. Happiness is a full head of hair. Happiness is a better computer, a nicer car, whiter teeth. Happiness is a Snuggie. Happiness is unattainable without all these things and improvements. Think we can make this happen in 2010?
But in all seriousness, we will never be happy if we are constantly letting other people define our standards of what happiness is. Self improvement starts with the self, what you personally want.
Sometimes I sit with my feelings as if they are all my dinner guests, gathered around my kitchen table. I identify each one, acknowledge its presence and purpose for being in attendance and figure out ways in which to either help this feeling stay or get it to leave. It sounds ridiculous but as long as I dont actually cook meals for my feelings I still think I am pretty sane. But take for instance the feeling of stress, I search myself to identify it and then I begin to think of why it is there. I have too much going on. I have not had a decent sleep in days. I am not getting to see my friends. And after I know all this, after stress and I have had a complete dialogue, I actively change the circumstances so that stress will find no reason to sit at my table anymore.
I find that focusing on my feelings rather than all the hubub of the media and the magazines I get real results. I inch closer towards full and complete happiness. I never stop questioning my feelings, why I am sad lately or overly content. When we push our feelings to the side to listen to others, something valuable is lost: the self in self improvement.
So perhaps before or even after we have our New Year's Bash (meet me in Boston for midnight!) we should take the time to acknowledge our self and what we really want and base any kind of goal off of that. Figure out our feelings and seek to change them, rather than running to change the bank account or the physique first.
Here is to happiness in 2010.