How can we possibly begin a new year without addressing the elephant in the room right? Yes, I am talking about New Year’s resolutions. Each year, we resolve to do this and that. And each year, we fail—miserably.
Maybe it’s the lack of intention at our end, perhaps our goals are too far-fetched to achieve, or we’re just not setting the right resolution. Whatever the case might be, the truth is that not achieving a goal often comes with heartbreak and distress. This is why many mental health experts suggest that we should swear off New Year’s resolutions.
But hey—when a new year means a new start, resolution-making toh banta hai. And if this year, like the ones before, you’re about to embark on a journey of making a long list—let us help you with this brief guide that will guarantee success.
So let’s get started shall we:
1. Don’t: Resolve to lose weight in the New Year
Weight loss is perhaps the most common New Year’s resolution the world over. But it is also the most underachieved one. In fact, many surveys indicate resolving to lose weight has a 54% chance of failure. Why you ask? Well, because in a bid to shed kilos we often don’t make room for setbacks and pay far too much attention to the needle on the scale.
Instead: Resolve to live a healthier and fitter life
When you stop paying attention to inches and weighing machines and focus on stamina, you automatically increase your chances of getting fitter. You see, the logic is simple: Even with consistent dieting and workouts, weight loss plateaus are bound to happen. And boy are they discouraging!
But if you keep working out for let’s say more endurance, the results will never stop—motivating you to carry on. So instead of rejoicing every kilo lost, celebrate how you didn’t pant after climbing the four flights of stairs or how you could jog non-stop for 20 minutes without taking a break.
2. Don’t: Resolve to achieve things out of your control
We set ourselves up for the biggest failures when we decide to achieve things we have absolutely no control over. Let me explain: Imagine you’re dating someone and things are getting serious. As the New Year begins, you decide that this is the year for you guys to tie the knot. But, his intention to get married is not in your control and putting pressure on him to be on the same page is only going to wreck your relationship.
The same logic applies to other situations like resolving to fall in love, getting that fancy new job, and so on.
Instead: Resolve to take life as it comes, accepting its highs and lows
Nobody is asking you to stop trying. Have a heart-to-heart with your partner and make him understand why you want to get married; sit for interviews and give it your all for that dream job; and put yourself out there on dating apps—but remember, that life may not always work out the way you want it to.
So, if things don’t pan out with your boyfriend or you get rejected in that job interview, don’t give up. Accept that lows are as much a part of life as highs—and move on.
3. Don’t: Resolve to be “better”
Blanket statements without semblances of actionable plans are our biggest follies—not only when it comes to making resolutions, but also in goal setting.
Say that you resolve to be a better daughter this year. How do you quantify that? What does it even mean? What are the parameters that you’re setting for yourself? Answering these questions is damn important if you want to achieve any goal.
Instead: Have specific goals with a quantifiable plan of action you can stick to
“This year I am going to take my mother on a Euro trip to strengthen our bond” is a much better resolution than just resolving to be a better daughter. Similarly, if you want to get better in your professional life, research on the skills that can make that happen—and vow to achieve them this year.
4. Don’t: Recycle old resolutions
This year, I’ll lose weight, travel the world, take up a new hobby, and do whatever the hell I damn please. If you have been resolving to do these things since kingdom come, it is time to stop! Resolutions that you haven’t been able to achieve must not recycled, because failing to make them happen yet another year can set you up for the biggest disappointments.
Instead: Evaluate your life to understand what you REALLY need to achieve
Maybe the need of the hour in 2020 for you is to take a diploma course to add to your skill sets instead of learning how to salsa—which you have been resolving to do for the past two years. Introspect and assess your life to know what you really must achieve this year—and pay attention to those goals.
If you are overweight or obese then weight loss must be your resolve each year for as long as it takes. And if you haven’t been able to make it happen on your own, seek professional help.
5. Don’t: Resolve to quit a bad habit immediately
Ever since I was 10, I have been vowing to quit biting my nails with full force each year on the first of January. While, my resolve would last for the first five days, by the end of the first week of Jan—I would get back to my nail-biting ways and my newly-grown talons would disappear.
Instead: Decide to wean off the habit slowly and steadily
But do you know what actually got me to quit the disgusting habit? Well, at the age of 25 when I finally realized that going cold turkey wasn’t helping, I decided to set some boundaries for myself. First, I painted the fingernails on my left hand and made it off-limits for biting purposes.
After two weeks, I repeated the same rule with my right hand. When I unconsciously did bite my nails, I told myself that it’s okay and that I must stop while I am ahead. Lastly, whenever the urge to bite hit me, I started fidgeting with a spinner distracting myself. It took about seven months—but I have well-manicured hands now, all because I gave myself time to quit the habit. Same goes for smoking, eating sugar, or drinking. Wean off gently to enforce a long recovery.
Now that 2020 is in full swing, remember this handy guide while setting any goals. And don’t forget to let me know in the comments below how these mantras worked out for you.