Alright, three weeks into 2021. If the trend follows what transpired in 2020 *shudders*, we are certainly in for a rough year. At the same time, it’s easy to fall back into the same old habits, especially during a time where people are miserably confined at home.
However, there are still ways for you to make 2021 a much better year. New Year’s resolutions are often met with plenty of smirks and eye-rolling, and with good reason: A study by John Norcross showed that fewer than 10% manage to keep them for more than a few months. There’s still some positives though, the same study found people who formally made New Year’s resolutions are over 10 times as successful as compared to people who wants change but don’t make formal resolutions.
That’s right, they didn’t just say it, they declared it.
So, seize the day! Take back control of your life! Stop the Count! Feel less of a piece of driftwood battered by the tides of current events! Here are five ways on how you can escape that glass case of emotion and change for the better.
Focus on just one resolution, one task at a time.
Some of the most common resolutions are: losing weight, exercising more, quitting smoking, and saving money. Too much to do, too little time: the fastest route to failure. Instead, focus on a singular task, do it one at a time. Forego that after-dinner cigarette, or drink one less cup of black sugar boba. Once that’s accomplished, move on to the next task.
Win the battles, then the war.
Image: Collins Gaia 2021 Calendar Year Diary – Calorie Counter & Healthy Sleeping Tips
Sometimes changing certain habits can be daunting. Stop smoking immediately? Lose 30 kilograms? Setting audacious goals, and then falling short can be very disheartening. Instead, be SMART. Goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Instead of losing 30 kilograms, try to make it “run 10 kilometers by the end of the week”, or instead of "find a job this year", try "respond to 5 job adverts a day." Setting a modest and SMART goal and then hitting it encourages us to keep going. Remember, a small win is still a win.
Positive Resolutions equals Good Vibes
Temptation is the bane of all resolutions. Not sure if you’ve heard of the story, but apparently there’s this couple being tempted by some slimy reptile in a trench coat, and long story short, it was widely regarded as a really bad move and now we are doomed for all eternity. We agree that it’s hard to resist temptation, especially when you’re thinking about not having that bowl of ice cream for dessert. It doesn’t help the soft, rich, creamy, and smooth almond-crusted ice cream sitting in your freezer is constantly living rent-free in your head. Stupid sexy ice-cream.
Instead, frame your resolutions in a positive manner; rather than telling yourself to limit yourself to your usual 2 pints of ice cream every night for dessert, frame it as “having a bowl of Greek yoghurt” instead. Habit replacement is a much easier and effective mean to successful change, versus avoiding something entirely. So, get off your butt and get yourself some yoghurt, because you deserve it.
Share your New Year's resolution with someone
Letting family and friends know that you have a New Year’s resolution that you really want to keep will act as both as a fail-safe and a face-saver. Hate that horrible old auntie who never fail to make comments about your insecurities every Chinese New Year because her husband decided to leave her for a younger, sexier woman, and decided to take her bitterness at the world out on everyone else around her? What if you can turn that old hag to your own advantage? In all seriousness, making life-changing habits, having real friends won’t put temptation in your way and can help monitor your behaviour. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support from those around you. Unless it’s from some slimy reptile in a trench coat.
Remember: Don’t just say it, declare it.
Sticking together through thick and thin
Image: Predator (1987)
Sometimes a tough journey is hard to achieve alone. What better way to encourage each other to achieve your goals than with a friend or significant other? At the same time, it’s hard to change your own habits when you see your partner engaged to the same old habits. Trying to lose weight? Find an absolute unit of a friend to go running together. It’s much more encouraging when two chonkers share their progress with each other and bounce off different ideas to achieve the same goals.
BONUS TIP: Track the journey, and not just the destination.
Lapses are part and parcel of New Year’s resolutions, and when it happens the most important thing is to concentrate on moving forward by understanding your own progress. Rather than just focusing on how much you have achieved, pay attention to on how much you have left to go. Keeping a journal on your progress and lapses can motivate yourself, especially when you hit a roadblock. It will help you stay on course, and ultimately the satisfaction when you finally cross the finish line.