Ditch Resolutions and Transform Your Mindset

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Making resolutions feels like setting myself up to fail. For one, there is no guarantee that what I find important on January 1 is going to remain important, and secondly, I can’t foresee the curveballs life is going to throw me in the next year.

What I propose instead is an attitude adjustment: ways of thinking I hold dear that get me through the year in the best way possible, able to roll with whatever life brings instead of being rolled over.

Find Your Meaning of Life

I believe the real meaning of human life is to grow and spread as much love and kindness throughout the world as possible. It sounds simple, yet it takes gentle reminders and adjustments to my perspective all the time, especially with the rise of social media. I strive to see others and their path through the lens of empathy and the knowledge that everyone is walking their own path, and it’s not for me to judge any journeys but my own.

Everything Happens For a Reason

It doesn’t matter if there is cosmic “truth” to it. The practice of looking at the negative things that come along in life and reframing them in a positive light does wonders for one’s outlook. We tend to do this anyway, creating stories and making connections where there may not be any. Why not ensure those stories are positive ones?

Smile More

I know there was probably a collective cringe from some women reading that. I’m not talking about others telling us to smile and performing for them. I’m talking about choosing to smile. The benefits of smiling are well known, from elevating your mood to making interactions with others flow more smoothly. I believe that your smile can light up a room and light up other people. It’s a small act of kindness that improves the world around you.

As a parent, this has long been one of my parenting tools—when my child enters the room, I light up and smile to see them. I want that to be the first feeling they have: seen and loved. I believe it creates a secure base from which to deal with all the other ups and downs of life and parenting.

As a partner, this has the same effect. For your partner to enter the room and consistently be received with love and joy is part of the gift of a relationship. For me, it’s being each other’s biggest fans. It eases communication and keeps us more open and loving towards each other.

The practice of smiling without something making you smile may feel foreign at first, but with practice, I found it to become second nature.

Save a Little Money

Okay, this one is more practical, and I realize the current imbalance of wages versus the cost of living is a mess right now. If you can do it, do it, even if it’s a small amount. Why? I can only speak for myself.

  • Saving a small amount consistently leads to growth
  • Allocating money to savings feels like an abundance mindset
  • It makes me feel good to create small positive changes.

Full disclosure—referral links are included here.

When I got divorced, I started with simple round-ups of my spending with Acorns. I enjoy using the app and occasionally looking in to see how much I have saved. I’ve progressed to saving a small set amount each month, for me and for my kids (important to me—I wanted to model savings as a positive habit).

My favorite is Betterment. The current 4.75% APY on the Cash Reserve account makes growing your savings so much more rewarding. You can also set up different types of accounts (major purchases, safety net, and retirement) and set goals. Betterment has a great app as well.

When I started, saving five dollars a month felt doable. As my wages have gone up and down, so has my ability to save. I have always felt doing something as opposed to nothing was the way to avoid any regrets down the road, and years later, I feel a lot better having set up savings.

Weigh Your Actions Before You Hit Your Deathbed

It sounds heavy, I know, but this is one habit that has served me well for a long time. When faced with a choice of how to act or react and the answer isn’t initially clear, I consider how I’d feel about my choice when I’m in my final days on earth. Did I make a choice that was going to better my family and relationships? Was I acting in kindness? What was I going to risk?

I try to make choices that align with my own “meaning of life,” and so far, I haven’t been steered wrong.

Cheers to a year where our attitudes shape our destinies, where we smile more, save wisely, and live purposefully—transcending resolutions for a life well-lived.

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