The hottest topic in the last week of December and the first week of January. Did you set New Year's resolutions?! Well, guess what.
You should not. Let us explain why!
The old year is left behind
and some of you might use the time to reflect on some major events of the passing year, give thanks for them, and set big goals for the coming year. But besides being thankful for everything that went well in the past 12 months, you might also reflect on what you don’t want to repeat in the future and to get rid of bad habits, don’t you? Even if that might be true, let’s be honest: Who made New Year’s resolutions, and at the end of the first week of January, things would go back to their usual messiness?
‘Stop watching stupid shows on Netflix’, ‘Start exercising three times a week’, ‘Drink more water’, ‘Start studying for exams on time’, ‘Expand my network’, ‘Learn French’… The list would go on and on and on because we naively believed that at midnight some sort of magic would happen and we all of sudden change over midnight. But guess what? There is nothing wrong with taking it slowly. Don’t expect to happen all and at once. So, stop setting New Year’s resolutions and let things run their natural course. At some point, especially as you get older, you will realize the importance of some goals and start working towards them without much pressure. If you haven’t had your ‘aha’ moment, consider the following hints of things you shouldn’t repeat next year or even tomorrow.
We overbook ourselves
Have you looked at your calendar lately? It’s pretty full, right? Color-coded, too? I bet you stare at it thinking how cool it looks and then whines to your friends about it. It’s a new game called ‘OMG Have You Seen My Calendar?’, where we all pretend to be very important and exhausted.
But in all honesty, a full calendar is hindering your productivity. It’s like Taylor Swift says – ‘A friend to all, is a friend to none, chase two girls, lose the one.’ In other words: if you’re trying to do too many things at once, you’re probably doing none of them well, but just enough to pass. But that feeling of emptiness and a lack of fulfillment that’s been bothering you – yeah, that’s why. Stop that.
We take too little care of ourselves
Thanks to that full calendar, we often overlook both our physical and mental health. If you have been feeling overwhelmed and tired, it probably means you need a break and more time for yourself. We live in a culture that worships a full inbox, unanswered emails, having a few different professional obligations, learning Chinese on top of it, and smiling through it. However, if you are not exercising and taking breaks away from social media and the toolbox of the mighty millennial aka Google Suit, you will snap and then feel guilty about it. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to stop. Only by resting and recharging your batteries can you perform at your best and by taking breaks and just breathing in silence, you can actually learn what is most important to you and to what you should devote your precious working hours to.
One way to do so is by taking a break and escaping everyday life. And why not combine culture with an internship which brings you further in accomplishing your future goals? If you haven’t heard about AIESEC, this might be the time to familiarize yourself with it. The youth-led, non-profit organization, provides cross-cultural volunteering and internship experiences abroad, in order to develop leadership skills in young people. So, you can choose between over 120 countries and territories, where AIESEC has a number of international partnerships. Their experiences not only allow you to have an impact in local communities but also learn about a completely different culture and awesome places, where you’ll be able to create incredible stories to share. You can also join them in their leadership movement and work in a local office in order to develop your leadership skills and leave an impact on a local level.
Mindset is everything
In 2020 and 2021, we could officially not feel guilty about achieving too little, because it wasn’t our fault – there is a pandemic going on and the world is under a shut-down. Each one of you knows so many people that have struggled to focus and get through their studies, or to do anything productive for weeks on end. I also know a lot of people who say that despite everything that happened, this was their best year yet. The difference? The second group disassociated themselves from the external events entirely.
Yes, it sucked that we couldn’t spend more time with our friends, and for some, not being able to travel back home and see their families was really tough. But life goes on, it doesn’t stop, no matter what quarantine leads you to believe. Once you take time to rest and recharge, recognize the opportunities you do have and try to make the most of it. For example, try caring less about the corona and more about your future after the pandemic. It won’t always be easy and you will have your fair share of depressing periods, but in the end, you will also have a very successful year. Uncontrollable events happen all the time. But as long as you and your loved ones are healthy and safe, you must do the best you can in a situation and draw strength from it.
What are we trying to say here? We have no idea if life will go back to normal next year. It probably won’t. But that doesn’t mean that we should stop planning for later and work on ourselves in the meantime. The uncertainty is always there. Try not to give up on your goals because of it.
So, if you are tired of staring at a screen, go take a nap. Once you’re rested, decide to work on yourself and choose only one thing that is most important to you. If that thing has anything to do with developing yourself personally and professionally, go further.
This article was written in cooperation with AIESEC.
All photo rights by International Campus GmbH.