Again, It is that time of year when the whole wild world wears a lens of self-reflection. Corporations are reviewing their targets and reporting their progress. Individuals are taking the time to pause and look back at how far they have come and to look introspectively at how much they have grown.
This much is expected from effective managers and self-leaders who have something of grave importance to steward or take care of.
The response of a responsible steward leader would be to make resolutions and adjustments to ensure continuous improvement.
Discover how the tradition of New Year resolutions can be a practical response and get some inspiration from our New Year’s resolution list collected over time.
New Year’s resolution: Meaning and Psychology.
What is a New Year’s resolution?
A New Year’s resolution is a goal, aspiration, or commitment made at the beginning of a new year.
For many individuals, having a New Year resolution is a tradition that fosters self-improvement. It offers an opportunity to set goals for personal growth and work towards achieving them. As part of this practice, people engage in self-reflection to evaluate progress, determine areas for improvement, and make the necessary lifestyle changes.
The concept emphasizes discipline, determination, and the desire for achievements and progress. However, in recent times, it has received some criticism as some people question its philosophy and efficacy.
The Psychology of New Year Resolution.
One major reason behind said criticism is the way people see New Year resolutions. The paradigm expressed as “New year, New me” has often been oversimplified to assume Change is simple and already apparent.
While the expression paints a thrilling picture of the unpredictable possibilities that can emerge from an individual, it often requires a lot of work, discipline, and fundamental changes which most people learn the hard way. This is why it is important to understand the psychology behind this powerful ritual so we can make the necessary paradigm shifts.
Why do people want to know, be, and do better each year?
Finite Days- Resourcefulness
The days of the natural man are finite compared to the infiniteness of time.
To regulate himself against time, Man proactively sought ways to measure time; to understand it, and to make it work for (not against) him. For over 5000 years, the units of time have continued to inform man of his continuity against time —a viable source of information that could trigger, coordinate, or prompt man’s actions.
Opportunity for a fresh start
As humans, we see the turn of the new year as an opportunity for a fresh start. Objectively, the hands of time do not reset, but in one moment in time —a little slice of time—, we start taking action that directly affects our future and shapes our lives. This is the beginning of a better life; a life we are responsible for; a life though finite but fulfilling which is the highest need of man
A nature-backed Decision
Secondly, humans sometimes make decisions based on wisdom from the Natural world. Making a decision around a special event as the earth making a complete revolution on its axis around the sun could influence their decision-making process. Humans can make and they do make resolutions at any point within the year, but a New Year Resolution presents a more compelling endeavor with a time factor attached to it.
Furthermore, on a lighter note, we unconsciously make and pursue New Year resolutions for the feel-good effect of dopamine released by the brain to motivate us to start something good and to keep taking care of ourselves.
Good New Year’s Resolutions to pursue.
Here are impactful goal ideas that could make you a better person in this new year if you act on them.
#1. Decide to have a good day each morning.
It got to a point in my life where “unhappy” best described my default mood. I figured that I was too fixated and dependent on the external environment and people to influence my mood. Whenever things don’t go as expected, I would put on a long face and feel defeated. ”
After listening to this message from Ryan Leak, I resolved to proactively decide, for myself, the kind of day I would have each day and insist, relentlessly, on being happy throughout. The result was huge. I became more emotionally resilient and had an increased number of happier days. Of course, there were (and always will be) down days, but I felt more in control of my reactions as I chose the emotional response in line with my deepest values.
#2. Incorporate Morning Affirmations into your morning routine.
Call me superstitious, but I believe in the power of manifestation. That in our very own words is the power unto life or death(Proverbs 18:21). That, as a Christian, you could speak the very words that shape the future you want to see.
#3. Carve out time for Personal Devotion.
In today’s extremely busy world, it is easy for even well-meaning people to unintentionally put God (and the things of God) on the back burner of their lives. Our social responsibilities, financial, academic, and career pursuits are some of the numerous things competing for our limited time and attention each day. It would require intentionality and a reordering of priorities to spend time with God.
This year, carve out a specific time in your daily schedule for bible study and prayer and guard it jealously to cater to the deepest need of your soul.
There is a difference between waking up to pray and waking up and then praying. One is a commitment, the other is a task or a habit at best.– Toluwalope Oludapo
#4. Build a consistent reading habit.
