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Do you still remember your previous year’s resolutions? How many of them did you achieved?
If you had achieved at least one, you are already better off than the majority of the people. Most of the people probably forget about their resolutions after the first month. Have you ever wondered why we can’t stick to it? Here are some of the reasons:
One of the reasons behind this is that we are just following trends. Our actions are influenced by our surroundings. When we see everybody preparing a list of New Year resolutions, we follow. When we see our friends mention “New Year; New Me”, we follow. We do stuff just for the sake of doing it. After we did it, we feel satisfied of our actions. A false sense of achievement is created. We thought that we have achieved the resolutions just by writing it down. If we do it just for the sake of doing it, it will eventually result in other problems such as a lack of preparation and commitment.
Here’s what you should do:
Instead of following the trend blindly, ask yourself a few questions before proceeding.
i. What’s the purpose behind the New Year resolutions?
You mentioned you want to exercise more frequently last year. What’s the purpose behind this? To have a healthier body or to look fit? Perhaps you mentioned you want to travel around the world. Why? Because it is a trend? Or deep down inside, you want to explore the world and go on an adventure? Make sure you are clear with the purpose behind each resolution.
If the resolutions doesn’t serve any meaningful purposes, cross it off. It’s not necessary to add it into the list. Life is too short to deal with it.
ii. Is it achievable?
Most of the time, we write down the resolutions without thinking deeper. We end up setting a list of unrealistic resolutions which are unachievable.
Perhaps you wanted to travel to several countries. Is it financially feasible? Are you able to save up enough money to make this dream come true? If the answer is no, try to adjust your resolutions, turn it into something achievable. Instead of travelling to Europe, you might consider traveling to other fascinating yet affordable countries.
Asking these questions might help you to discover what you really want to achieve in the New Year. Instead of just following the trend, you are now clear with the direction to take in the next year.
2. Lack of planning
“To be prepared is half the victory” – Miguel de Cervantes
Did you lay out your plan to hit your New Year resolutions after listing it down? Most people don’t. While a plan without action is just a dream, action alone won’t take you far without proper planning. Action and planning need each other to be complete. Without proper planning, we might eventually lose sight of our direction. So you want to be healthier in the New Year, what’s your plan? Exercise frequently, eat cleaner, that’s all? No, it’s not specific enough. You need to have a detailed plan, which covers every aspect in order to achieve the resolutions.
Here’s what you should do:
You need to have a detailed plan. Want to be healthier? Schedule out when you need to exercise, list down what food you need to avoid and so on. For example:
- Hit the gym every Wednesday and Friday after working hours.
- Drink more water every day and have a healthy breakfast every morning.
- Avoid junk food and fast food.
Want to live happier in the New Year? Considered listing out the things or events that make you happy. For example:
- Write down 3 things you are grateful for every morning.
- Smile more. Even a fake smile will lift your mood up.
- Cut off the toxic people around you.
- Practice controlling your anger.
- Go on a vacation with your family/friends at least twice this year.
Be more specific about your plan, so you’re clear about what action needs to be taken. Break down every single resolution into steps or a bunch of smaller goals. That will give you a clearer direction on what you need to do in order to achieve your New Year resolution at the end of the year. And it is way easier to accomplish these little goals compared to something immeasurable like “Live happier” or “Stay healthy”.
3. Lack of commitment.
Another reason might be a lack of desire to change. A sense of urgency to change only exists when a new year approaches. When a new year approaches, we will always have the desire to make changes, but the desire doesn’t last. After a few weeks, it’s going to fade away. A lack of commitment to the New Year resolutions are what make us unable to stick to it. At first we might commit ourselves to the resolutions. However, day by day, that dedication slowly fades away. Even sticking to one simple thing isn’t easy after all. What more if you need to stick to a list of resolutions?
Here’s what you should do:
First, make sure you have planned out the necessary steps to achieve the resolutions. We don’t want to get lost while pursuing the New Year’s resolutions. Break the resolutions down into little steps, so we can keep an eye on them. Feeling lost while working on the New Year resolutions will cause us to lose the dedication to pursue it.
Look at your resolutions. Do the resolutions require a period of time and effort to achieve it? Can it be broken down into smaller steps? For example:
To Stay Healthy
List down what you should do to become healthier. Exercise, drink more water, avoid junk food & etc.
Now take a look at the list. Which one is the simplest? Pick one, and stick to it. Perhaps, it is to drink more water. Now every morning, makes sure you remind yourself of it. Track how much water you drink by the end of the day. If the performance is not as planned, be sure to put in more effort the next day. Keep tracking it until it becomes a habit. When you feel the time is right, add in other practices from the list.
Maybe you choose to jog every Monday and Wednesday in order to stay healthy. Now make sure you stick to it. Every Monday and Wednesday, prepare your running shoes beforehand. Shape your environment such that it reminds you of the activities.
In short, to make yourself commit to an activity, make it simple to start. Track your progress and constantly remind yourself about it. Always stick to your schedule and don’t break the chain.
4. Unexpected challenges in lives.
After listing down the New Year’s resolutions, we might work on the resolutions for the first few weeks. But as time flies, our lives will be definitely be overwhelmed by other challenges. Everything changes. We start to focus our energy on the obstacles we face and begin to forget about the resolutions. Once again, New Year resolutions fade away from our lives. Unable to cope with the constant change in our lives is another issue that causes this.
Here’s what you should do:
Obstacles are inevitable in our lives. So even if it’s a new year, don’t expect an easy life. There will be hardships waiting for you ahead. Prepare for it mentally and don’t make that stop you from achieving your New Year resolutions.
While we can’t control what life gives us, we can control how we react to it. One thing we need to keep in mind is that nothing stays constant, everything change eventually. Bear with it. Changing is part of our live.
Instead of blaming on the circumstances, focus on things you have control over. When you get busier and can’t keep up with your schedule, take a step back and reflect. Is there any alternatives? What do you have control over that can improve the situation? Face the problems proactively.
You are too exhausted after working hours to exercise? Schedule it to the morning then. You are busy and unable to accompany your family? Track how you use your time and eliminate activities that don’t benefit you. Manage your own time and energy. To deal with the changing environment, step back and view things from a different angle.
The key to achieving your New Year resolutions is perseverance. How persistent you are decides how long you’ll stick to your resolutions. To make it easier to persists, lay out a plan so that you’re clear with your direction. To make yourself commit to your plan, make it simple, start small and form a habit.
And when you’re going to give up, step back and reflect. Think about why you started and how far you have come. Remember, it’s always too early to quit. Let’s make this New Year a better year than the previous one.