06 Jan Got a New Year’s Resolution? Make Sure You Stick to Them Through These Effective Tips
Every year since time immemorial, people from the world over who celebrate Christmas and New Year have been making New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, this practice at the start of the year has been beset with cynicism since only less than 40% of people who make New Year’s resolutions will end up finishing at least more than half on what’s on their list. In short, clean slate resolutions at the start of the year is less than realistic given its past performance; in fact, 77% of resolutions tend to fail or people quit by the second week of January. Talk about a poor track record! The biggest returnees each year and biggest failures as well are these big three: Losing weight, better work productivity, and improving finances.
The history of the resolve
The tradition of the New Year’s resolution or the “New Year’s Resolve” is mostly common in the Western Hemisphere and most countries that have a Christian religious background. However, since Christmas and New Year are pagan traditions adapted by the Christian churches, the New Year’s resolve began with the Babylonians at the start of each year as they promised their gods that they would pay off all their debts. The Romans also had this tradition by making promises to the god, Janus, from whom the month January is derived. When the tradition of Christmas and New Year celebrations became commonplace with Christians, the knights during the Medieval period took to making promises to God during their prayers at Christmas to re-affirm their vows to chivalry. In time, many Christians began making New Year resolves when praying during the early morning and midnight masses before New Year.
Why do resolutions fail?
Before tackling how to stick to resolutions, it would be wise to see why most resolutions fail. First, most people set unrealistic goals. For instance, they set unrealistic deadlines like “Lose 10 pounds by February.” This is the formula that invites failure, as well as making resolutions unrealistic by listing down too many resolutions. By the end of the month the list will show a glaring unrealism that will definitely turn you off as the list maker, even if you have actually started on the right path.
Second, most people don’t keep track of their resolution’s progress. This is the exact opposite of the first-mentioned. Let us suppose that you made a resolution to lose weight, and you have in fact been exercising regularly and it’s already February. But then, you notice that your jeans and other clothes still fit you well, even a little bit tightly now, and you start to think that your efforts were for nothing. But hold on, were you constantly keeping track of yourself you would have realized that in the first month you did lose some weight, then gained a little in the second, then started losing a little again; that gain was actually your muscles taking over, which is why your clothes still fit you.
Third, most people simply forgot their resolutions. It can be a combination of work pressure, busy schedules, family matters, stress, etc. You soon forget about exercising or whatever resolution you started on for 2 weeks, but by the third week of January, you’re back to your old ways and lifestyle.
Tie your resolutions to its consequences if you fail
Whether you need to lose weight or to start saving your money, you need to tie all your resolutions to the consequences should you fail to keep them. In this way, you also tie your resolutions to the economic or financial benefits if you succeed. Remember that the biggest accessory to resolution failure is a lack of will or lack of self-control, so tying your resolution to the consequences of success will now give you better self-control. Thus, instead of making excuses and ‘buts’, you need to imagine the success consequences. For instance, if you start saving at least P500 every month, by December you would have saved P6,000, and this amount can be put to use for your December food budget or for buying gifts instead of dipping into your salary. Some people have gone and used “New Year’s Bucket List” in place of resolutions because it sounds new, exciting, and bucket lists have always been something connoted to “things I haven’t done yet in my life.”
Set manageable goals
Gaining self-control and motivation means setting really doable goals. Instead of setting a goal to do a triathlon, why not start small first and run a 2K fun run. Start small because going too big will set you up to fail, and when you fail, you quit. From the 2K, run a 5K marathon. The manageable goal for all resolutions is to reboot yourself realistically so you can channel proper energy and time to stick to your resolution. And be sure to always monitor your progress regularly. Again, setting realistic goals can make you do that. Instead of planning to run 3 times a week, plan first to run 3 times THIS week. When you’ve done it, then plan to run another 3 times next week. By the end of the month you can now see if you want to keep running 3 times next week or alternate by running only twice a week but with heavy exercising at home or at the gym. Since you keep planning every week, you can also keep track of your weight every week.
Understand the real reasons, the “why” behind your list
It’s great to know the consequences and setting realistic goals, so you still need to know the real reason why you’re making your New Year’s resolutions or bucket list. If you don’t understand WHY you’re doing it, then you’re setting yourself up to fail again. For instance, if you’re resolve is to stop fighting with your spouse, then figure out first the reasons WHY you two aren’t getting along. If you resolve to sleep earlier, figure out WHY you stay up late.
So there, and do keep in mind that with any resolution or bucket list you make for 2016, never deprive yourself of anything lest you start craving for what you deprived yourself of, and go back to it. That is, except for smoking. Well, it’s a new year and as many say, it’s a clean slate again. And it is the year of the monkey as well, so try to think that you’ll end up looking like a monkey if you fail your 2016 bucket list. Happy New Year, everyone.