In truth, it is one to start reading books, it is another to read habitually. The former is driven by interest while the latter is sustained by discipline. Considering all the benefits reading offers, an effective leader should desire to maximize its benefits by reading even when they do not feel like it. If you read books and enjoy their benefits, this new year, you could commit to reading more frequently if you don’t do so already.
#5. Create a book note library.
Category: Productivity, intellectual
This New Year resolution is for people who are avid and voracious readers. If that is you, you might want to consider building a system that allows you to document lessons, opinions, and ideas from the books you have read. Building such a library would allow you to retrieve and recollect ideas for future use. This year, make more meaningful use of the knowledge acquired from the books you’ve read.
#6. Build a Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) system.
Category: productivity, intellectual
While the Information Age granted access and control of information on one hand, on the other, it led to the proliferation of poor-quality information. The need to store valuable information we discover and the brain’s incapacity to store data indefinitely posed a new problem.
With the advancement in technology, we can now create systems aka “ A Second Brain” that collect, retain, and interlink the information or knowledge we get from books, the internet, and even the deep recesses of our mind and spirit.
#7. Take an annual retreat.
Each year, carve out time to disconnect yourself from the hustle and bustle of daily living and connect with yourself, God, and people who matter. Let it be a period of rejuvenation where you rest, recharge, and reboot. By allowing your mind to relax and body to recharge, you are effectively managing your production capability; the ability or asset producing results.
#8. Revisit notes regularly
Make a New Year resolution to revisit notes you took in the past. Imagine the amount of knowledge sitting in your physical and/or digital notes waiting to become wisdom when applied to today’s problems, situations, or challenges.
Do not trivialize this self-improvement goal. An experiment was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of revision versus non-revision. The results were that students who revised their notes achieved higher scores.
How much could we achieve and stand out if we were amongst the lesser fraction of people who reviewed their notes?
#9. Set Healthy Boundaries
Category: Emotional, Social
Every now and then, it is man’s nature to cast off virtuous restraints, go off the edge, or take undue advantage of another person. In these moments, said human is deemed to be dangerous and should be kept at bay. Healthy boundaries keep us safe and protect the things we value and cherish.
One timeless goal for this new year should be to create healthy boundaries —boundaries that are strong enough to keep the negative out and flexible enough to let help or the positive come in, use them, and effectively communicate them to family, friends, employees, and other people in our lives.
Do something about those situations and interactions that transgress or violate your fundamental values and personhood.
#10. Keep a purse for generosity
There are two extreme groups of people when it comes to giving; those who give without restraint beyond their financial capacity; and those who haven’t realized the potential extent of their financial capacity because they are not giving enough.
Just as there are fitness, career, and academic goals, likewise, there are giving goals to pursue as a steward leader. As a New Year resolution, decide on a specific amount —commensurate with your level of income—to give out at regular intervals.
Like Jesus(John 12:6; 13:29), have a special purse for charity where you keep the money you set aside for charity. And when exhausted quicker than usual.
#11. Memorize Bible verses
Bible reading and studying are popular spiritual exercises for bible devotion. However, many people stop there in their quest for bible knowledge. Memorizing Bible verses is another notable spiritual exercise known to provide encouragement, inspire prayers, and give credence to preachments and other creative bodies of work.
Do you remember when Sunday School Lesson teachers from childhood made us memorize one particular verse of the bible each class?
Here are reasons why Memorizing Bible verses is a New Year’s Resolution worthy of consideration. Firstly, it is a spiritual exercise we stopped practicing as we became adults. Doing it willingly would present a child-like posture in our hearts which transforms our relationship with God, The Father.
Secondly, for many people(I used to be one of them), the only bible verses they know and can recite off-hand are the ones they memorized when they were younger.
Conclusion on New Year’s Resolution.
The ritual of making New Year Resolutions is a reminder and permission to start something new, put an end to some form of mediocrity, or try again. Maybe, the beginning of the new year is the best time to start. Maybe it’s not. However, starting is the all-important step if we want to achieve results,
2024 can be your best year yet if you take responsibility for your personal development. The beautiful thing is that irrespective of when you start, you are actively doing something to create a future you desire and deserve.
As a steward leader, it’s important to focus on spiritual, intellectual, and emotional growth. By setting these self-improvement goals and taking proactive steps to practice them, you gradually become the best version of yourself —and increase your level of impact on the world.
So, let’s make 2024 a year of growth, learning, and stewardship!
What is one thing you are committed to doing this year?