Here's a New Year's resolution that can change your life

As we prepare for 2018, many of us are getting ready to make resolutions to change something about our lives in the new year. Search the phrase “new year resolution ideas” on Google without the quotation marks and you’ll find millions of lists of things you can resolve to do.

If you’re able to read all these lists you might want to resolve to find something better to do with your great abundance of free time.

If you’re too busy to read millions of lists, let me save you a lot of time. Just make this one resolution: resolve to tell yourself the truth about a very important topic – yourself. Most of us don’t do that.

I’m not suggesting that we’re compulsive liars – that every word coming out of our mouths is a fib, or like Jack Nicholson’s Col. Nathan Jessep in “A Few Good Men” that we can’t handle the truth.

Rather, I’m saying that many of us bury ourselves alive under in a pile of lies. The result? We keep ourselves from reaching our true potential. We never discover the maximum level of happiness we could attain or the maximum level of service we could perform.

We’re usually much better at being honest with others than we are at recognizing the truth about our own lives.

Here are the three most common lies we tell ourselves about ourselves, along with the price we pay for living with those untruths and the benefits that would accrue to us if we faced the facts.

Lie #1: It’s not that bad.

Yes, it is.

Whether it’s a relationship with a spouse or child, or a job, our weight, our health, or any other significant part of our lives, we’re often afraid to acknowledge reality when it’s painful, difficult or unsatisfying.

Yet things can’t get better until we get real with ourselves about what’s going on.

In Alcoholics Anonymous, the first step in quitting drinking is acknowledging that one has a drinking problem. Until then, all the group meetings in the world won’t do a bit of good.

Similarly, until we can tell ourselves the truth about how unhappy we might be with a relationship, a job, our home, or any other vital circumstance of our lives, there’s no way anything can change.

We’ve got to tell the truth about the parts of our lives we wish we could sweep under the rug, because as any competent therapist will tell you, there is no rug. Things can only get better when you admit how bad they are – if, in fact, things aren’t good enough.

You’ve got only one life on this Earth. So how much longer will you put off happiness and success, however you define those terms?

Lie #2: It’s not going to get any better.

“Your future has nothing to do with your past,” the great motivator Tony Robbins tells us. That’s true, but only if you’re willing to accept the idea that things can get better.

Ask anyone who dropped 25 pounds and finished her first 10k run. Or the person whose career, company or industry got downsized, who retrained and got a new job, and who is now happier – maybe even making more money than ever before.

The truth is that things can get better, but only if we commit to making changes. Things don’t get better by themselves. As the old saying goes, you can only coast downhill.

If unhappiness motivates you to make a change in your life, it’s been called “divine dissatisfaction.” If you are willing to use that unhappiness as a lever for improvement, amazing things can happen.

Are you willing to work to bring about the change you want to see? If you are, then your future has nothing to do with your past.

Lie #3: I can’t because I’m … (fill in the blank: too old, too young, too busy, not smart enough, discriminated against, whatever).

When you say these things, you are acting like a con artist. And you are the primary victim of your con. Mostly out of fear, we construct imaginary limitations around ourselves. We use these self-imposed limits to keep us from getting ahead – like an invisible wall blocking our progress.

This invisible wall keeps us from opening that new business, registering for that class, saying yes to that person who wants to date us, hire us, marry us or whatever.

Look in the mirror and paraphrase President Reagan’s famous 1987 speech at the Berlin Wall by telling yourself: “Tear down this wall!”

When President Reagan said those words, few people expected the Berlin Wall would come down in the foreseeable future. But in November 1989 the gates opened and demolition of the wall began. In in the same way, you can make the invisible wall holding you back come crashing down.

Rabbi Naftali Bier – co-founder of the Kollel of Greater Boston, a Jewish educational institution – says that God created every human being for a purpose. If we aren’t living our purpose, we suffer and the world suffers.

It’s time to stop playing small. It’s time to stop hiding behind our age, gender, race, appearance or limitations – real or imaginary. Plenty of people of all types have succeeded, once they overcame their internal defeatism.

So never buy into the negative mindset telling you that you’re too … something to succeed. You were made too marvelously to believe a lie like that.

As the year draws to a close and people start draw up New Year’s resolutions, most don’t resolve anything – because they have already bought into one, two or even all three of the lies listed above.

But if you resolve to tell the truth to yourself about yourself – the whole, unvarnished, warts-and-all truth about what needs to change in your life and what you want to do next – amazing things can happen. Growth, change, happiness and success can all begin.

But if you resolve to tell the truth to yourself about yourself – the whole, unvarnished, warts-and-all truth about what needs to change in your life and what you want to do next – amazing things can happen. Growth, change, happiness and success can all begin.

And above all, remind yourself of the core truth: you were created in God’s image. That advantage can help you overcome just about every disadvantage.

Have a happy, healthy, abundant and all truth-filled New Year!