General Advice

Resolutions Vs. Mindsets

Are you celebrating Ditch the New Year’s Resolution Day today, or do you want to strengthen your resolve? Check out how a mental mindset can keep you focused on your goals.

Today is “Ditch the New Year’s Resolution Day” and I could not be more disappointed that this is an official made-up holiday.

Sure, I laughed at Lizzo’s Instagram post of her with an “Old Me” text attached butt-pushing another woman with “New Me” text out of shot. But, Lizzo is a goddess and can do what she wants.

It’s been two and a half weeks since we said silent promises to ourselves. Made decisions to be better people, be healthier and find happiness. To make this year when we finally accomplish our goals and life-long aspirations.

Where did those people go?

Making the Decision to Change

We all make resolutions on and off special occasions. Making a resolution on New Year’s Eve is traditional but we also set goals for ourselves throughout the year. Deciding to exercise more after a visit to the doctor and tightening up the budget after getting the credit card statement are some examples.

We decide “Enough is enough, I’m finally going to…” and make a resolve to do it. It’s the first step in a long and difficult journey. For most of us, it’s a journey we’ve attempted before with little-to-no success; our Everest’s.

What do you want to do or change? The list of things I put off include:

  1. Making friends
  2. Submitting articles
  3. Mopping the floor
  4. Writing a book

I’ve lived in three states in the last five years, and meeting new people always feels daunting. Making friends with a strong, independent, put-together woman feels like teenage dating; my words stumble out of my mouth, I’m anxious, and I’m a little too eager to please.

Submitting an article to a new publisher is a similar feeling. It’s presenting a piece of you and posing, “Judge this. Tell me if I’m worthy.” But as a freelance writer and editor, I have to submit content. My goal this year is to brave up and submit to the big boys (like Travel + Leisure).

Why is “mopped the floor” on a list of personal and professional goals? I’m ashamed to say, I’ve lived in my apartment for a year and haven’t mopped it once. I have all the supplies, I have the time, but I just haven’t done it.

And that is no different from writing a book. I have all the supplies, I have the time, but I just haven’t done it… yet.

Setting a Growth Mindset

Whereas a resolution is a decision to solve a problem, a growth mindset is an established attitude. A resolution has a fixed goal in mind, such as not smoking or reaching a healthy weight. The mindset is the approach to how you get there. 

fixed mindset believes “We are who we are” and there is no point in trying to change. A growth mindset, however, believes that efforts will produce success. When it comes to my goals, these different mindsets can look like:

  • Fixed – These girls will see me for the nerd I really am.
  • Growth – I am also a strong, independent, put-together woman.
  • Fixed – The floor is clean enough without being mopped.
  • Growth – It’s going to look brand new when it’s clean.

It’s true; we can be our own worst enemies. And I’ll admit it, I might be the most guilty of talking down to myself, ruining my confidence, and sabotaging my efforts to reach my goals.

Changing how we think is one of the hardest things to do. How do you alter your thoughts? Often, consistently, and with reinforcements.

Keeping Resolutions With a New Mindset

Sickness, emergencies, mental health, menstruation, injuries… the list of antecedents for setbacks goes on. Likewise, bad news or complications can be mental deterrents.

How does the new growth mindset help us stick to our resolution? By not letting us give up. Having a growth mindset means being flexible about disappointments and failures.

  • Fixed – The publisher rejected my article, so I should just stick to what I know.
  • Growth – I’ll implement the notes I received (as well as take the compliments to heart) and have a stronger submission next time.
  • Fixed – I don’t have time to write a novel because I’m busy with paid work.
  • Growth – Working on it a little every day will build up over time.

Baby steps and fumbles are part of the journey. Even Usain Bolt crawled before he became the fastest man in the world.

So, before giving up your goals entirely today, brush yourself off and remember why you made the resolution in the first place. Today is always the eve of the new you.

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