Why do so many people make so many new New Year’s resolutions only to break them before the middle of January? I believe, because the resolutions set are unrealistic. They are made with enthusiasm and idealism and often seek to transform a person into a paragon of virtue by merely formulating a wish. The inevitable failure can do a person more harm psychologically than if they had not made any resolutions at all.
Unfortunately one cannot change the habits of a lifetime overnight. Such substantial changes, when desirable, are achieved slowly and with great effort. They are based less on willpower than on deep insight into one’s true nature. If you feel compelled to make New Year Resolutions here is some common sense advice for keeping them;
Make one or two resolutions rather than 25. If you swear to give up smoking and drinking and begin dieting on the same day, you will break all three resolutions and end up undermining your confidence. Relax and do not put too much pressure on your self or you will set yourself up for frustration and disappointment.
Set concrete goals. If you promise vaguely to lose weight or save money this year, you are not setting yourself to start until December. Promise to lose 5kg between January and June or save $50 in a pay period. Track your progress with achievable, measurable and specific goals. Meeting smaller goals will leave you with an immediate feeling of success. You may then build on these small victories. If your resolution is ambitious rename it and call it a ‘goal’. Then add a detailed plan of action.
Make sure you want to keep your resolution. If you are promising to stop smoking, lose weight, or watch less Netflix only to please your significant other, you will find it difficult to keep your promise. Do not decide to change for anyone else. Setting goals is an opportunity for you to look forward positively. It will not serve you to look back and punish yourself for past choices.
Be flexible. If weather or illness prevents you from sticking to your plan, make sure that you have a plan B for a situation that you cannot avoid. Most importantly, do not let yourself be thrown entirely off track just because you missed a day. Remember each day is a new day to recommit to your goals.
Build a support system. Having a robust support system will help you keep on track with your goals. Try finding a mentor or a role model who has actually achieved your goal.n If they can do it, so can you. Enlist the support of your family, friends or co-workers. If your goal involves quitting a serious addiction like smoking or drinking or an eating disorder seek professional help. Remember – if you pay for advice, you are more likely to follow it.
Don’t give up. We are all bound to trip up once in a while. However try again, learn from your mistake (why, what, where, when and how) then adjust and correct your regimen.
A well-thought-out resolution or goal can be a very useful tool to help you live a more meaningful life.
Simon is a Sydney based digital designer. He is the Director of a boutique digital design studio, Bailey Street Design located in the vibrant inner west suburb of Newtown. Simon studied graphic design at Shillington College and specialises in web design for small and medium size businesses. Simon and his team (Toby the studio dog) are passionate about visual communication in the digital environment
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