MAKE OR BREAK: AN ARTICLE ABOUT RESOLUTIONS
Resolutions are not limited to New Years; neither are they merely a commitment one makes to something for the time to come . In reality, they symbolise a universal desire that we humans have to turn over a new leaf, start afresh and give ourselves the chance to get it right this time. As each year comes to a close, we continue to scramble to make our New Year’s resolutions; we say that this is the year we take control of our weight, our job, our relationships… This is the year we take control of our lives.
More often than not, we fall flat on our faces within months, weeks, even days. We may feel discouraged along the way, but come last week of December the excitement of a new resolution hits all over again, and we’re like children at Christmas. And there are, of course, many who will, no doubt have come to the conclusion that resolutions are pointless, impossible to keep, and merely another tool we use to set ourselves up for failure and disappointment.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while making resolutions you intend to keep:
1. The year is new – you are not.
We often forget that while we may treat the new year like a tabula rasa – an empty slate, our lives are in fact everything but. Each year is a continuation of a journey we began when we were born, and we enter each new year with accumulated experience from previous years – blessing and baggage, wisdom and folly – following right behind us. Any real change you intend to make must take your past into account.
2. Find your Achilles’ heel.
There are a variety of things that may stop us from being able to stick to our plans: insufficient motivation, unrealistic expectations, difficulty in making sudden life changes, discouragement or lack of support from others, an inclination to stop trying at the first hint of possible failure, or simply throwing in the towel with a resigned “why bother?” because of unsuccessful past experiences. Pre-empt your own vulnerabilities so you can consciously steer clear of them.
3. To share or not to share.
It is commonly believed that sharing our resolutions with others helps us stay accountable and more likely to succeed in keeping them going. However, recent studies have shown that this may in fact hinder our achieving them. Just by talking about one’s resolution with others, our brain registers the task at hand as already being a success and releases ‘feel-good’ reward hormones in our body. Your brain is essentially creating a new social reality, which leads to reduced motivation to actually follow through. It, in fact, pulls you further away from succeeding at your resolution than you were before you decided to talk about it. Hence, share if you must, but do so with discretion.
4. “Know thyself.”
Every person has his or her own unique way of seeing the world and living in it. Your quirks and idiosyncrasies are what make you you. This means that your resolutions are most likely to work if they are realistic, as well as tailor-made to suit your priorities, preferences, and personality –rather than when they’re based on a universal benchmark or what’s “trending” on the internet. Align your resolutions with your needs and your own terms of living.
5. Accept your imperfections.
Life is not perfect – there is no flawless standard you have to live up to. Once you are able to appreciate this, it will be easier not to sweat it when things don’t go your way. If you slip up – as you will, you are human – learn to laugh about it and try again.
Resolutions, then, are a lot like life itself – sometimes there’s progress, sometimes there are blunders, and sometimes you won’t even be sure of what’s happening. But in all this, two things are certain.
One, you will learn something as you go along.
Two, you will almost always get a second chance.