New Year, New Me? The Mindset Behind Resolutions

New year, new me

What’s your new year’s resolution for 2022?

It’s that time of the year where there’s an influx of ‘New Year, New Me‘ posts on Twitter, Instagram…basically, everywhere you see. This is usually followed by the saying: “This year is my year.” The collective hope of people to turn their lives around for the better is at its peak during this time. So they create a new year’s resolution to promise themselves that they’ll achieve everything this year which they couldn’t in the previous years. Mostly they revolve around being active, eating healthy, or learning skills that help them feel accomplished. As a result, advertisers take this opportunity to promote their service masquerading as a product that can help you achieve your goals.

But what’s so special about the 1st of January? Isn’t it just another date on the calendar?

The hope of a new year

Most of us are procrastinators. The kind of procrastinators that look at the clock when it’s 16:04 and tell themselves to start working at 17:00. The kind of procrastinators who promises to do it the next day and postpone it to weeks or months.

So what’s a better day to kick start things than the beginning of the new year?

The New Year provides a clean slate, a new dawn of hope, and new beginnings. It allows you to hit the reset button and start afresh.

This fresh start enables people to make resolutions in the hope that this time, they would start doing those things they were procrastinating. It’s a new year, it’s a new start.

Why you’re not able to keep your resolutions

According to research conducted by Strava, most people give up their resolution by the 19th of January. All this hope, determination for merely 19 days? What goes wrong?

Your goals are not aligned with your values

We sometimes make goals without thinking about our core values. It’s essential to identify your core values. What drives you? What makes your blood boil? What gives you the satisfaction and happiness that we as, humans, immensely crave? Are you setting up this goal because of other people’s expectations of yourself or is this something that you want?

Your goals are not realistic

When we are motivated, we tend to overestimate what we can do in a given period. A few examples being: losing 10 kgs in a month, running a marathon when you aren’t trained enough, or even setting vague goals like traveling the world someday, learning a new language, or eating healthy more.

When our goals aren’t realistic, failing to achieve results in disappointment and demotivation. Both of which make it easier to quit. When our goals are vague, we neither have a metric to see if we are making progress nor know what we aim for. This also is a reason why people tend to quit.

You try to change a lot of things at the same time

At the start of the year, we tend to create many resolutions in parallel. The problem with this is that you have a fixed amount of time and energy. If you try to do everything at once, you can’t give the attention that each task deserves. Trying to juggle many balls at once can also lead to burnout.

You are too hard on yourself

When we do cave in and fall short on our goals, we get a bit too harsh on ourselves. We might think that we aren’t good enough or don’t have what it takes. This leads to our monkey brain asking us – what’s the point? and we cave in.

How to stick to your resolutions?

The bad news is that time flies, the good news is that you’re the pilot.

1. Identify your core values and align them with your goals. If family relationships are one of your core values, ensure you prioritize them in your goals. There might be times when certain goals are influenced by your family, boss – they might think they know what’s best for you. However, they might not always be something that you want or desire. Don’t fall for that! Your goals are only yours to create and attain.

2. Create specific goals. Your goals should be specific on what you want to achieve and when. Instead of being vague and saying – “I’ll work out more”- you can say – “I’ll run 5 kms daily”. This goal is definite – you know what you have to do. This also has a time frame. This makes it easier to track your progress over time.

3. Create approach-specific goals. It’s important to focus on the journey than the outcome. For example, taking note of how exercise makes you feel mentally better is more likely to help you stick to your goal than concentrating on your weight. The idea is to create goals that are easier to build into routines and turn them into a habit.

4. Track your progress. Tracking the number of times you accomplished your task can be a huge motivation booster. It helps you to see how far you have come and can be a good way of holding yourself accountable. I track my progress daily on my bullet journal setup. You can use a digitalized planner as well.

5. Be kind to yourself. There will be days where you perform better and smash your goals and, there will inevitably be days when you abandon your new healthy eating diet for a takeaway. You’re human and, it’s normal to struggle with lifestyle changes and what life throws at us. So don’t feel guilty if you have a day off. Even if you miss a day or two bounce back! Commit to trying again the next day, without feeling like a failure. However, if you continue to fall short of your goals – revisit, reconsider and tweak the goal if needed. Just remember to be kind to yourself and ensure that your self-talk is positive, loving, and compassionate.

If you did notice, this post is published today – on the 1st of January after a long 6 month hiatus. One of my goals this year is to be more consistent with my writing and this blog. Writing makes me happy; this blog is my little space on the web where I could share it with you – in the hopes that this might bring a little positivity to your own life. I am not a great writer, far from it but, I’m willing to learn, practice, and get better.

Thank you for still being here! I appreciate every single one of you. Hopefully, you’ll see more of me this year in 2022.

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