“My new year resolution is to quit smoking." "This new year I am going start waking up early everyday" "This year onwards I am going to eat healthy, do yoga and meditate every day.” Do these sound familiar? Have you made such resolutions for yourself in the past years and then couldn’t follow through?
New Year’s Resolution is a promise we make for the coming year. This tradition started a long time back in 153 B.C. This tradition was mostly about creating resolutions for the New Year and forgiving people for anything that happened in the past.
Every new year, you might have something that you want to change about yourself and you think that once the resolutions are made you will be able to follow them, things would be better and you would be able to achieve your goals.
People all over the world make New Year’s Resolutions with an attempt to improve their well-being and Quality of life. Making goals at the beginning means starting something new and having expectations from ourselves for the New Year. Some of the common resolutions are- being physically fit, controlling on sugar, saving money, spending more time with family, reducing stress and paying more attention to ourselves.
Statistics show that 60% of the people in the world make resolutions, out of which only 4% are able to follow them. The reason behind the failures could be the goal setting and breaking old habits. A lot of times how you frame these resolutions matter. A few examples of the resolutions are: eating healthy, staying fit, learn something new and so on. The problem with these resolutions are that these are generic in nature.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind to make long lasting resolutions:
Finding the purpose behind the particular resolution: Before you actually make a resolution, it would help if you reflected on the reasons behind making the resolutions. When you are clear about how this resolution would benefit you or the positive outcomes it would have, it would have a higher possibility of motivating you to reach the goal. Look out for that personal meaning that this goal gives you.
Making it Long lasting: When you create goals for yourself, you want it to be benefit you for a long period. Hence, creating goals that would benefit you in future can go a long way. For example- if your resolution is to eat healthy, try to continue with this for the years ahead too.
Creating resolutions that are realistic and achievable: Before you pen down your resolutions, it is important to find out if they are reasonable, attainable and whether they can be accomplished. Defining the goals in a way that are easy to achieve can create a lot of difference. Questions to be mindful of: Do I have the resources to attain the goal? Is this goal reachable given the time and resources? How committed am I to achieve the goal? Some examples of well-defined, realistic and achievable resolutions- “I will go to the gym for 1 hour, 3 days a week, for better physical health.” “I will write in my journal every night before sleeping, for my emotional well-being.” “I will only eat 1 sweet every day and keep my sugar in control.”
Breaking bigger tasks/goals into smaller ones: The phrase ‘taking baby steps’ is the key. When you take small steps it helps you reach the ultimate goal. Consider breaking the resolution into smaller goals. Achieving the smaller goals gives you the motivation and confidence to keep moving forward.
Sharing the resolutions with your loved ones: When you share the resolutions you make with your friends or family members, you are accepting to commit to them and achieve them. It helps you feel accountable and follow the steps to achieve what you want.
Finding people with similar resolutions: Studies suggest that when we find people who are like minded and who believe in the same things, it gives us the additional push and motivation, and we are more likely to continue with our practices. Additionally, reaching out to people having similar goals can add a feeling of belongingness and connection. So look out in your friends and family, and see if you happen to have similar resolutions.
Giving yourself incentives in the form of rewards: You don’t need to wait for the end of the year to give yourself an award or medal for being consistent with your goals. Give yourself credit from time to time with positive reinforcements and rewards. Encouraging yourself and acknowledging the small little progress you keep making can go a long way in keeping the motivation going. Others can also be a part of this by praising you, supporting you, patting your back and being your cheer leader.
Being grateful and kind: Those unhealthy or undesired habits that you are trying to change probably took years to develop, so how can you expect to change them in just a matter of days, weeks, or months? Be patient with yourself. Understand that working toward your resolution is a process. Even if you make a misstep or two, you can restart and continue on your journey towards your goal. It may take longer than you would like to achieve your goals, but remember that this is not a race to the finish. Once you have made the commitment to changing a behaviour, it may be something that you continue to work on for the rest of your life.
Wanting to make resolutions is great. It gives you the motivation to work on yourself. It gives us hope for improvement and something to look forward to. Just the idea of creating a resolution shows that you have certain beliefs in mind to improve your habits and have a better life. There might be times when you miss out or forget a few things about the resolution, but that is okay, just the effort counts. So let us all take a deep breath, close our eyes and think about what our New Year’s Resolution would be :)