This whole concept of “New Year Resolutions” has always puzzled me… It is one thing to be a firm believer that you should celebrate life seizing every opportunity life gives you, and another to obsess over it. Curiosity got the better of me and I actually was jobless enough to Google and check what were the top New Year Resolutions that people commonly took… Obviously I wanted to check how exclusive I was, with my resolutions.. here’s what I discovered!
- Lose Weight (dammit – a battle I have been fighting last 14 Godforsaken years!)
- Getting Organised (Hmmmm I’m not too bad.. but there always is room for improvement)
- Spend Less, Save More ( Ha ha )
- Enjoy Life to the Fullest ( Ha Ha)
- Staying Fit and Healthy ( Ha Ha)
- Learn something exciting ( Let me remind myself of my wishlist! Ceramic Pottery, Sculpting, Jewellery making, Vegetable Dyeing, Printing methods, crafty stuff .. the list just keeps increasing)
- Quit Smoking ( Finally something I did not have to ever think about.. )
- Help others in their dreams ( Miss teaching and mentoring)
- Fall in Love ( With myself… for sure!)
- Spend more time with family (Absolutely! Especially with such darlings I have for nieces and nephews!!!!)
If most of us want the same things, shouldn’t achieving them, logically, be doable?? Why are they still stuck to the “to do” list and not in the “Done” list?
Now this has further got me thinking! Obviously something happens between this aspiration phase and the actual doing phase…Now, I next googled, the top excuses for new year resolutions to fail (According to the Harvard-trained psychologist Dr. Stephen Kraus)
#1. All-or-none thinking: Thinking in black-or-white terms of “success” or “failure” can be fun as long as you are making good progress. But the joy of feeling like a “pure success” soon fades with the first minor setback, and you plunge into feeling like a total failure. In other words, all-or-none thinking leads to the next cause of breaking resolutions: the snowball effect.
#2. The snowball effect: D’ieters frequently suffer from the snowball effect as well, because they typically think in terms of being “on” their diet, or “off” it. Any little setback leads them to think that they have “broken” it, and they pig out.
#3. Overlooking progress, and dwelling on setbacks: After two weeks of healthy eating and exercise, for example, if they have an ice cream cone, instead of rewarding themselves for two weeks of solid progress, they beat themselves up over their minor setback.
#4. No plan (& bad goal setting & we forget): These reasons all go together, and they all have the same root cause. Most people resolve to do X in the coming year, and don’t think much beyond that. But an annual resolution is too far in the future to be motivating. You won’t be inspired to take action, or to make a plan and follow through. And because such a distant goal simply won’t show up on your “radar screen,” you’ll soon forget about it. Until next New Year’s. Instead, studies show that resolution-keepers use the proven principles for setting goals that will keep them focused, motivated and confident.
#5. The “nice-to-keep” syndrome: Let’s face it — for most people, their resolution is a “nice-to-keep,” not a “need-to-keep.” Sure, they’d like to be fit, or quit smoking, or have better relationships, or whatever. But by January 7th, they get focused on issues that are supposedly more “pressing,” or get bogged down “putting out fires.” Their longer-term, nice-to-have goals keep getting put on the back burner, and are soon forgotten. Resolution-keepers do it differently. They use a variety of commitment-enhancing and pre-commitment strategies that ensure they avoid the “nice-to-keep” syndrome. They find ways to keep themselves accountable, and follow through on the things that are truly important to them.
#6. No Vision (& not understanding the all-important “why”): The motivating power of any goal comes from truly understanding *why* you want it. But most resolution-makers don’t think through their underlying motivations. Just wanting to l’ose ten p’ounds for its own sake may be a fine goal, but it won’t be enough to motivate you when you have to make sacrifices or suffer a setback. But you’ll have that motivation if you know that getting in shape will mean having more stamina for playing with your kids, or going on a big hiking trip with your friends.
#7. Not enough action. All of the “small” reasons for not keeping resolutions add up to one big reason: not enough action. Most people know what to do in order to keep their resolution. They have the blueprint for success. But they don’t take sufficient action.
Bingo! My excuses exactly! So, now I am asking myself, how can beat myself in my own game of excuses? Instead of obsessing over the bigger picture, I have decided to monitor all the baby steps I am taking! I am going to henceforth refer to this programme as “iImprove” :D
Bhargavii Mani’s rules of the “iImprove” Programme
- “Clarify your Vision, and motivation will come”
- Act small !! -Looking only at the bigger picture is great, but useless if all the small details are missed or not handled well!
- Screw generalisations - We’re all exclusive. Do not fall prey to this biggest trap!
- Regularly Monitor -
Either you do it, or get someone to do it for you (and remember to be grateful for that). Paying someone does not mean you have the right to demand! And, any process without monitoring does not get any of us anywhere…
- Company matters!
- Enjoy what you want to do for yourself.…. The day you stop enjoying, all the effort that’s gone it ceases to make any more sense!