A New Year’s Resolution for Honesty

the-honesty-thing-new-years-resolutionWe’re coming up on a new year! Time to start thinking about getting healthy in the new year. One way to do that is to consider The Honesty Thing: trying to be more honest and seek out truth in the world around you. Being more truthful may make you more healthy. Really! In one study, participants who lied less in their everyday lives reported better physical and mental health.

Since you’re planning to exercise and eat healthy anyway, let’s just toss in some honesty and really feel the benefits.

Lying to Ourselves

Think about it: if we stayed home an entire day and didn’t talk to a single other person all day long, do you think that would make for a day with no lies? We lie to ourselves all the time. Learning to tell the truth is hard at first, especially to ourselves. But it’s the best place to start, and the easiest. Just learn to ask yourself gentle questions: Why do I lie about that? Do I want to tell the truth about that or just not talk about it?

  • Me: I’m going to clean out the closet today!
  • Also me: Really? Because I doubt you have time for that, and I’m pretty sure you do not have the motivation.
  • Me: I want to do something productive.
  • Also me: I understand. But you have a long list of things to do already, and the closet is really not a priority.
  • Me: But I feel like I only have time for the usual cleaning, and then I never get to get to the bigger projects.
  • Also me: Oh, I see. Well, I know cleaning out the closet would give you a good sense of accomplishment. Let’s look at the calendar and see how next Saturday works. You could schedule a good two hours for that, get done in one, and have an hour for something fun.
  • Me: I am so smart.
  • Also me: Yes I am.

Lying to Others

The best way to change is to see what we are doing in the first place. The next time you have a conversation with somebody, try to go over it again in your head afterwards. Did you tell them you like a certain TV show, but you really don’t? Did you lie about what you plan to do for the weekend? Think of some of the things you said, why you said them, and what you could have said differently so that you wouldn’t have lied (even if it’s not saying anything about something at all).  These little white lies are unnecessary but they just tumble out and then it’s difficult to keep the stories straight.

There are some times you really should tell a little white lie to preserve someone’s feelings. It doesn’t matter if your coworker’s hair is shockingly short. She is shocked by the change as well when she asks how you like it. Here’s an easy way to handle that: “it is quite a change, isn’t it! It looks nice and you’ll get used to it soon”. Well, it looks nicer than it could, right? And it’s likely you are shocked by the change rather than disliking it. And if it’s not the best style, so what? What can the poor woman do about it now? However, we tell so many lies in a casual conversation that are really not necessary.

Honestly, it is difficult to start being more honest. But the unburdened feeling of freedom you will get from telling the truth will truly be worth it.

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