For A Better You

How to Achieve Your New Year's Resolution

Key Takeaway

We talk about why the usual conventions of making new year's resolutions seldom find success & how readers can do better by making a realistic system that works

When it comes to listing down your new year's resolutions, sheer excitement often takes the wheel in writing those lofty declarations of doing better. But this shouldn't be the case.

There is no question why people see the new year as a hopeful and thrilling transition. It's hard not to when cultures worldwide have cemented traditions that mark the event as a momentous occasion; from the firecrackers used by the Chinese to drive out unwanted spirits, and Japan's bonenkai or "forget-the-year parties" that bid farewell to the previous year to start anew. These sorts of practices lure us into the enveloping new year buzz. And as elation swells from within, we get inspired to make bold promises we swear to keep.

"I'll have better financial savings" or "I'll drive myself to be healthier" are just a couple of the statements that can escape from your mind and get pinned on your bedroom corkboard. Yet, over the years, how many times have you successfully achieved these goals?

In the book Atomic Habits, James Clear makes a powerful case that organizing a system that works for you will reap far better results than being goal-oriented. Having a sustainable system allows you to make small daily improvements that paves the way for long-term benefits for your happiness.

Time to shift your mindset.

It bears repeating that things are easier said than done. In the height of the celebratory fever, you're more susceptible to declare promises with no discernible and concrete steps to make them happen. Your focus is already at the far-end reward when it should've first been on the obstacles placed around you. This kind of mentality fuels people's frustration whenever it's taking longer than expected to reach their intended goals.

"Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress." — James Clear

While living in a world with instant gratification has many perks, it makes you feel less inclined to stick with a long-term goal. Being accustomed to fast results can make you unfamiliar with the charm of incremental progress. The journey is a concept that you'd instead speed up than savor.

But when you want to make a difference with your current behavior, the advisable thing to do is to stray from your familiar environment. Seeking discomfort is your visible desire to move forward and experience growth. And to do so, you should have a system that continually challenges you to go an inch further from your comfort zone. Here's how you can start.

Establish and optimize a routine

Getting fit or living a healthier lifestyle are aspirations that are often pronounced as new year's resolutions. But when can you say that you've achieved your goal of getting fit? Is it when you jogged every day for two weeks? Or when you've already shed off a couple of pounds? And when you've accomplished these, can you then say you are now fit?

Clearing these short-term goals can be fulfilling but attaining these doesn't mean it's time to stop.

“If you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you'll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you're done." — James Clear

Always attempt to do better than what you've previously done. Set yourself on this path by planning out a daily and weekly routine where you perform activities in pursuit of your overall goal.

If you resolve to get a stronger body and have a healthier diet, what are you willing to do in your daily routine to ensure that you're making progress every day? Build and optimize a regimen that truly works for what you want to achieve.

Switch it up once in a while

No one wants to feel like they're just living the same day over and over. And if you've resolved to live your life with more spontaneity, make it your mission to conquer new challenges each day. Even if you've already established a daily regimen, don't be afraid of introducing a new activity on your agenda.

"Decide the type of person you want to be. Prove it to yourself with small wins." — James Clear

Have you been thinking of enrolling in a dance class? Curious to know how it's like to make homemade sushi? Take this time as your chance to sign up and go for it. Choosing to experience something new every so often allows you to have a schedule that excites you and become more like the person you dream of being.

Create an environment where you can choose better.

The inclination to procrastinate and gorge down on unhealthy snacks are urges that you often feel lingering at the back of your mind. And for more than a few times, you may have allowed yourself to fall into their clutches and indulge for a little bit —despite being fully aware of their negative consequences on your time and health.

You can still minimize and control these impulses. Set up preventive measures and build an environment that fosters healthy choices.

Are you feeling the urge to delay yet another task? Find out what's personally keeping you from starting. Craving for something to munch on while at work? Keep a stock of sugar-free biscuits by Gullon in your desk drawer. You can also save a fortune by staving off from buying your regular high-end coffee beverage and discover Chek Hup's Colombian instant gourmet coffee.

Set a monitoring system or an accountability buddy

When you're on the road with your newfound routines, you can come across a tipping point where you see a decline in your progress. It would be best if you're able to catch yourself before your performance further plummets.

You can keep an eye out for these moments by setting up a monitoring system or having an accountability partner. Keep a record of your progress in a fitness journal or with the help of a friend. Establishing self-imposed deadlines and weekly goals would also be smart to challenge your limits and propel you forward.

Strive to make this new year a genuine fresh start. Do away with the usual conventions of hastily declared resolutions and sit down to contemplate what you truly want to gain and accomplish. Strategize your next steps and layout a solid system that your future self will be thankful for. — (TGM)

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