Every year I used to make myself a list of things I would do daily, earnestly believing that at the end of the year, I would be a healthier, smarter, nicer and altogether better person. None of these good intentions lasted beyond January and left me feeling like I had failed.
I then realised that there is a problem with New Year’s Resolutions. After New Year’s Eve celebrations, you wake up on New Year’s Day feeling tired; it’s a holiday and you want to take it easy, so everything gets put back to 2nd January. Then if it’s a weekend you decide to start on Monday. There’s always a good excuse to start a bit later.
Eventually, I came up with something better. My solution to incomplete resolutions was to change my thinking, and I hope this can help you too as you progress into a new year and new modules
1 Spring Cleaning
In Japan, there's a tradition, called Osouji, of spring cleaning in the week before New Year's Day.
This works for habits and thoughts as well as homes.
Try thinking about what went well in the previous year, what you enjoyed and want to do more of and what didn't go so well. There’s no point making a resolution to go to the gym three days a week, if that's a chore and you already know that you won't last a month. If you like walking, why not walk a little faster, go a little further; it's still good exercise.
2 Change The Date
The cold days and dark nights of January aren't conducive to making big lifestyle changes, so rather than joining everyone else at the start of the year, pick your own time to start making changes.
A date that is significant is a good way to record your progress. Perhaps it's payday so when you have completed a week or month of the resolution, your success is linked to getting paid. Perhaps it's when you submit an assignment and you have that sense of satisfaction of getting closer to your goal. Use that positivity to start a new resolution; if you want an annual date then your birthday or an anniversary is the time to start.
Whatever date you choose make it personal.
3 Seasonal Change
A change of season is a good time for a change too. It can snow as late as April, but according to the Meteorological Board, Spring starts on 1 March. Choosing your favourite season could be a good time to start your resolutions.
4 Monthly Resolutions
Another way to break the resolution problem is to set monthly resolutions. This is less daunting than a challenge that lasts an entire year.
Research shows that forming a habit takes an average of 66 days depending on the difficulty of the task and the person attempting the change. However, sticking to the habit and not missing days in the first few weeks makes it more likely you will be successful.
A month might not be long enough to form a permanent habit, but it is a good start. If the resolution doesn't work, you can start a new resolution in the next month.
That’s twelve different things you can start or change in one year!
5 Test Drive Your Resolutions
And finally, before making a commitment, try out your new resolutions for a week or two. If they don't work, you haven't failed, you can change them or replace them with fresh ones.