As we stand at the brink of a new year, a familiar sense of optimism fills us that brings with it the possibility of new opportunities to discover a better side of ourselves and take on new adventures. This is the time to list down your goals and resolutions for the coming year as a promise to Future You and it should be an exciting time until you remember being at this exact place a year ago and the year before and the long-forgotten lists of resolutions still taunt you from the pages of your journals every time you open them.
Most of us have been there, done that, and have the unused gym memberships to prove it. We don’t need the many surveys and studies done on the subject to believe that most people who make new year’s resolutions barely manage to keep them past February.
We start with good intentions but the weight of our own expectations on ourselves makes it hard to carry on forward for too long and we end up abandoning our resolutions faster than we bookmark all the fitness Reels on Instagram that promise that we can get slimmer arms by flapping them like a bird for two minutes straight.
One of the aforementioned studies done on new year’s resolutions and the universal phenomenon of abandoning them soon claimed that there are three major reasons why this happens.
The first one is that we usually make resolutions based on what someone else wants us to change about ourselves, like the way we look, for instance. The second one was that most of our self-defined goals for the year are too vague. The third, and most important one, is that we have no realistic plan for achieving the goals we’ve set for ourselves.
Are you slowly nodding your head in agreement just realising that you, too, have been making these mistakes without realising? If yes, then stop yourself before you send yourself down a spiral of self-hatred and despair because all hope is not lost.
Here are a few simple ways in which you can ensure that you stick to your new year’s resolutions in 2023…
Choose specific goals
One of the most common resolutions people make this time around is to ‘lose weight’, or to ‘get in better shape’. If you’re also someone who does this and have discovered that you’re never able to fulfil this one, then maybe it’s because you’re being too vague with your goals. If getting in better shape is one of your resolutions, then make sure when you’re putting down your goals for 2023, you have a specific number or milestone in mind, and set out proper time intervals by which you’d want to achieve said milestone too. This goes for non-health-related goals too. For instance, if your goal is to read more in the new year, then list down the books that you want to read.
Choosing a specific goal makes it easier to achieve it and will give you the motivation to fulfil your other goals too.
Be realistic while setting your goals
The abundance of optimism as the year-end approaches can trick us into forgiving the follies of our past selves. You’re the same person who thought that they would be eating healthier, reading more, and travelling to all their bucket list destinations by the end of the year. If you’re reading this now, do not convince yourself into believing that this year you’d be any different.
It’s very important to set realistic goals for yourselves. This means limiting yourself to resolutions that are realistic and achievable. Don’t go overboard and set expectations for yourselves that you know you can meet. Nobody can be a better judge of that than yourself.
Put a plan in place
Now that you’ve made your list of realistic resolutions, figure out a plan that will help you achieve them. If your goal is to make time for a hobby that you’ve been putting off for long, create a plan for yourself on how you’re going to make time from your current schedule to do it. Or if you want to get better at managing your finances, then make sure you have the resources to do it too.
It is very important to remember to pace yourselves if you want your resolve to last for a long time. Taking on too much at once is the biggest reason why most resolutions fall apart even before the first month of the year is over. If you’ve identified that a behavioural pattern needs changing, then radically altering it overnight is not going to be sustainable in the long run. For instance, if you want to start eating healthy, cutting out everything processed from your daily diet might seem like a solution but is not the right one. You can start by replacing the less healthy options with more nutritious ones, to begin with, and then proceed to add healthier options like organic vegetables and other food items in your diet to create a balanced one that suits you.
Be your own cheerleader
Always remember that change is a process. There will be setbacks in your journey that might demotivate you enough to abandon your goals midway. What’s important is to keep reminding yourself that you can get past these roadblocks and it would not be the end of the world if you do not cross off your goals by the time the year ends. Remember to learn from the mistakes you’ve made in the past and adapt yourself smartly to not repeat patterns.
Here’s wishing you a happy new year and hoping you’ll be able to stick by your resolutions till the next year ends!