Now that we are approaching New Year, many of us are thinking about our New Year resolutions. All of us, at one point or another, have made such resolutions, and because of something known as ‘human nature’, most of us usually fail with them. According to researches done by the University of Scranton, only 8 % of people realize their New Year resolution goals.
Why are New Year Resolutions important?
The word January is derived from the word Janus, which, in Greek, is also called as the month of new beginnings. Even though just a few days after the New Year celebrations, we usually settle with our mundane day-to-day routine, but still we are aware that we have ended a cycle. The new cycle has begun, and if we wish to bring any change in our lives, now is the right time. If we don’t make a change now, we won’t be able to make any change throughout the year. Even in Indian mythology, it is believed that the first day of the year represents the whole year. Whatever you do on the first day is what you’ll be doing throughout the year.
8 Steps for successful New Year resolutions
As we approach a New Year, a lot of us start to look back at the year that is drawing to a close and decide what they want to change for the New Year. Gym memberships sky-rocket and organic low-fat products fly off the shelf. New year’s resolutions are broken almost as quickly as they’re made, and the psychological effect of starting a new year isn’t always enough to help you stick to your resolutions. But if we weigh our capabilities and follow these eight steps we can easily make successful New Year Resolutions.
Make practical resolutions
Let’s face it, most probably you won’t leave your job or college next year. Moreover, you are most likely to have the same timings. So, if you are already making plans to do tons of things, you simply won’t have the time to do all of them. Even if, in the burst of enthusiasm, you successfully do plenty of things every day, you will soon become tired and give up on all of them.
The best way to overcome this situation is by making practical resolutions. Just focus on the things that you want the most. Don’t put an unnecessary burden on yourself. One or two simple resolutions are way better when compared to twelve difficult ones that are impossible to achieve.
Develop a proper plan
It isn’t ‘what’ you want to achieve that matters the most, it is ‘how’ and ‘when’ that do. Just put your entire everyday routine on paper and see where you can take time for a workout. If you are addicted to something, find out the time when your urge is the strongest and see how you can direct it elsewhere. Our body and mind work like a clock, they fall very easily into habits. It is very hard to stop previous habits, so the best way is to alter them.
If you want to wake up early, a friend that can wake you up is always better than an alarm clock. Moreover, doing everyday activities with friends makes them much more interesting. You can’t go for a jog alone without plugging in your headphones. Take your friends or your girlfriend or spouse with you, and see the difference. It’ll deepen your friendship and relationship, and you’ll also be able to motivate each other.
Keep it entertaining
Now that you can share daily stories on all the major social media platforms, why don’t you use them for motivation? You can share the beautiful pictures of the rising sun when you wake up early, or you can share your daily progress of some language learning software. Who knows, this way you might get new friends to join you with your resolutions. Even if you don’t, it’ll surely make fulfilling your resolutions much more interesting.
Learn recipes of foods that are both healthy and tasty at the same time. Use apps that tell you how much time you wasted on your cellphone. Buy new jogging shoes, and keep both unhealthy food and unwanted people at bay. These are some of the activities that you can do to motivate yourself. Do such activities every day, and you’ll never lose your vibe.
Don’t give up easily
Most of the people are unable to go beyond the third week with their resolutions. On the other hand, most of those who go beyond the third week, keep their resolutions till the end. Always keep this fact in mind. Just because you couldn’t keep your commitments on a single day doesn’t mean you should give up the entire plan. All of us are slaves to the power of habit. Overcoming bad habits and developing good ones can easily be done with patience and perseverance. Just don’t give up, that’s all.
Evaluate yourself regularly
At the end of each day, think about all that you did. How well you manage your time, and how can you manage it more efficiently. It’d hardly take 5-10 minutes. Don’t leave the evaluation part for the end of the week or the end of the month. Human memory is imperfect. If you evaluate your long-term progress all at once, you might end up making erroneous assumptions, and that might affect your progress.
That’s very important. Don’t forget to reward yourself as it provides one of the strongest motivations. If you have lost weight, you can buy new clothes that match your current size. If you didn’t smoke the whole week, you can give your friends a treat using part of the money that you have otherwise spent on cigarettes. Share your pictures, stories, and spread the word. Don’t let all your efforts and hard work go unnoticed.
How to Not Break Your New Year Resolutions
As many resolutions are forgotten before they’ve even begun, we have found a way to help you follow through on them.
