Over the next few weeks, you'll probably get asked about your New Year's Resolutions at festive gatherings. And perhaps you're inclined to reply with ideas like going to the gym more often, reading more books, spending more time with family, etc. All wholesome endeavors no doubt; people will agree with you, say they need to do the same, and then everybody moves on to shit-talking whoever wore the shortest dress to the party. If you're tired of having that same conversation every year, allow me to propose an alternative that will surely be a hit with everybody.
Hit Pause || then Rewind <<
But first - let's take a moment to reflect before looking forward. Did you actually achieve last year's resolution? Do you even remember what it was? And if you did fail, take a moment to evaluate the reasons honestly. Sure, it was cold as fuck in February and that dirty mouth-breathing creeper wouldn't stop staring while you were on the elliptical, but what's your excuse for March and the rest of the year? BuzzFeed doesn't count as reading, nor does stopping by your parent's house to pickup your new registration. Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh; aren't the holidays supposed to be about hope and joy for the coming year? Surely we can forgive our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us, right? Well of course we can! I'm sure you'll do better next year....
The Rock doesn't believe your shit and neither do I
Resolutions often fail because at the end of the day, we're the only ones dishing out the punishment, usually in the form of self-pity, insecurity, shame, and guilt. While it certainly doesn't feel good to see yourself in this light, I have no doubt you've grown accustomed to it by now to some degree. We all carry some of these feelings with us through life, and I'm sure there's enough people out there to help you feel better about it because that's what friends are for. You'll sulk and wallow for a bit, but then you suck it up and move on with your life.
It's not until we add some heat from others that we really feel the need to nut up and start being awesome. But not just anybody will do; if you've done anything worthwhile with your life by now you'll likely have haters, but we all know you don't give a fuck about them. No, we're going to bring in the big guns for this - friends and family.
Instead of looking to improve by adding more to your plate or changing your lifestyle, now would be a good time to evaluate what you're working with and invest in improving that before taking on additional responsibilities. Making small changes to your current situation is far easier than starting anew. This is where we enlist the help of our friends and family for the greater good.
Here's what I'd like you to do:
Pick 3 people that know you best. The closer the better.
Send each one of them an email or ask them in person to recall a time when they felt as though you have wronged them, acted out of character, or disappointed them. Yes I'm serious.
Shut up and let them speak! If you find yourself waiting for them to finish so you can defend yourself, congratulations! You've found something to work on.
Thank them for their honesty and assure them that you value their openness and will take some time to think about what they said.
Actually think about what they said, afterwards and alone. This won't feel good and that's ok, it's called "growing pains" for a reason.
After the sting wears off, reach out to discuss your thoughts on the matter. Hash it out.
If the thought of actually doing this makes you miserably uncomfortable, allow me to pick a resolution for you: Learn to Take Criticism. You'll run out of space on your kindle before you achieve the same degree of character development from self-help books or other means.
Speaking from experience, I've found no better way to set goals for personal growth and have strengthened my relationships significantly using this method. For example - the last time I asked for feedback, my best friend mentioned that I often lacked the ability to compartmentalize my emotions, and as a result they spilled over to people that had nothing to do with it. It's stuck with me the entire year and as a result, I've been far more cognizant of my emotional state when meeting new people, spending time in groups, developing new relationships, etc. If something is really eating at me, I'll do my best to sort it out before I allow it to negatively affect others. This was a monumental insight that may have never surfaced otherwise. My life, as well as the lives of those I care about, has been radically altered for the better.
Allow me to save some time by providing templates for you to use depending on your relationship dynamics. Customize to your heart's content, but this should help you get started:
Lately I've been thinking a lot about what to pick for my New Year's Resolution and would like your help in deciding. This may sound a little weird, but I would be very grateful if you could take the time to recall instances in the past where you feel as though I have wronged you, mistreated you, acted out of character, or failed to live up to your expectations or my own. I will not get offended - I value your opinion greatly as you know me best and hope to be an even better [friend/brother/etc.] to you next year. Please take your time and I look forward to your response.
[Your Name Here]
Yo fuckface, instead of making up some bullshit resolution this New Year's, I've decided that I should work on being a better person. That's why I'm giving you a once in a lifetime opportunity to tell me why I suck and I promise not to be a bag of dicks about it. I'm sure I've fucked up enough this year to piss you off, so here's your shovel - feel free to dig shit up and I'll do my best not to remind you that you're wayyyyy shittier than me. Love, [Your Name Here]
And there you have it! Go forth and start asking. If you take me up on this, I'd love to hear about your experiences so shoot me a message or drop a comment below.