Three weeks into the New year, we find ourselves losing track of our resolutions. We console ourselves regardless, by taking into consideration the other things that we managed to achieve in the past year. True, the outlook is positive, considering that you got that appraisal, or the promotion that you always wanted…
But do you still feel that little paunch at the end of your stomach when you button your pants every day? Do you feel incomplete when your favourite story has to be translated to your native language because you couldn’t manage to learn that additional skill? What about all the savings that you had aspired to collect for that early sabbatical you were planning to take?
You are a smart, successful person who managed to move mountains with their will and aspirations alone. Here’s how you can put that very same will to accomplish those little resolutions that you promise yourself every New Year!
- One Step at a Time
Now don’t we all find Jillian Michaels just godly when it comes to the perfect body? Or Warren Buffet the favourite kind of old uncle who was really really smart when it came to savings?
We all want to finish a 100 pushups by the end of the first day at the gym; we all want to know that we read ‘Gone with the wind’ in one go, under one week. However, you really need to calm down and think about yourself- when was the last time I was even remotely close to this goal? Is it possible to achieve all of this in one go?
Never make your short term change more than 5% of your present scenario- keep your goals specific. Don’t tell yourself that you want to get healthier, or that you want to save more, or that you want to learn something new. Tell yourself that you want to lose 10 kilograms by the end of September, which will mean that you’ll have to lose a kg a month. Tell yourself that you want to be done with N2 of JLPT by the end of November (Japanese), which will mean that you’ll have to be through with one level in 6 months. Smaller goals are easier to fulfill, such as drinking 2 glasses of warm water before every meal, rather than bigger, more generic goals. Every professional is a little hard on time, and unless and until you promise yourself these little, specific changes, you’ll find yourself awake at 11:56 p.m. trying to down an entire bottle of water.
- Call for support
I find it extremely uncomfortable to share my personal life with my peers or co-workers. I used to call it the “shirker act”. I wouldn’t tell people that I was working out- so when they did ask me why I was losing weight, I could tell them that I had been pretty recently, hitting the gym.
If I didn’t lose weight, then, well, no big deal. They knew about my sweet tooth anyway.
However, this did me more harm than good, for when even after 3 years of working out I managed to lose an ‘astounding’ 3 kilograms, I realized how sad my entire journey had been.
Tell your friends about your aspirations- they are your well-wishers. When you meet them the next time, they will ask you how your recent change is going.
Are you keeping up with your studies? How much weight have you lost so far?
You aren’t supposed to blow their minds with the milestones that you have covered- but a little push and a little motivation can help you go a long way.
- The 60-day trial and run
If you’re working 9 to 5, adding new changes to your life may not be such a hard task- but making extraordinary changes in life like turning vegan when you have a 12-hour work shift when your best friend is Mcdonald’s, won’t really be the best idea.
Make little changes in your life- and stick to them for 60 days. It is a well-known fact that to turn a change into a habit, all you need is 21 days. If you cross the 21-day mark, all you have to do is keep up with the habit to normalize it, and see how well or how smoothly it fits into your daily lifestyle.
Once that is done, you know that you can safely incorporate it. Even if you are unable to do the same, at least that little, annoying voice at the back of your head will shame you for not even being able to carry out your promise for a meager 3 weeks.
If you feel like your change is too hard to accomplish right away, tone it down a bit- and carry out the same exercise. 2 months might seem like a long while at the beginning of the year, but you will form a routine that you will stick to till the end.
- Anticipate problems(the one’s that you’ll cause for yourself)
I’m pretty lazy. Really lazy.
So I know that if I do aspire to do something great this year, it will take me a lot of self-nagging and restriction to carry it out. So, I anticipate the problems that I feel like I will face.
If you feel like you can’t wake up at 5 in the morning to go to the gym, wear your gym clothes to bed (trust me, forget all the blogs you read about how bad it is to wear synthetics to bed. Nothing happens). If you feel like you can’t go for that walk in the morning, take your sweatpants in your bag to office, and complete that walk after gym.
If you feel like you can’t focus on your promise to read more, disconnect your net pack for 2 months, and only be connected to cyberspace via Wi-Fi. Even if incorporating a change in your life means making rash decisions that will hurt you temporarily, remember that you wouldn’t have to do all of that if you had achieved your dreams a few years ago. Once you’re used to your changes, you can get back to all the sins you indulged in prior to this.
- Treat yourself for taking a step!
For every 4 small changes that you achieve in your daily routine, treat yourself for having done such a good job at keeping up with your promise. Go out and have a doughnut, or buy one dress for yourself because you managed to hold back on your shop-a-holic diva that has a closet filled with unstitched suits, or have a nice glass of wine because you did your health well.
Remember, it is not as though you don’t have the will inside of you- you can, and have accomplished all that you want to- but to just give yourself a possible, yet unplanned and un-strategized goal with no plan of action will render no results. You need to build the bridge through which you’ll reach your goal.
Never blame yourself for not having achieved your goals, and never burden yourself with unnecessary goals either. You have ample amount of time, and a well thought out, well-intended aspiration will always make its way into your year.