I am an avid New Year’s Resolutions writer! In fact, I write them often. May be two or three times in a year! My success rate with them is mixed. I am more or less disciplined and hard-working person. So I keep on pushing ahead. But my Resolutions are too ambitious, you may say impractical, to be fulfilled. For example, I may write, ‘during this year I will write 3 novels, three non-fiction books, 50 articles, 50 short stories, and 50 poems!’ At the end of the year, I may not have completed even a single novel, a single non-fiction book, and written only a Few articles, short stories, and poems!
My experience with New Year Resolutions has taught me some lessons which I am sharing with you.
Don’t leave New Year Resolutions for the last moment to write! If you do, on the last day of the year you may end up hurriedly writing down something not better than a shopping list. Spend some time and energy in writing them. At the same time, if you fail to write them before the New Year commences, don’t think that now it is too late. Write in the first week of the year or later. It is better writing late than never. In fact, every religion and, therefore, most of the countries, have different New Year days. India alone has more than half a dozen New Year days depending upon which religion you belong to or which calendar you followed!
Before writing the New Year resolutions, think about the bigger questions of life: God, creation, life, death, etc. Is life pre-determined? Is there an after life? What is the aim of life? Is rat race for success good? What is the place of happiness, health, family and friends in our life? You need not be or become a philosopher; but do give these questions some pondering. Before writing about the New Year and future, cast a glance at your past and the old year also. How has your life been? What are your successes and failures? What are your regrets? How was the old year? Did you keep your resolutions? If yes, to what extent? If not, why? Given another chance, how would you plan and live the old year. Have a vision of the future. How would you like to see yourself after one year or thereafter? Base your resolutions on this analysis.
Make new year resolutions a vehicle for change. While we are comfortable with status quo, we want to change our life too. Everybody thinks that he is in a rut. He or she would have been happier in another job, in different circumstances, in new places. But we fear change. Don’t just foolhardily jump into change, but plan for it.
Plan for new and exciting things in life. Learn something new-dancing, playing a musical instrument, a new language, tennis, web-designing, or writing poetry. If you have never loved, love. It is an exciting thing. If you are in love, get married. It is intoxicating.
Write down specific goals rather than general. Instead of writing, “I will reduce weight,” specify how many pounds or kilograms you want to reduce within which period and by what means. So write, during the year I will reduce my weight by 30 pounds. I will aim at reducing 10 pounds every quarter (so that I have some extra time towards the year-end). I will regulate my diet (be specific about diet too), will exercise or play some game, go for morning or evening walk, start yoga, and lead an active life.
Break down bigger whole year aims to smaller quarterly and monthly aims. In fact, each week write down the aim for that week also. Of course, also keep a daily to-do list (to be written at the start of the day or one day in advance). Revise the monthly and quarterly targets in the light of progress made and aims abandoned and new aims added. In fact, write down a continually evolving list of to-do for the year. Whatever you want to do in the year, just add to this list and Do when the right time comes.
Supplement the Resolutions list with other lists: Daily Prayer in which you may pray to God for giving you happiness, success, and health, etc. Daily Affirmations, in which you may use the power of affirmations. Daily Do’s in which you may fix your daily routine which may be helpful in fulfilling your Resolutions, Daily Don’ts, things you should not do.
Use positive power! Most of our resolutions fail because they are about negatives rather than positives. We want to reduce weight or quit smoking, or drinking. But all these are negatives. We will surely be defeated fighting against them. Instead, if we decide to start playing tennis, it would be a positive thing. Little by little we will get interested in it. We will get addicted to it. We will not be able to stay at home when it is play time, whether it is at 5 a.m. or 5 p.m. We will have to go when our partner calls us. If we are over-weight, we will jog, eat less and sensibly. If we get fatigued easily, we will quit smoking and drinking. We would like to be at the top of our tennis team! We will reduce weight, quit smoking and drinking easily (because our game of tennis demands it!).
Don’t forget the taken for granted important things in life! When we write our Resolutions we concentrate what we want to achieve in worldly sense. But we fail to mention other important things in life, like: I will be happy, I will love my family, and I will enjoy nature, etc. These unwritten resolutions are more important than the written ones. If we fulfill them and even fail at achieving the written aims, we have still won. If we succeed at both, that is superb! For this, I would suggest, make two lists of New Year resolutions-one for important basics of life (happiness, love, etc.) and another for worldly success (you may like to make one separate one for your job or office life, if required).
Don’t forget others! New Year resolutions are not for and about you only. They concern others too. Make resolutions concerning others also. Resolve that you will give more time and love to your family and friends. You will help the unfortunate and poor people. You will give a fraction of your gains back to the society who made your worldly success possible in the first place. These resolutions may be a part of your other (I would say first) list mentioned in last paragraph.
Now write down your resolutions!
WISHING YOU A HAPPY, HEALTHY, AND SUCCESSFUL NEW YEAR!
LIVE THE LIFE BEAUTIFUL!
BE HAPPY! BE HEALTHY! BE SUCCESSFUL!
TODAY, TOMORROW, FOREVER!