By Elizabeth Davies
Welcome to January, the first month of a new year. A time when we all feel happy and shiny, determined to become better people and do things differently from last year.
If the road to hell is paved with good intentions then it would seem fair to say that the road to disappointment is often paved with New Year’s resolutions.
The premise of a resolution as an annual goal for self-improvement is something I hugely admire. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that too often these resolutions aren’t based on personal improvement, they're based on unhealthy comparisons. We want to have a bikini body like that distant Facebook friend we haven’t seen since high school. We want to get a better job so we can go on exciting trips to exotic countries. We want to be proposed to on romantic beaches and plan perfect simple, small, vintage barn weddings… forgive me I digress.
Our parents have been telling us the truth since we were little kids jealous of Sarah’s light up Mickey mouse sneakers, and James’ monkey bar technique. There’s always going to be someone skinnier than you, someone smarter than you, someone with a more impressive job title and a higher salary.
That being said there doesn’t always have to be someone happier than you, regardless of your job, relationship status or the extra three kg you put on over Christmas stuffing your face with novelty coin shaped chocolates and potato salad. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a few smiling snapshots online necessarily reflect true happiness. There’s no point in comparing yourself to someone’s public persona which they edit on a regular basis to make themselves look happy, fun, cool and successful.
I won’t say I have New Years’ resolutions, but I will subscribe to the idea of having a few goals. I actually have quite a few goals for this year, some are simple and concrete, things I can tick off a list.
I want to get my full driver’s license, better late than never. I want to save for a trip to Japan, a travel destination that’s been on the top of my list for a few years now. I want to get more written work published, and I want to continue working on my furniture and print design.
All of these things can be more or less measured. The big one however is something I can try to do, but I’ll never reach a level of ‘achieved.’ It will have to be an ongoing effort probably for the rest of my life.
The biggest goal of all is self-acceptance. The only way to truly be happy is to stop comparing yourself to those around you. For me 2015 is about remembering the fact that for me life isn’t a race for success, or a financial competition. Someone else ‘winning’ at life doesn’t make me a loser.
Elizabeth Davies is a graduate of the Auckland University of Technology post graduate journalism course. She writes a weekly article for interest.co.nz on money matters and financial struggles from a young person's perspective.