MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — The start of the new year means the return of New Year's resolutions.
Fifty percent of people said they planned on making resolutions for 2023, according to Numerator, but Forbes reports about 80% of resolutions are ditched by February. As we enter a new year, maybe consider a new approach.
Valerie Tiberius, a professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota, said the new year is a good time to check in with yourself about what matters most to you.
Tiberius has a new book coming out next week called "What Do You Want Out of Life? A Philosophical Guide to Figuring Out What Matters," which delves into better understanding your values and what to do when your goals conflict.
"My own view about what it is to live a good life is to live a life that's in accord with your most important values. I think when we live, we kind of get out of whack with those values, so we sort of get distracted by trivial things and we put the important things on hold and we hope to come back to them," Tiberius said. "It's good to have that moment when you can actually look at your life and think, 'Well, how much am I actually aligned with what I actually care about?'"
Tiberius' book includes five strategies to help readers figure out their most important values, including the "lab rat strategy."
"We have a lot of stories we tell about ourselves that are flattering and don't always match who we are at a deeper level," Tiberius said. "So I think it can be helpful to think about yourself as another person would think about you. If you were a scientist observing yourself or even if you were your friend observing you."
Tiberius gave a personal example of when she was in college studying philosophy. She was reading the great Russian novels because she thought, "That's what a serious, intellectual college student does." Her friend pointed out that every time Tiberius read "Crime and Punishment," she would become morose and unhappy.
"You can't always see how you feel about things. If all you do is think and introspect, you might miss what's actually bringing you joy in life and what's actually boring the crap out of you or making you miserable day after day because... we tend to deceive ourselves about those sorts of things," Tiberius said. "So sometimes it takes another person to point that out, but we can also try to take that other person point-of-view on ourselves."
Once we identify our values, they can serve as touchstones to guide how we live our lives. Tiberius said while her book does not get into resolutions, figuring out what matters most can then help people make resolutions that align with their core values.
"You might come up with resolutions that just don't really fit you really well so it's worth thinking about," Tiberius said. "What are the things you really care the most about and how can you translate those into specific goals?"
"What Do You Want Out of Life? A Philosophical Guide to Figuring Out What Matters" will be published on Jan 10. by Princeton University Press.
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