One of my favourite statistics? Only 8% of the new year resolutions are really seen through (I have now seen this number quoted multiple times but still not sure of the source). Whether that really holds true or not, I can vouch for the fact that the enthusiasm with which so many of us make our resolutions mostly evaporates when it comes to taking the tiny cumulative steps towards achieving them. More than the enthusiasm, once the feeling of a new phase of time passes by, most of us push these changes to the very back of the crevices of our mind as regular life rushes to take it’s place.
Some tips to follow through on your New Year Resolution
So, how do you make sure you at least attempt to keep firm on your new year resolutions? I am not expert but there are some things which have helped me in the recent past:
Keep a visual reminder handy
As I said, we often push the resolution once made and then surface only at the end of the year, if at all. Keep a visual reminder of the end result of your resolution at a place that you often pass. For instance, one of the past years, I had made an A3 visual reminder of my 5 goals in the year and stuck them on the inside of my wardrobe door which I was bound to see every time I picked out my clothes.
Break down lofty resolutions to trackable habits
Most of our resolutions tend to be big lofty ones which after the initial euphoria seem like unscalable mountains, better left uncharted. Breaking down those goals to smaller action points works better. For instance, if your resolution is to write a novel, keep a digital tracker on the phone or track with an old-fashioned pen and paper as to how many days do you end up writing a minimum number of words to continue working on that novel. If losing weight is a goal, break it down to tracking your exercise discipline as well as multiple small habits for diet like no added sugar or eating home cooked food.
Keep resolutions that are truly doable or actionable
One of my resolutions last year was to see a novel published. What I failed to realize is that my actionable area ends with having a manuscript ready or even after sending it out to possible stakeholders like literary agents or publishers. So, even though the book is far from being published or even accepted, I consider a completed manuscript as success for 2019. In that respect, I quite like my seven-year-old nephew’s two resolutions. First, he wants to stop interrupting conversations by adorably piping up in his high pitched adolescent voice – “What did you say?”. Second, he wants to ensure he does not spill any milk while drinking it. How much more actionable can you get than that?
Get an accountability partner or someone to discuss it with
While my husband does bear with me patiently enough in all the new things that I come up with, last year I found a kindered soul to talk through my resolutions. Turns out that one of my closest friendships from school has turned into a mutual relationship of pushing each other to be our best selves. This time, we are even sharing one of the resolution (more on that later in the post). So, look around and see if you have someone who shares your enthusiasm of working towards a better self.
Keep your chin up
Most resolutions are born of something we have been trying and failing to change for some time. Be it to quit smoking or getting healthier habits. With any faltering steps, an easy way is to throw in the towel and go back to the old ways. Look at the year as a marathon, where a few missteps are not really going to matter till the time you finish. So, even when you give in to the temptation (which you are bound to), buck up and get back on track to finish better than what you started out.
My resolutions for 2020
One thing I told myself was that I would not go overboard with the resolutions. Else, I was sorely tempted to try something lame like 20 resolutions for 2020. So, keeping it sane here, my 5 resolutions are what follow. Feel free to be inspired or take them on for yourself.
Be regular with bullet journaling
In my mind, bullet journaling takes care of so many things for me – helps me track the good habits that I want to imbibe, ensure I write down things to be grateful for and also find something of value each and every day. Last year, I succumbed to laziness and stopped making entries mid-way. This year, I decided to take out the laziness quotient out of the picture and also bring in some of the creativity aspect by setting up most parts of my bullet journal in advance. In a way, the time that I worked on setting it up last month also helped me somewhat bust my notion of zero artistic skills. Take a look at my pages and let me know what you think.
Run a 5 K
Last year, for a lot of time I was quite disciplined about going to the gym for strength training and scoffing at how I find cardio very boring. I believe I have always had a mental barrier when it comes to the thought of running and I have also often used a weak operated knee as an excuse. My stamina is horrible and I happily give up with the first sign of breathlessness. This year, I want to break through that for which I have made a start with the Couch to 5K program, to train myself to run a distance of 5 Kilometres. The reason I am not looking at a longer distance is the fact that running for too long may indeed be injurious to my knee but for 5K there can really be no excuse. Confession: for this resolution, I have been inspired by watching the Amazon original movie Brittany runs a marathon. The fact that my aforementioned friend started the same program and we send each other screen shots after completing each day just makes it seem more doable.
Get more language variety in my reading
Reading has been a big hobby for me, leading to my reading 60 books in 2019. However, all of that content was in English. Languages have never been my strength. When it comes to my mother tongue Punjabi, I can only understand it and am pretty weak at speaking it with no clue on the script whatsoever. As for Hindi, embarrassingly it’s nowhere as good as my English skills. So much so, that in a recent conversation I mixed up the similar-sounding words for jeweler and gambler, leading to much amusement at the other end. So, this year my reading goal includes 5 Hindi novels. Apart from that, I have been pretty regular at learning German on Duolingo. This year, I intend to be able to read 5 short stories in German as well.
Call some friends at least once a month
Last year, I realised the value of my friends and what a vital role they play in keeping me sane. In a fast-paced life and the rush of time, I have often lost ties that I have been fond of and valued for years before. So, in 2020 I have a double spread set out in my bullet journal to track and ensure a few people are called every month. This is probably the resolution I am most excited about and one that I have test marketed in the last few days. The reactions that I have gotten range from “Seriously? You need a resolution to call me?” and “That is your resolution? I thought it was about coming to Chennai to meet me!” to “Hey, that’s a good one. I am going to copy it” and “Add me to that list”. Well, I have made a pretty strong start to this one by calling and catching up with 13 people in the first two days of the year. Here’s hoping I continue that trend.
One big bang achievement
Now, this one I am a little unsure of and two threads are running in my head. One, since the time I ended my first novel manuscript, I have been feeling the itch of wanting to write a novel but coming up against the barrier of not having an exciting-enough plot. So, I probably need to wrestle myself to the ground, pin myself to a place and force myself to put down my swirling thoughts on paper to be able to think through it. Once a half-assed decent plot excites me enough, I know I can get myself down to writing it. Two, last year I enrolled for two certifications and bought material to further enhance my understanding of capital markets. This year, I want to actually act on those beyond the easy bit of enrollment to know that I used my time to further what I know. I am going to aim and track my time spent on both these parameters but not really put pressure on myself on this front.
From scoffing at the idea of New Year resolutions claiming I don’t need no changing to seeing the benefits of following through on these ideas, I think I have come a long way. Take the leap of faith, make a few resolutions, follow through and be amazed and what you can do.
Do you keep new year resolutions? More importantly, have you followed through on any of them? Are you making any new year resolutions this year? Let me know in the comments below.