The Most Dangerous & Common Thing We Do at the Start of a New Year (& How to Avoid It)

Once a new year starts, one inevitable thing happens. People start obsessing about goals and resolutions. But with this tendency toward self-improvement, we need to be careful of one very dangerous reality: comparing ourselves to others.

The new year brings with it that tradition of making resolutions. These goals seem to regularly focus on changing what we don’t like about ourselves, often such lofty changes that are so far beyond our reach that we abandon them by the fifth week of the year. I love this time of year, and have learned through experience that it’s best to use resolutions as a way of making goals that I know I can achieve.

I haven’t quite made an official list of specific goals for the year, but the thought of how I can become better has been on my mind. I have come up with a theme for my year, and that is to not be so hard on myself and others.

A huge part of this goal begins with not comparing my life to others’ in a way that makes me feel worse—or better—about my own life. It can be helpful to use the good we see in others as an example of good. The problems in comparing come when we begin to compare all the many aspects of life—marriage, children, finances, appearance, homes, creativity, and other talents—in a way that lead us to feel that we often just don’t measure up. How easy it has become to get bogged down by other people’s “perfect” lives we see only from social media posts, often only glimpses of perfection. We see all the things we are NOT, forgetting all the things we ARE.

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