by Lakshmi Sadhu
New Year’s resolution (noun) an assessment of, and often delusional attempt to correct, one’s shortcomings. Typically made on a day that is arbitrary except that it begins a New Year on the standard Gregorian Calendar
If you follow the Gregorian calendar, instead of the lunar or lunisolar calendar, then the cessation of the last few weeks of December is probably a very exciting time for you. Not only because it means exams are finally over, but because it means a New Year – 2017 – is finally upon us!
I confess. I am a serial New Year’s resolutioner. While I always welcome the New Year with nothing but the best intentions, like most people, my resolve to become the absolute best version of myself dries up like a puddle under the hot Sahara sun, after the first three weeks of the New Year.
Through many years of trial and error, I have finally devised three foolproof ways to successfully follow your New Year’s resolutions:
START SMALL! Willpower is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it gets. While it’s natural to get overexcited and be tempted to list 50 different things you want to accomplish in the New Year, you simply won’t be able to accomplish all of them. Instead, write down just one or two goals that really mean a lot to you. That way, you can direct all your energy and determination into achieving those two objectives, as opposed to burning yourself out trying to pull off a ton of different tasks. Human beings inherently have a hard time changing themselves, so writing down a hundred different goals is not going to help you. Remember, you want to work with yourself, not against yourself.
DON’T GO COLD-TURKEY! If you’re trying to give up a certain habit, say you want to quit smoking or become vegan, don’t promise to stop smoking or stop eating meat all at once from January 1st. After all, you’ve been indulging in that habit far longer than you’ve not been indulging in that habit. Habits are hard to break, and you want to wean yourself off slowly. Lifestyle changes cannot be implemented in the span of a few days, and you’re not doing yourself a favour by going cold-turkey on your vices only to relapse shortly after. So if you want to, say, become vegetarian, don’t cut out meat all at once from your diet. First cut out red meat, then slowly cut out white meat, then seafood, and so on. Same goes for wanting to establish an exercise regime. First promise to get in at least 10-15 minutes of exercise a day, and gradually work up to an hour of exercise a day. You’re not going to be able to suddenly establish a 2-hour workout schedule from January, especially if you’ve been leading a sedentary lifestyle before that.
DON’T LET A SMALL ERROR MAKE YOU FALL OFF THE WAGON! I’m guilty of this myself. If I’ve promised to do something or not do something in the New Year, I tend to give up completely if I have a slip-up. The most easiest and reachable New Year’s resolutions are often not reached only because people give up too quickly, and throw the baby out with the bathwater. So, going back to my vegetarianism example, if you’ve accidentally eaten meat despite promising yourself not to, it doesn’t mean you need to fall off the vegetarian bandwagon completely just because you had one slip-up. Continue persevering towards your goal, whatever that may be. It’s important to be patient and forgiving with yourself, only then can you change and become a better version of yourself!
What about you? Do you have any tips to better follow our New Year’s resolutions? Comment below! 🙂