“This is the year that everything changes.”
“New year; new me!”
Sound familiar? How many times do you hear that in your lifetime? Every year we roll our eyes at people who think they’re going to be an entirely new person in the coming year when we all know that they’re going to be right back to where they are now. Right? Right?!
STOP! No, seriously, stop! Stop judging people for wanting to change.
After the horrendous year we’ve all experienced in 2016 (some more than others), this is not the time to mock a genuine effort to change course. Maybe the reason people don’t follow through on new year’s resolutions is because they don’t have the support to continue. Not to say that we should all rely on others to keep us going, but, as humans, we need the support of the people around us.
Maybe someone’s resolution is to get healthy. Telling them that they’re only going to go to the gym for MAYBE two months before they give up is not helpful. You’re putting into their head that they’re just going to fail, and you’re giving them a timeline to do it. Do you really want them to succeed? Obviously not, otherwise your words would be encouraging. Instead, maybe volunteer to do it with them. If gyming it up isn’t your thing, maybe offering to be that nagging voice in their ear telling them to keep going. If you truly want someone to succeed (which I think is something we should all want a little more), help them. Don’t tell them that it’s pointless. Shaming is NOT motivating.
Maybe they’ve been single for a long time and want to find their person. The “forever alone” jokes and memes hurt, probably more than they let on. Plus, they’re just plain mean! Instead of bashing men (or women, whatever their preference), remind them that there are good people out there. Encourage them to forgo their usual dating/pick-up scene, and go places that make them happy. Chances are, if they’re happy and comfortable there, they’ll find someone who also feels that way.
Maybe they’ve been called a “bitch” or “cold” one too many times and want to make the effort to be nicer and more selfless. Cutting down their attempts at giving makes them want to give up. Again, shaming isn’t motivating. If you really don’t think they can change, keep it to yourself. Perhaps, if you stand back and watch, you’ll be amazed and maybe even inspired to do it, too.
Sure, it’s easy to be cynical about change, because it’s scary and takes effort. It’s easy to just give up before you’ve started, because that means you don’t have to worry about failure. And if you don’t want to make new year’s resolutions, don’t! Stay the way you are. But if you do, or if someone close to you does, don’t cut them down. Encourage them. Help them. Be an example and a guiding light. Just don’t be an ass. And one more time for the people in the back: SHAMING. IS. NOT. MOTIVATING.