Nearly half of Americans out there create a list of New Year’s resolutions that is still somewhere waiting to be tackled. Sure, January 1 is a symbolic day for change, when we remember the past and envision a brighter future. Yet, the problem with making a laundry list of things to change to make this your best year yet is that it looks a lot like something else we see on a regular basis: a list of chores. Maybe this is why so many of us fall short when it comes to successfully completing our goals.
Our resolutions read like obligatory to-dos rather than inspiring ideas. But there’s no time like the present to create change- why wait until January?
In December 2017, I broke the cycle of making resolutions by trading in my list for a mason jar. Rather than checking off bullet points of goals I decided to treat every day like a milestone moment by contributing something to that mason jar. That year, after a rather crummy 2017, I wanted to be happier, so I labeled it the Happiness Jar, a concept that’s been viral for a few years now. Each day, before I went to sleep, I’d write down on a piece of paper a single moment that made me happy with the corresponding date. It varied from memorable career accomplishments to simply being thankful for a hot shower in the dead of winter. Some days I found myself searching the deepest parts within me to find something to smile about, and there were certainly some repeat notes (I worked out, I heard from so-and-so, etc.).
On the days I wasn’t home, I kept the ideas in my pocket and placed them in the jar upon my return. It didn’t matter what I wrote. It only mattered that I took the time to find something positive in my life every single day.
Upon rereading all 365 scattered notes on a table on January 1, 2018, I realized I had accomplished my goal. I was a truly happier person. I was reading moments from the past that I’d forgotten because a vast majority were hardly milestones but merely instants of appreciation. Resolutions are relative. My jar allowed me to accumulate a better life in comparison to the year before, and that’s a goal we all can understand.
Results are important, but the beauty is in the work it takes to get there — that’s where we grow as individuals. Whichever way you choose to label your jar, view it as a daily incentive to complete your goals, whether they be short or long term. It provides structure, discipline, and, above all else, gratitude amid the moments of self-criticism. You can do it alone, or with friends, family, even children. Place the notes in anything from a Mason jar to a shoebox, and personalize it with decorations.
My 2019 jar reads “Daily Accomplishments.” If you do this project, I want to hear from you and the ways it changes your life. Email me to talk more!
Make sure to follow me on Instagram all January long as I travel to Australia, showing ways to keep a healthy mind and body while jet lagged and on the go!
This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here