The new year is upon us, which means it’s everybody’s favorite time for attempting to turn over a new leaf. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions. Why wait for a particular time of the year? You can start improving your life at any point.
That being said, it is the new year. It’s as if the entire world is resetting itself. Everyone is taking a colossally deep breath as they move forward into new goals, hopes, and dreams. It’s a wonderful time, really, but just like anything else, it comes with pitfalls too.
So, here are four tips for introverts who want to make 2018 their greatest year yet.
1. Stop making unrealistic resolutions.
Thanks to my introverted dreaminess, I tend to set way too many goals for myself. There are always so many things I want to try, learn, and conquer. And you wouldn’t believe how many people I know who say things like, “This year, I want to lose 50 pounds, get a promotion, be at church every week for the whole year, rekindle the romance in my marriage, finally do that house remodel we’ve been wanting to do, etc…” I’m always just standing there, wanting to shout, “Whooaa!”
People set way too many goals for themselves, realize they can’t possibly do them all, then get depressed and try again next year. What a vicious cycle.
Instead, make a resolution to do one thing every single day that feeds your soul or makes you happy. That’s it.
Maybe that means you read for thirty minutes each night before you go to bed, or take short walks after dinner and enjoy the sun going down. Maybe you’d like to finish a book series that you’ve been dying to read, or allow yourself at least one hour of alone time each day. Whatever makes you happy and content will do the trick.
Sure, it’s fine to have a few other things in the back of your mind that you’d like to get done. But don’t be a drill sergeant. Understand that things happen, and we can plan all we like, but our plans will fall through sometimes. But if you make a little promise to do something you enjoy every day, that little bit of sunshine will help get you through the days when every parade you can possibly imagine gets rained on.
2. Remember that the new year does not own you.
I am really bad at this one, I admit. I make a resolution, then break it, get mopey, and realize I’ll have to wait a whole year or so until I can try again.
Sound familiar? How many people do you know who do this?
But here’s the thing: The new year does not own you, and it doesn’t dictate when you can make things happen for yourself. You broke your resolution? Okay, shake it off, and try again tomorrow.
That’s right. Not ten months from now. Tomorrow. Your time is your own, and it’s okay if you have to start over slap in the middle of March. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed to happen, because, you know, life.
Don’t punish yourself for stumbling. You can always get back up.
3. Stop making snap judgments about people you don’t understand.
As a writer for Introvert, Dear, my main mission is to try to make non-introverts understand us quiet ones. In our Western society that praises the extrovert’s way, introverts often face a slew of assumptions and snap judgments — and that hurts. My goal is to set the record straight.
That said, have you ever seen a loud, attention-loving extrovert and instantly decided that you didn’t like them? I have. I don’t know them personally, but I see the way they are, the way they function, and I just don’t understand. I don’t get it, so I don’t like it.
And yet, these are the exact kind of judgments that I ask others to stop making about introverts. Perhaps extroverts and introverts will never completely see eye-to-eye. I’ll never understand why extroverts voluntarily seek out large parties, and they’ll probably never truly understand why I voluntarily avoid them.
But that’s okay. As long as all of us, introverted or otherwise, can make a small promise to stop judging others for their differences and start accepting each other as we are, I believe greater understanding of our personality types can flourish.
And it doesn’t end at temperament. In 2018, let’s stop making assumptions about others based on what they look like, where they live, what they say or don’t say, or how they seem on social media. Greater inner peace and happiness for everyone involved will follow.
4. Stop apologizing for who you are.
Let’s be realistic. Even though I would like everyone to follow #3, it’s not going to happen. Some people still will not understand, and they will not try to understand. As many introverts can attest, I’m sure I’ll still have people asking me why I’m so quiet, telling me I’m boring for staying home, questioning my intelligence because I need a moment to think before answering, etc.
If you’re like me, when this happens to you, the first words out of your mouth are, “I’m sorry…” But really, you (and I) have nothing to apologize for.
I’m not saying you should be rude or snap back with some sarcastic quip. A shrug and a friendly smile will do when someone comments on your preference for staying home a lot.
It is not unkind to remain secure in who you are. It is not unkind to save apologies for when you’ve truly caused harm, as opposed to when you’ve just failed to live up to someone’s misplaced expectations of you.
In 2018, free yourself. Free yourself from other people’s expectations, but also from your own. Do not push yourself into a year-long marathon, then punish yourself when you have to stop for food and rest. Take a water break when you need it, then start jogging again when you’re able to.
Most of all, do not allow others, or even yourself, to make you feel ashamed of who you are or what your temperament is. You are exactly as you are supposed to be.
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Image credit: @azimnaqiuddin via Twenty20