Tomorrow is the dawn of a new beginning and the start of a new year filled with hope, ambitions, positive vibes and happiness. For many, it sets the platform for their aspirations and goals. It is an opportunity for each of us, somewhat like a blank slate, which can be filled with good things, new resolutions and accomplishments. We fervently make our own resolutions for the forthcoming year but statistics are pretty bleak on its success rate-less than 10% of resolutions are kept by the end of year and almost 25% of them fail before 15 January. Still, its enchanting to come up with some new resolution every year and this tradition is in fact much older than establishment of the Christian festival or even placing the new year in the middle of the freezing winter. It started with the Babylonians some 4,000 years ago where people promised to repay their debts and return borrowed objects. Egyptians, made sacrifices at the beginning of their year in July and in return prayed for good fortune and rich harvests. Romans started their year with promises made to Janus, the God after whom the first month is named. Some knights took oaths to renew their commitment to chivalry and a 17th-century Scotswoman wrote in her diary to pursue Biblical versus such as ‘I will not offend anyone’ as the starting point for resolutions (https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2018/01/05/the-origin-of-new-years-resolutions). While the means might be different the ideology behind the resolution remains the same-reflect upon self-improvement once a year!
Typical Resolutions Taken
Isn’t it always losing weight or eating healthy food that tops the list of new resolutions taken every year? If you wonder why, each of us are overloaded with plum cakes, booze, cookies, salted greasy food and more following Christmas and New Year eve party which makes many of us inclined towards taking resolutions that are often health-driven after such elaborate partying and eating. Millions of people worldwide take resolutions to exercise more, eat better, drink less and lose weight but a study from the University of Bristol shows that 88% of people fail to meet them. Most common reasons for profound failure include setting unrealistic goals, failing from tracking our progress rates and forgetting. Also, most of the resolutions taken are those that we haven’t been able to accomplish in the last couple of years-they are challenging and hence we take them up as New Year resolutions which makes us doubt our own capability to accomplish them! Some of the top resolutions taken on this basis include losing weight, getting fit, quit smoking, drink less, eat healthier, learn something new, get out of debt, spend time with family, travel more, be less stressed, volunteer, make new friends and spend less time on electronic gadgets (http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,2040218,00.html).
Where there is a Will, There is a Way
Though statistics are blank and discouraging the New Year is indeed the time to work towards making positive changes in life. To overcome mistakes, we need to learn the cause behind them. If you think, sticking to resolutions requires sacrifices from our end in the present to reap benefits in the future. For instance, eating a corn salad for snacks might be boring now when you are given an option to choose French fries but in the long-term your choice helps you become healthier. Research shows that people give into temptations about 1 in 5 times they try to resist and this number can increase even more when they are tired, stressed or busy. Our brains overvalue immediate pleasures rather than pursuing future ones. This is where willpower comes into picture. Each of us are blessed with this quality and only when we use it can we overcome our desire for immediate pleasure to stick to our long-term goals. Besides willpower, emotion is another important quality for succeeding in our resolutions. When we place more value on our future gains the emotions make persevering towards those goals much easier-we spend more time on tasks, don’t procrastinate, reduce impulsive behavior and enhance performance of the job. Relying on emotions surely does help you fulfill your promises which helps you look at the year with joy and a sense of pride for accomplishing your goals rather than seeing yourself as a failure once again.
Before you take up a resolution it is always necessary to think why you would like to take up the goal and if you are taking it up for every right reason. Taking things at the spur of the moment will not last long. Whereas, if you think hard about your needs and pursue something that helps you restructure your life for the better you surely have a good chance at accomplishing it. You can take up big goals that might be life-changing and this might even influence the people around you to encourage and motivate you for fulfilling your dream. Work towards the goal by making daily to-do lists that help you feel accomplished by the end of day. Measure your progress by checking out the list and if the goal is something that cannot be measured in numbers split them into smaller ones that can be tracked for progress. During this process don’t be disappointed when you are not able to stick to your schedule a couple of days. Failures are part and parcel of life and we indeed learn things only when we fail. Ponder upon your reasons for failing to keep up with your promise, correct them and move forward with enthusiasm.
Why Not Take Up Micro-resolutions?
If you can’t stick to one big resolution all through the year why don’t you try something different this year? Choose 12 small resolutions for each month and accomplish them (https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinecenizalevine/2019/12/26/ditch-the-new-years-resolution-for-monthly-goals--12-ideas-to-improve-your-career/#5a7a7a724401). It’s much easier to focus and dedicate your time to smaller goals for a 4-week period. Following it for a month is a long enough time for making it a habit in your life. The 12 resolutions can be 12 bad habits that you would like to eliminate from your life or 12 habits that you would like to add to your life. Generally, adding good habits is more pleasant and satisfying compared to cutting off bad ones.
Good habits could involve anything like meditation, reading poetry, sleeping for 8 hours during night for the entire month, communicating with nature, listening actively to your child/family without getting distracted with mobiles/television, moving more through the day, adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your daily intake or showing gratitude to a different person daily for all 30 days. When you do something for a month it becomes a habit and you are likelier to follow it thereon. For instance, when you eat fruits and vegetables you tend to correct your eating habits pursuing the right path towards eating healthier. The small goal has paved way for achieving bigger goals automatically. Maybe this year each of you could set the stage for 12 small goals that can be followed, sustained through the period and would make you a much better person in life.
Here’s How to Crack Your New Year’s Resolutions: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/01/heres-how-to-crack-your-new-years-resolutions
5 Ways to Make a New Year’s Resolution Stick: https://www.forbes.com/sites/francesbridges/2019/12/28/5-ways-to-make-a-new-years-resolution-stick/#445aa10d5a77
The Secret for Actually Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions , According to Science: https://www.rd.com/culture/secret-keeping-new-years-resolutions/
The Top 3 Reasons New Year’s Resolutions Fail & How yours Can Succeed: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2019/12/21/the-top-3-reasons-new-years-resolutions-fail-and-how-yours-can-succeed/#203a3b8f6992
Year-long Resolutions Don’t Work. Here’s How to Make 12 ‘Micro-resolutions’ Instead: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/12/27/health/mini-monthly-new-years-resolution-part-two-wisdom-project-wellness/index.html
Ditch the New Year’s Resolution for Monthly Goals-12 Ideas to Improve Your Career: https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinecenizalevine/2019/12/26/ditch-the-new-years-resolution-for-monthly-goals--12-ideas-to-improve-your-career/#5a7a7a724401
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