By: Eric Betts
It is common for people to make New Year’s resolutions related to observable activity, such as losing weight, eating better, exercising more, or quitting smoking. However, focusing solely on external goals can lead to a sense of emptiness and lack of fulfillment. This is because it neglects and fails to improve the real you, which is the inner person.
Prioritizing the inner person and not just superficial aspects of life when it comes to New Year resolutions is important because it helps us focus on our spiritual growth and personal development. By prioritizing spiritual virtues such as kindness, empathy, patience, humility, and devotion to prayer and reflection, we can align our goals with the teachings of our faith or our values and contribute to our overall wellbeing.
In addition, focusing on the inner person can have a positive impact on our relationships with others. By incorporating virtues such as charity and understanding into our resolutions, we can cultivate a more forgiving and compassionate attitude, leading to stronger and more lasting relationships with friends, family, workmates, and your community. It is these inner virtues that lead to more stable relationships and networks, according to Vicki Zakrzewski, a Ph.D. and education director for Greater Good Science Center. She has written about this topic in Greater Good Magazine.
Developing more kindness, patience, and humility can expand the circle of your influence to help others and improve the world around you. Zakrzewski shows how kindness and generosity have been linked to greater life satisfaction, stronger relationships, and better mental and physical health. When we practice kindness, we are more likely to consider others’ beliefs and opinions, which can lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation of those around us. By cultivating patience, we can learn to listen more attentively and respond more thoughtfully, which can help us build stronger and more meaningful relationships with others.
Humility is another important virtue that can contribute to stronger relationships and a stronger connection to the community. According to Tiara Blain, who holds a master’s degree in psychology, and is a freelance writer for Very Well Mind (an online health and psychology magazine) suggests in an online article that humble people are able to offer the gift of acceptance to others, which allows our protective walls to come down and fosters a sense of trust and intimacy. Humility also helps us become less self-involved and more attuned to the feelings of others, which can lead to a deeper sense of empathy and compassion. Blain says that “humility also helps in the development of self-growth and self-awareness, because it allows one to rationally acknowledge ways in which they can improve themself.” This is because humility allows one to manage self-esteem, and become self-assured without boasting, bragging or looking for credit. It allows you to confidently give others credit and praise, which in turn builds relationships, all while recognizing the need for further personal development.
It is my hope that you grow and increase in your inner person for the good of yourself and others in this new year. Yes, strive for excellence in your observable actions, but equally apply effort toward those invisible virtues for the health of your inner person and the good of all.
By: Eric Betts
Udemy Instructor in Religion, Leadership and Ethics