While driving towards home with my family, my younger sister asked me (to make sure I don’t fall asleep), “What is your New Year’s Resolution?“. I paused to think, then replied “I don’t have one and don’t believe in it“.

Explaining further, I told her that changing ourselves should not be tied to a specific date or time. We can start changing ourselves the moment we determine that it is the best course of action.

I do understand the logic behind New Year’s Resolutions: the new number on your calendar is a daily reminder of the things you promised yourself at the start of the year. However, if you find yourself procrastinating on those changes and saying, “I’ll just wait until the new year comes around”, then that is not a good habit.

As the new year comes, you may have also noticed some posts about becoming your Person version 2.0, or version 3.0, and so on. This implies that your current self is an older, outdated version, and that your “upgraded” self is better.

This is dangerous thinking. I don’t believe we have an “upgraded” version of ourselves. What happened is through years of neglect and bad habits our inner person is stuck in dirt.

The goal should not be “how to be version 2.0”, but how to get rid of the grime and muck that accumulated over the years

Smelting is the process of extracting a metal from its ore. An ore is a combination of several minerals or materials and the forging process involves extracting the metal you need from that amalgam of materials.

Through the years we have acquired good and bad beliefs, habits, behaviors, and actions. Smelting ourselves means getting rid of those bad aspects of our experiences in life.

Not taking care of ourselves. By not eating right or not being active, we become sedentary, weak, and sickly. Normally we do not intend to become like this, but small habits compound through the years and result in some serious negative results.

Treating others badly. Being judgmental and assuming the worst in people not only hurts others, but it also hurts ourselves by being constantly on the defensive and being paranoid. Having negative thoughts and emotions not only affect us emotionally, but it also manifests physically (increased stress, higher blood pressure).

Bad spending habits. How we relate with money is influenced by how we see our parents handle theirs and our relationships with peers. We can acquire both good and bad financial habits from our family and social circle. Are your family and friends frugal? Do they live above their means? In the end, you still have control on your actions and habits and you should not blame others on your current situation.

Very high temperatures are needed when smelting metal. The ore needs to be melted before the base metal (the finished product) can be extracted. In the same way, removing bad beliefs and habits are never easy. We have been doing these things for a long time and our tendency is to dislike change and to keep the status quo.

Take care of yourself. Start eating in moderation, and then proceed to eating right. Drastically altering your diet may work in the short term, but may result in burnout and regression to your previous habits. Sleeping well and sleeping enough is the easiest way to feel better.

Treat others the way you want to be treated. Known as the Golden Rule, it may sound trite at this age but it is still true! Not only will you have better relations with others, but you will be more optimistic about life. I have learned that I value peace more than wealth.

Have a good relationship with money. Financial literacy is important, not to help us become rich, but to prevent us from getting bankrupt. Read books, listen to podcasts, and read blog posts that teach about managing your money. Whether you are knee-deep in debt or just want to further increase your wealth, there are lots of resources available that can help you with your specific problem. The important thing is to have your own knowledge (no matter how simple) instead of completely relying on others to make decisions for you.

It is unhelpful (and unhealthy) to think of ourselves as inferior or incomplete. Instead, we need to be aware that we have an inner strength, a complete person within us that just waits to be freed!

Photo by Hannah Gibbs on Unsplash

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