How to make New Year resolutions and keep them

Shikha Jain speaks to experts to discover the necessity of making resolutions and the key to fulfilling them

It’s that time of year again where New Year’s resolutions are made. A New Year’s resolution is a goal, decision, or promise that people make and want to complete it in the following year. “New Year resolutions date back in history. On a rather spiritual note – worshippers in Rome prayed to the God of Good Conduct called Janus (yes, January is named after him) before the New Year. They would make resolves to better themselves and their behaviour in some way. Janus was two faced; he looked exactly forward as well as backward, which means he could clearly see the past and the future at the same time. It was believed that mending previous wrongdoings could assure a better tomorrow. And the start of the year, January 1 was a good time because Janus would be pleased and would forgive,” informs Dr Shefali Batra, psychiatrist, founder of MINDFRAMES and co-founder of InnerHour.

Ideal or not?

We inevitably wonder whether making a resolution is ideal or not. Purvi Shah, a psychologist points out, “What is a resolution anyway – goals in disguise of a wish.” With a new year you develop a new hope and wish for better. A start of the new year tells you that you want to start afresh. This motivation makes you build new targets – resolutions. There is absolutely nothing wrong in having a resolution considering you genuinely want to accomplish it. Life Coach and Image Consultant, Chhaya Momaya chuckles, “Resolutions are meant to be broken, but on a more serious note it’s always good to make resolutions because if not 100 per cent at least you follow some part of it and also get conscious of your shortcomings and how you can improve on them – whether conduct, health, business plans, relationships and many more.” Hence, resolutions give you a direction in life.

Nothing complicated

“Every goal can become realistic provided we know the right path. More important than setting realistic goals is that we need to have a path that will take us to achieve that goal,” asserts Prashant Rajore, an Art of Living preacher. Make sure your resolutions are simple and not difficult to follow and most importantly, that they are logical and can be worked out on a day-to-day basis. “Something tough or something out of the way will work for a very short while because in the long run it will get impossible to keep up with it. So, keep it easy-going and more related to your everyday environment, which also includes the people you live with, work with, and your friends because it’s easier for them to understand and help you to sustain your resolutions,” explains Chhaya.

Make up your mind first without any influences in your life because if you are being influenced then you will probably give up half way. First, find your goals, your understanding about where you need to go, what you need to do, how you are going to take this forward. “And make this your priority – you have to do it for yourself and not for anybody else and that will take you a long way along with keeping your goals intact,” states Chhaya.

Climb the ladder

“Whether baby steps or longer strides, I’d always say first understand the subject in detail and find a good logic on why you should be doing it,” says Chhaya. It’s not a trend that you have to follow but you should have your own realistic reason to work upon it. Have a few resolutions; the more resolutions you have, the more difficult it can get. “For one to be focused, one needs to have just a few or may be one resolution to work upon at a time,” adds Purvi. Writing is an easier way for something to seep into your sub-conscious.

The more you sub-consciously decide to want to achieve something, the more you are bound to achieve it. It is ideal to remember that you may have set a resolution but it may not be what you really need. “It is the process of walking over that path that must be your goal. If you are consistent, achievement of goal is bound to happen. For example, the goal may be getting a 1st rank but your ideal resolution should be studying 6 pages every day for 6 months or until your exams,” explains Purvi.

Trick to sustainability

One also needs to be happy, joyful and light about setting a goal. “And this is where meditation helps – it helps us maintain that lightness. If we get too bogged down with achieving the goals or become too serious it becomes very difficult to achieve them,” says Prashant.  

Every path has its milestones. All milestones should be celebrated. When we set goals, there are failures also and we should learn to ignore the failures as temporary. If we get unduly affected by the failures then it is very difficult to achieve the goals. Therefore, celebrate the success and ignore the failure. Identify whether your resolution is a positive one or a negative one. You may have to start working on your goal accordingly. “If your resolution is a negative one that is, to leave a certain habit or let go of something, you are naturally taking away something that is hard, in return you may also want to treat yourself to feel better at heart,” says Purvi. This process makes the achievement of resolution easier.

Source of motivation

Your resolution will be something for you to look forward to in life. It will challenge and encourage you to break boundaries you never knew you were capable of. You will be aware of the strengths you never knew you had. Achievement of each resolution will make you positive and stronger mentally. “In my opinion, resolutions strengthen your work atmosphere, your relationships, your fitness – whatever your concerns are. Everyone needs to set a goal in order to be able to organise their life in a more smooth and regimented way than anything else. And this is why resolutions have always been important and what better than the year you begin with,” says Chhaya. Having resolutions also give us a sense of direction, a sense of purpose in life. So, continue making resolutions. Start with simpler ones, end at bigger ones. We all need a challenge!

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