A New Year’s resolution is a tradition in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behaviour, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life. The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually.
I asked my kids to pen down their resolutions (big word) hence I called it goals for them. They mutually agreed on eating healthy, read and write more, make new friends, improvising on skills, fighting less and laughing more.
These are some of the responses I received when I asked my readers about their new year resolutions in descending order, meaning the one mentioned first got the highest votes and vice versa. lose weight, think positive, laugh more often, enjoy life, save money, grow on the work front, learn new skill, Self-improvement, take a trip, charity/pray, make new friends, spend quality time with family members, settle down, get engaged/get married, have kids.
Well what we need to understand is that these will not happen overnight. It requires earnest efforts and constant determination to stay focused and achieve these set targets. Kids tend to follow you and me, and if we take efforts to change not ourselves, but our lifestyles, it will enable them to reach to their goals easily. “You have to walk the walk and talk the talk to be most effective.” Surprisingly our (adults and kids) goals are correlated and complimentary. How?
- An early morning walk would help me lose weight and encourage the kids to join me either walking or cycling. “Mom I have tennis on weekends at 7am” added Sparsh. When we start the day early our kids follow suit.
- Eating fresh home cooked meals means we do not step out every now and then for lunches and dinners. To make this interesting and exciting we have mutually decided that kids will help in cooking over weekends and treat us. Again this teaches them life lessons too. This would enable us to save more hence donate more.
- For kids to read and write more, I need to read and write more, which means you will hear me often, jokes apart, our bed time reading should help us achieve this easily. Enrolling in a local library is also on my mind.
- For instance, I want to take up a writing course and also participate in women empowerment programs. I would want to come out of my comfort zone and do something out of the box, hopefully that will inspire Anaya to learn cycling and swimming in 2018.
- Fighting less, hmmm well that clearly means that we need to have cool heads too. Avoid arguments, no getting angry and no calling names allowed.
- For people who know me know that I don’t smile often. Now if I want my kids to smile more I need to do that first. I am sure this is not difficult, I might just change my screen wallpapers to smile more, and put stick on notes at various places which I visit every day which remind me to smile.
So you see by making simple lifestyle changes in myself, I can help my family change too. Resolutions become a burden when we force a change in our lives and leave our lifestyles unaltered. For example, 50 push ups everyday fades out soon as compared to 5 push ups every day. A 30-minute meditation loses concentration, but a 1-minute-deep breathing gradually builds up to 30 minutes’ relaxation in just a couple of months.
To keep us on track we need are Triggers,Motivators and Monitors,Confused?
For instance, say you want to lose weight by walking 10000 steps each day, how do you do this?
- Morning/evening walks. Now for this all you need is an alarm (trigger), fresh air (motivator) and a pedometer (monitor). Or,
- Walk while you talk. In this case mobile ring (trigger),” sitting is the new smoking” wallpaper (motivator) and a walking app on your phone (monitor).
All I am saying is that there is a need to break down our resolutions into realistic simple steps which you cannot say no to. Buying a new jogging suit or brand new sketchers will not force you out of your bed or chair but simple lifestyle changes triggers the body into action.
Another way of sticking to habits/resolutions/targets is by the paper clip strategy. Well, because it creates a visual trigger that can motivate you to perform a habit with more consistency. In this case the paper clip becomes a trigger, motivator all well as a monitor.
- Hoping to do 100 push-ups each day? Start with 10 paper clips and move one over each time you drop down and do a set of 10 throughout the day.
- Need to send 25 sales emails every day? Start with 25 paper clips and toss one to the other side each time you press Send.
- Want to drink 8 glasses of water each day? Start with 8 paper clips and slide one over each time you finish a glass.
- Not sure if you’re taking your medication three times per day? Set 3 paper clips out and flip one into the bin each time you swallow your pills.
Having said this and simplifying it too, we now need to understand: “Why We Make Plans, But Don’t Take Action”
According to James Clear,Akrasia is the state of acting against your better judgment. It is when you do one thing even though you know you should do something else. Akrasia is procrastination or a lack of self-control. Akrasia is what prevents you from following through on what you set out to do. We associate goals with the future which prevents us from taking action now. The present self really likes instant gratification, not long-term payoff. The good news is that we can beat procrastination by
- Designing our future through strategies that help improve your behaviour by either increasing the obstacles or costs of bad behaviours or reducing the effort required for good behaviours. Example buying individual packs and avoid bulk buys.
- The friction that prevents us from taking action is usually centered around starting the behavior. Once you begin, it’s often less painful to do the work. Hence reducing the friction (eg: environmental changes) is important.
- Scheduling work helps too. Once we allot a time to something we intend to do, most likely we will do it. No wonder social media allows scheduling of posts too. Time management is the key.
Now go ahead and make resolutions without the fear of not living up to them. All you need is your self-designed triggers, motivators and monitors. Last but not the least don’t forget to celebrate your success however small it may be. Cheers and see you in the new year.
Wishing you and your loved ones and happy and prosperous 2018.
Happiness and sunshine,
P.S: Do share your resolutions and success stories making 2018 happier