As the calendar flips to a new year, it brings with it a sense of fresh beginnings and limitless possibilities. It's a time when many of us embark on a journey of self-improvement by setting resolutions and striving to cultivate new habits. With a new year, we usually have new resolutions, some carried forward from the year before, whereas some that we have decided to pick up from the coming new year onwards. The key to completing this lies not just in making resolutions but in taking concrete steps to turn them into lasting habits. In this article, our Localhood Website Volunteer Saravanan explores the art of embracing the new year, focusing on how to set effective resolutions and establish sustainable habits that endure beyond January.
First of all, reflect on the past year: Before diving into the realm of new resolutions, take a moment to reflect on the year that has passed. Consider your achievements, challenges, and areas for improvement. This introspection will help you identify patterns and understand what matters most to you as you embark on the journey of setting new goals. I personally have always started the new year with the “new year new me” only to fall into the same cycle again. Then again, after self-reflecting on myself, I always say that “I can only do better if I try” and this first step makes all the more difference.
Set realistic and meaningful resolutions! This is quite important as resolutions should be personal and meaningful, aligning with your values and aspirations. Ensure they are realistic and attainable. Break them down into smaller, manageable steps that can be accomplished over time. For example, instead of aiming to read 50 books in a year, start with a goal of reading one book per month. This approach increases the likelihood of success and prevents overwhelming yourself. On a personal level, I used to see unachievable goals when I was younger, but as I got more mature, I set my expectations more realistically.
Next create a Clear Action Plan: Resolutions without a well-defined plan often remain mere wishes! Outline specific actions you need to take to achieve your goals. Whether it's adopting a healthier lifestyle, learning a new skill, or spending more time with loved ones (quality and not quantity time) define the actionable steps required to progress steadily towards your desired outcome.
It’s important to start small and build the momentum. The key to forming new habits is to start small and gradually build momentum. Begin with a manageable commitment that you can consistently incorporate into your routine. For instance, if your goal is to exercise regularly, start by dedicating just 15 minutes a day to physical activity and progressively increase the duration or intensity as you develop the habit.
You should also utilise the power of habit stacking. Habit stacking involves anchoring a new habit to an existing one. Identify a behavior you already perform consistently and link your desired habit to it. For instance, if you want to read more, establish a routine of reading for 15 minutes before going to bed, right after brushing your teeth. This way, the existing habit serves as a trigger, making it easier to adopt the new one. The trigger will allow you to build a new habit with a reward at the end.
Last and the most important element of it all is to embrace failure -be it big or small (it might be just about skipping a practice session, cheating in your meal or anything else)- as part of the process: Remember that setbacks and occasional lapses are part of any transformative journey. You can’t expect to achieve your goal overnight! If you stumble or veer off course, don't let it discourage you. Embrace failure as an opportunity to learn, recalibrate, and recommit to your resolutions. Adjust your approach if needed and keep moving forward with determination.
In conclusion, the new year presents a chance for growth, reinvention, and the pursuit of personal excellence. By reflecting on the past, setting meaningful resolutions, and establishing sustainable habits, you can embark on a transformative journey in the coming 2024!