For many people February is a time of regret. Not because it's cold or because the holidays are over and you are back to work, but this is the month that many of those well-intentioned New Year's resolutions fall apart.
You are probably thinking you have terrible willpower. Maybe, but there is no need to beat yourself up too much. The real problem started when you made the wrong promises to yourself. Here are some self-promises that would be hard for anyone to follow, and the improved versions that you can keep and will actually improve your life.
1. ...to be nicer
If you find yourself regularly grumpy and lashing out at to people there is likely something bigger going on. Just attempting to be nice without addressing the root cause of your negativity will just frustrate you and make you seem insincere to others.
Instead, vow to find the good in every situation.
If you want to carry a pleasant disposition you first have to find a reason to feel positive. Each time something annoying happens, think about the positive that could come from that situation and share it openly.
2. ...to be thinner.
As one who has consistently battled with weight I certainly understand the yearly drive to drop those pounds. The problem is that binging on exercise or fad diets almost never last.
Instead, vow to eat healthier.
I have finally just decided to create a different approach to my eating. Reduced portions of anything I like is more gratifying and has allowed me to drop pounds without massive planning and consternation. It allows me to enjoy living in New York and look forward to a food-full life.
3. ...to be a better person.
Almost everyone wants to be better. People are naturally flawed and imperfect. But there almost too many ways to improve and the vagueness of just being better leaves you no way to really measure.
Instead, vow to make today a little better than yesterday.
Rather than trying to fix everything at once, just focus on one thing you could improve each day. Say thank you more, or do something helpful. Pretty soon it will all add up. In one month you will have made 30 improvements.
4. ...to work harder.
There is nothing wrong with being industrious, but hard work itself will not get you ahead in today's complex society. The tech world is focused on eliminating straight labor as the path to success. That means the real work is figuring out how to gain more output from less effort.
Instead, vow to make the most of every minute.
Efficiency is the ultimate goal and that means working smarter not harder. Focus on planning and integration of activities to make your efforts lead to bigger and better results.
5. ...to be happier.
It bears the asking the question: Why are you unhappy? Are you expecting more out of life than it has to offer? Some feel angst for what they don't have or what they have yet to accomplish and this causes them to be unhappy.
Instead, vow to find happiness in what life brings.
Every life is filled with ups and downs. But that in itself is the joy of life. If things are truly miserable then you can make the changes to create the life you want. Evaluate your opportunities and go for it. Just make sure you find happiness in the journey and not just the end result.
6. ...to be more successful.
The problem with focusing on success is that you won't really know if you have it until it's actually been there for a while or worse - if it's gone. I know many successful people who don't think of themselves as successful because they don't measure up to others they admire.
Instead, vow to make the most of your potential.
The only success that really matters is what you consider in your own mind. You are the one who can determine if you have given it your all and capitalized on all the world has provided for you. Make the most of your gifts everyday and success will surely follow.
7. ...to find love.
When you are feeling alone or abandoned it can create a vicious cycle. The negative energy you present can repel the very people you wish would be attracted.
Instead, vow to love yourself.
People are attracted to self assured and confident people who bring joy to life. Find the parts of yourself that you enjoy the most and revel in them so others can as well.