I always felt that “anything can work – at least once”, but I wondered what happens the time after that? And this time, I wonder how many of New Year’s resolutions worked? Why do so many of our New Year’s resolutions fail, almost as soon as we declare them?
As a concept, New Year resolutions are a great way to focus on our lives and what changes need to be addressed. They are a step towards defining what your life goals are.
However, if you are not careful, your New Year’s resolutions can quickly turn into a list of failures, a list of what is wrong or missing in your life; perhaps enough to get depressed about which can dampen the fresh start of a New Year.
The number of people I used to usually see jogging in Hyde Park, London, on the first of January has always intrigues me. It made me wonder whether it was a New Year’s resolution and how many will stick to their resolution and for how long?
No matter what is on your list this year, whether you plan to lose weight, stop being bad-tempered with your children, or lying to people, cycling to work, or to cease smoking; the important question remains: how do we get New Year’s resolutions to work?
Here’s my “cheat Sheet” for success:
- Change the title – Call it a list of Life Improvements, because that is what you are trying to achieve. The term ‘New Year Resolutions’ may have negative connotations by putting pressure on yourself, and implying failure if you slip and do not accomplish them in a year. Life Changes are still an achievement whenever you finish them.
- Be realistic – Choose only two or three resolutions, from that list. Habits that took many years to build are unlikely to change in few days or months. You are more likely to focus your energy and achieve success on few rather than many changes.
- Find your trigger – Any new behaviour can be easier to establish, if you define your reward for achieving that change- your inner motivation. Keep that in sight, and dangle it in front of you at every opportunity.
- Be ‘hopefully devoted’ – You harvest what you plant, if you look after your young seeds/plants and nurture them. This is the way of nature. The important thing is to commit yourself to change on a daily basis. Small steps will take you a long way. I think it is a Chinese saying that a journey of a hundred miles starts with one small step. If you slip one day, do not fall prey to being a victim of failure. Rather have hope that tomorrow is a new day which creates new opportunities for you. Running out of time, is not running out of life.
- Finally, don’t wait for the next New Year to make a fresh start. Once your (one, two or three) goals are achieved, work on the next three. And so on. You can commit to life changes at any time.
© Sahar Huneidi