KEEPING NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS
The New Year’s day comes with celebrations all across the globe. It is an important landmark in the life of everything in the world, living or nonliving. Not only is it significant as a chronological entity. But it is also a time for self auditing. It provides one an opportunity to reflect on all the events in the previous year. It is a magical time when you want to put all the pains, anger, disappointments, etc behind you. You decide to set goals for yourself. So you draw up your “New Year Resolutions.”
I visited my friend on New Year’s day. Bobo and I have been friends since childhood. As usual, we discussed various issues ranging from politics and religion to football. We both shared stories of all that had happened to us in the past year. Some of the stories made us laugh. Others brought tears to our eyes. But that’s life. Whether we like it or not, good and bad always walk together.
“This year is going to be different,” Bobo said with a tight fist. “I have made my New Year Resolutions. It’s going to be different this year.”
“Really?” I squeezed my eye.
I couldn’t help laughing. Bobo, like most people make New Year Resolutions. So that was nothing new. I recalled that one of my good friend’s resolutions last year was to be more organised. He confidently resolved to keep a tidy library. I sat down on the only seat that had nothing on it in my friend’s study. Heaps of unopened letters and journals with thick layers of dust on them made the room look like the waste recycling centre. My eyes caught one of my books that I gave him as a present last year. I pulled it out of the pile of his “favourite books.” As I dusted the book and many others on that row, I wondered what would happen to his resolutions again this year.
“Trust me, my friend,” he said. “This year will be different.”
I must admit, Bobo is not alone. Like most people, Bobo makes his Resolutions on New Year’s day. But only few people make the changes they pledge to make. In fact, studies have found that “43% of people who made resolutions broke their “promise” within the first few days or weeks, and 66% didn’t make it past February.”
I stopped making New Year Resolutions a few years ago. Of course, I believe in making changes. But I don’t wait till the first day of January to make that decision. You can make changes anytime and don’t need to wait till the New Year’s day. The important thing is the decision to make those resolutions. You can decide on the day you want to start. It can be the beginning of the week, month or year. As for me, my landmark is my birthday. That’s when I make my own resolutions.
Whatever the time you choose to make your resolutions the most important thing is to keep them. The following tips may help you to achieve them:
Keep them simple and specific: You may have several goals you want to achieve. Perhaps you have the desire to change many things about yourself. Trying to achieve all of them at the same time is likely to cause disappointment. You are more likely to keep your resolutions if you focus on one or two of your most important goals.
Make realistic resolutions: Some goals may be desirable. But are they achievable? You should not aim for goals that are clearly unachievable. Examine your previous experiences and try to figure out what led to failure. In setting your goals, think of factors that may prevent you from achieving them and whether you can deal with those factors.
Write them down: Write your resolutions clearly and boldly and display them where you can always see them. By so doing, you constantly remind yourself of your commitment.
Set Small Goals or Goals in small chunks: Break your goals into clear short-term manageable bites. It is easier to see how well you are doing when you put the road to achieving your goals in phases. Success in those short-term phases will ultimately lead to achieving the main goal.
Power of Repetition: Habit is second nature. It is one of the most difficult things to change. You need to consciously repeat the new habit. If you find yourself drifting back to the old habit, keep on your determination. Don’t flog yourself. Instead, keep reminding yourself that there is no habit that you cannot change. It may help to share your decision with friends and family and let them know how they can help. However, you must put yourself in charge.
Reasons for the change: Constantly remind yourself why you want to make this change. This is especially vital in those moments when the going gets tough and you feel like giving up. You know why you are doing what you are doing. Let that spur you into action. Do whatever it takes to achieve your goal.
Reward yourself: When you achieve each of the chunks of your goals, congratulate yourself. Even if during the process, you have made one or two failures, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have done your best. Start on the next phase and keep going. At the end of it all reward yourself with something really good.
Those of you who have made new year resolutions, I hope you will keep them. All the best.