The most popular new year resolutions that are broken are:
- Lose Weight
- Volunteer to Help Others
- Quit Smoking
- Get a Better Education
- Get a Better Job
- Save Money
- Get Fit
- Eat Healthy Food
- Manage Stress
- Manage Debt
- Take a Trip
- Drink Less Alcohol
If you have made any of the above resolutions, you have probably cheated on some of them or not managed to start any at all. The burden of making such a sudden change in your life is difficult, and breaking an old habit needs more than a change in the calendar.
There is a way to make your resolutions count and you don’t have to wait for a new year to start them. With each day that passes, you have the opportunity to make a positive change. It doesn’t take longer than a minute to sit down and decide which areas of your life need to improve to give you better results and help you meet your goals.
Every day, there are 1440 minutes. Each minute of every day, you can find an area of your life that you think needs to be improved to make you happier, and in every minute of every day, you can renew that commitment. Just like when the year changes, as the day or even the minute change, you can commit to making a new resolution or re-committing yourself to an existing one. And with every new day, you are given another 1440 minutes to continue your self-improvement process.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
In the world-renowned and international bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the late Stephen R. Covey presented 7 habits that we can all learn to make a personal change. The best thing about this book was that it gave everyone the tools they needed to improve their lives, regardless of their place in life.
The 7 habits below are a summary of those discussed in his book, and we are presenting them here for your attention.
Habit #1: Be Proactive
The concept of being proactive which is presented in the book shows you that we are in control of what we do and how we act. There are some people who are stuck in a situation that they feel they can not control, and therefore they lose all desire to make a change or improve themselves. This point is to illustrate that you are always in control, and even if you can not change a situation in the short-term, you can still control your outlook until a time when you are in a better position to change.
Habit #2: Begin with the End in Mind
Beginning any idea or project with the end in mind is a powerful tool. Visualizing where you want to be will help you make better plans on how to get there, and it will motivate you throughout the process to keep going. The end which you have in mind may change, but by shifting your focus from the next step and on to the end, you can work your way backward and keep moving forward.
Habit #3: Put First Things First
After you visualize the end of the project, its important to work back to the next step which you have to take. Performing this next step to the best of your abilities and repeating this process will make sure you do your best at each step, while at the same time remembering step 2 by keeping the end in mind.
Habit #4: Think Win/Win
This step shows you that in every situation or negotiation, choosing the Win/Win option is always the best. It ensures that everyone involved will leave happy, and it doesn’t sour your relationships for the future. Someone you helped along the way is more inclined to help you when you need them.
Habit #5: Seek first to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Covey emphasizes the importance of listening with the intent to understand, not with the intent to respond. When people are communicating with you, your intention should always be to make sure you understand where they are coming from, and unlike most people, don’t merely wait for your chance to speak. People are more likely to listen to you attentively if they know you have understood their point.
Habit #6: Synergize
Synergy is what happens when a group of independent people coalesces their creative energies and the result is more than the sum of their individual input. It is the culmination of the other habits and it requires integrity to be most effective. Synergy is a high type of compromise in which all parties maintain a Win/Win situation.
Habit #7: Sharpen the Saw
When Covey details sharpening the saw, he gives the reader one last abstraction of thought, a level above the others that entails keeping all the other skills sharpened by continued planning, practice, and renewal. These are the dynamics of the saw: Physical, social, mental, and spiritual. All aspects of your life should always be maintained to a high level of readiness, and the best way to do that is to be proactive and repeat the 7 steps on a daily or minute by minute basis.
You no longer have to wait for New Year day to make your resolutions, with each new day you can make positive changes to make sure you get to your goals quicker than you thought possible.
Why Wait for New Year? Start Today!
Because the date changes, we feel as if THIS is the time to make these changes but the truth is, we can make these changes anytime we want. Using the New Year as a reason is dangerous. If we don’t manage to keep to our resolutions, we wait another 12 months before we make any more effort to make a change. That’s another year that is wasted that could have been spent on improving the skill of creating a beneficial habit.
We can make resolutions to improve every single day. We don’t need to wait until 31st December to create our list. You can do it tonight and start working on it tomorrow. The rate of improvement is exponential, and as soon as you’ve crossed off all the points on this list, you can start working on a new one.
Most people don’t stick to their new year’s resolutions because they are lazy. Up to 60% of New Year’s gym memberships go unused and gym attendance is back to normal by mid-February. By working on your own schedule, you can keep yourself accountable and you get a new chance every day to try again. Make your list and start working on it tomorrow.