The New Year brings with it a frenzy of making resolutions which we hope will bring a significant, positive change in our lives. But we often find ourselves unable to accomplish the goals we set out for ourselves through these resolutions, and end up de-motivated. There are a few resolutions we have all have made at some point in time, and in fact might even be planning on making come this January 1st — that are just not smart. These resolutions are not the ideal way to set out goals and take action for a better life.
I will quit my job.
Everybody has problems with their job at one point or another, but before you resolve to quit in the new year, evaluate your life circumstances. Have you tried your best to make your job better? Have you identified the root cause of your dissatisfaction? Quitting should be your last resort, what you decide to do when all else fails. If you must leave your job, plan it all well in advance and find a new, better one before you quit. It is absolutely hazardous to quit your job on a whim because it will affect many areas of your life. Conversely, if you make this resolution every year, but never follow through, make sure you own the decision this time around. If your job is such a source of unhappiness that all you want is to leave, actually do the proper planning and stick to it. Whichever way you are inclined to go (chickening out or leaping before you look), leaving a job is a serious life change and requires thoughtful consideration.
I will get out of debt.
This is a highly ambiguous statement, so it often leads nowhere. You want to get out of debt, but how do you plan to do it? One way of actually getting down to paying off your debts is to resolve to “spend less”, “use money wisely,” “shop responsibly” and “get control over buying habits.” These are action oriented resolutions that are positive in nature. They are not about trying to get out of something, but rather about getting yourself into something – new, healthy habits and a more empowered outlook. Make a plan to start paying off your dues weekly, set an amount you will repay back and start tracking your progress. If you feel lost or confused, seek the advice of an expert. If you’re lagging behind on installments over a past purchase, sign up for automated payments so you don’t have to remember to pay and risk getting fined any late fees.
I will lose 10 pounds of weight
Setting a more specific goal when it comes to weight loss is great, but, again, this resolutions lacks a few keys to success. In order to be successful, you need a time frame as well as an action plan. What is even more problematic is the quantitative rather than qualitative take on weight loss: in order to be successful, your weight loss goals should go hand-in-hand with your health and fitness, and not stem from a numerical value of body mass. Strive to be fit by altering your diet and getting regular exercise. This is will help you decrease weight–odds are, it might even end up being more than your 10-pound goal! Give your mind and body the freedom from numbers when it comes to health – aim for a healthier year where you lose weight, but lose it at your own pace and time.
I will remove X or Y person from my life.
The moment you use phrases like this as a resolution, you automatically start giving those people power over you. The fact that you have made a conscious decision to avoid these people and what they say is illustrative of the fact that you recognize their presence in your life. People who put you down or hurt you should not be the focus of a new year resolution. Beginning your new year on a positive note is paramount and can give you an entirely new perspective. The better resolution would be to resolve to spend your time doing something better and more rewarding than obsessing over these issues–and if you start occupying yourself with other enjoyable things, their level of importance in your life will eventually decrease on its own. Focus on bringing in new people into your life, not eliminating people. The new people will eventually replace the people you wanted to eliminate from your life. Instead of knocking someone down in your mind or deciding to get emotional revenge, focus on giving your energy towards the people who do matter.
I will eat healthy food.
This is an extremely broad resolution to make, and it will be hard to keep up with as the year progresses. Instead, make a resolution like “I will pack lunch for myself at least three times a week” or “I will start eating whole wheat bread.” These are specific, they tell you what exactly needs to be done and they break down the broad spectrum of healthy food into smaller, more manageable tasks. Track your progress and reward yourself for having accomplished a smaller goal within this spectrum. You can have a different resolution for every month that relates to healthy eating and slowly build a new mindset around food. You are much more likely to achieve your goal if you get specific about how you are going to make them happen.
I will take up all those hobbies I could not last year.
Resolutions are all about taking one step at a time. Just because you have a bunch of hobbies you want to try out and could not get started on this year does not mean you have to be tied to them the following year. We have 12 short months to live in one year and we cannot possibly accomplish everything we’d like to in those months. Make a new list for this year and see what makes the cut. Then, pick one or two to start with. If you must, focus only on one hobby for the new year and aim at becoming at becoming a pro at it before you take up something else. You will not only learn better, the entire experience will be much more satisfactory and enjoyable. This way, you may actually end up mastering a new skill in depth instead of jumping from activity to activity and getting only a shallow understanding of them, or, even worse, getting overwhelmed and giving up entirely.