It’s December. New year is right around the corner and so are the long lists of new year’s resolutions, fueled by the guilt of having given up too quickly this year along with the unwavering certainty of success. Such a wave crashes over us all- like pure magic- on the 1st January of every year. A wave of change. Progress. Happiness. Like always, we ride it out, remaining committed to our long list of resolutions for about a month or so.
The gyms are bustling with people, bicycles are out and about, less gas is sold, salads and vegetable smoothies are at the top of the menu and all extracurricular activities are booked, all through January. And sure as fate, by Valentine’s day the hype is over. The motivation is dead, the resolution long forgotten.
And so we go from:
“This year will be the best!”
“New year, new me!”
“I’m a changed person who knows their priorities.”
“This year, I will do it”
“I’ll do it later.”
“No time for this right now.”
“I’m not quitting, just taking a pause.”
“F*** this sh*t”
Recognising yourself? Don’t worry, most of us face this problem, too. It’s frustrating, really, to have had the same resolutions every year since 2010 and to never have been able to carry it out. And this year, like every other year, most people will ride on the wave of the New Year hype again before crashing like every year. It’s just how it is.
Well, the thing about New Year Resolutions are that they are expected to change a person’s attitude, which has been built on years and years of habits, into a completely different person overnight.
But a whole new person cannot be created within a month! You have more chances of waking up with a hangover on January 1st than getting out of bed, all changed and perfect.
We are creatures of habit. As much as you want to believe that change yourself at the drop of a hat- or at the burst of New Year’s firecrackers- it doesn’t work like that. Change is gradual. It won’t happen overnight. And it won’t happen if it seems too much to you . You see, having a long list of things you aspire to be in 2018 is counterproductive. Instead of motivating you, it will fill you with dread and lead to our dear friend, procrastination.
Now procrastination in itself is a problem. But what makes it worse is that our deadline for all those resolutions is the beginning of a year! So that would mean about 300 days of procrastinating and being good ole you, resolutions shoved in a box along with Christmas decorations.
Tell me, what is there on the 1st of every year, that there isn’t on every regular day? Nothing. There’s no fairy which blesses your goals on the 1st of January.
Everyday, every hour can be the fresh start you’ve been waiting for. You don’t have to wait for New Year. You know that, too. But the goals you’ve set for yourself are tough and they are numerous in number. You want to be productive everyday, you want to stay committed to your work/studies, you want to be there for the people around you, you want to save money, you want to start a crazy project, you want to do so much that you end up doing absolutely nothing. Or at most, one or two of the things on your list.
The thing is, the urge to procrastinate comes from having too many resolutions. If you bite off more than you can chew, chances are, you aren’t getting anything done.
Years and years of failed resolutions have taught me one thing: If you want to do something, ditch the New Year and start today.
But what do I do?
1. Start right away.
There’s no better day than today, no better moment than right now to start what you have wanted to do. New Year resolutions don’t cut it- you have to be motivated on a daily basis.
2. Start little by little. And remember, though strong in the beginning, the motivation which comes with starting will burn off so don’t tackle four or five resolutions at a time. Slow and steady, take life the tortoise way and you are sure to reach your destination.
3. Turn your resolution into your habit, your lifestyle, a day at a time. Any abrupt change won’t have lasting results, the fruit of patience is the sweetest, just make it a must to start right away. Implementing your goal into your lifestyle can also be done in the following ways:
a. Assigning a goal to every month.
For example: January- start using the bus.
February- start saving money
b) Using a calendar. You can cross out each day based on whether or not you have achieved the goal set for that day.
As much as the idea of starting slowly will irk you, we both know that’s the safest bet you have to be able to sit at the dining table on the 31st of December, recalling how much you’ve accomplished this year.
Don’t get me wrong, you will sometimes feel discouraged, you will give up on your bad days, but if you consider everyday as a fresh start, you won’t waste months and months to try again.
4. The reward system.
Another surefire way to achieve your resolutions is to associate something that you aren’t really hyped about with something that you love.
This can include ditching boring exercises you hate to take up, say, swimming which you love and look forward to doing. It can also mean rewarding yourself with your favourite candy every time you complete an assignment before the deadline. It could also be allowing yourself to binge on fashionable clothes that you love whenever you write a complete chapter of that book you’ve been writing for years.
My point is, sticking to your resolutions doesn’t have to be as boring and tiring as you make it out to be. Come on, how can one down a glass of veggie smoothie on a daily basis without the sweetness of a chunk of chocolate afterwards.
And there you go, all set up to become a better version of yourself. Go get those goals, buddy.
(Oh and my next post will be how to stay motivated. Stay tuned by following.)
Sending you lots of love and positivity,