“3, 2, 1… Happy New Year!” As the hour hands on the clock strikes midnight and loved ones share a kiss, a New Year begins.
A New Year brings a sense of new beginnings, a ‘fresh start’. It is the ideal time to turn a new page, leading a lot of us to seize this occasion and come up with New Year’s resolutions.
New Year’s resolutions, just like any other tradition, have an interesting history and trace back to long ago. In fact, the month of January is named after Janus, a Roman god. Janus was the guardian of doorways, gates, beginnings and endings. Depicted to have two faces, he symbolises to have an ability to be able to look backward and forward simultaneously.
Interestingly, this is exactly what we do as the end of the year approaches. We take the opportunity to look back at the past and come up with certain objectives that we would like to accomplish throughout the upcoming year.
Unfortunately, staying on top of your New Year’s resolutions is not as easy as it may seem or as we want it to be. The reality is that many of us, including myself, have had the same resolution written down on our list for several years in a row now and just can’t quite seem to overcome it. Whether this is due to a lack of motivation, a fear of starting, or simply feeling like you do not have the time to dedicate towards your goal. All of these potential factors end up causing 80% of people to abandon their resolutions by February.
We are halfway through February! In hopes that you have not yet given up on your New Year’s resolutions, here are four useful tips that can help you keep your promises.
1. The resolution must be specific
If the resolution is too vague or focuses on immeasurable qualities, then you may quickly find yourself giving up. Putting extensive planning into exactly what it is that you want to accomplish and picking wisely will ensure that you stay on track and avoid unreasonable goals. A good way to make sure that your resolution is not too broad is by using the SMART objectives. Make sure that your desired result is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and lastly, Time-bound. Remember, that it is better to aim for something that is reasonably feasible rather than challenging yourself with something that is idealistic.
2. Instead of being goal-oriented, make your resolutions process-oriented
Turning your resolution into a process-oriented one means reducing it into chunks. By breaking down your resolution into smaller and more manageable steps you will notice how your goal will become less intimidating. Taking on too much too quickly is often a reason for failure. Not only will this tip set out clear action steps and ‘mini-goals’ that are easier to follow and accomplish. But after some time it will also allow you to develop habits and behavioural patterns, eventually resulting in them becoming part of your personality.
3. Get support from partners
Whether it’s friends or family, finding someone to lean on and having a support system is extremely beneficial. This means surrounding yourself with people who will encourage you not to give up, and more notably those who share the same objectives. By doing so, staying motivated and accountable for your actions will become easier and perhaps more fun.
4. Don’t beat yourself up
It is important to reward yourself when accomplishing little steps and acknowledging the fact your resolutions will require a lot of persistence and patience. An occasional slip or relapse into a bad habit should not be seen as a failure. The reality is that the path towards fulfilling your New Year’s Resolution won’t be a straight and effortless one. Encountering challenges along the way is normal and should not drag you down. Being prepared to face obstacles and coming up with ways to deal with them in advance will keep you pushing forwards.
All in all, these are just a few recommendations that will make your goals more approachable, ensuring that the initial motivation continues throughout the year and does not evaporate!
Even if you have already disregarded your resolutions or possibly never made a list, remember that it’s not too late to make goals and improve your year. Hopefully these tips can help you change your mind and bring your New Year’s resolutions back to life!