Monday Motivation: On making resolutions and sticking to them.

The first new year resolutions were set around 4000 years ago by the ancient Babylonians. During a twelve-day religious festival known as Akitu, they crowned a new king and promised God to pay all their debts. Interestingly it is the same tradition that has now evolved into a secular practice that inspires self-improvement, self-care and can work miracles.

The following are some ways to set healthy goals and accomplish them successfully:- 

  • Choose a select few.

Our resolution lists are often longer than our Christmas gift lists. Stick to a maximum of 3 goals that you’ve been yearning to accomplish for a long time, and write out all the reasons why you would want to pursue them. 

  • Be specific in the writing of your resolution. 

It is not enough to only write - “learn a new instrument” in your resolution list. Decide which instrument you’d like to learn, research on how you’d learn it, calculate the number of hours you need to invest towards it, and set targets that propel you towards your goal. Here is an example of what the final resolution should look like- 

“Learn 3 new songs per month on the guitar by practicing a minimum of 2 hours per week in addition to bi-weekly 60 minute guitar lessons at school.”

Our mind tends to find loopholes and the easy-way-out of most productive duties. Setting such specific goals will give you little room to be careless with its implementation.

  • Focus on the process and not the outcome. 

Instead of concentrating on losing or gaining the 10 kgs that lead you to your optimum weight, focus on the process of walking 10,000 steps a day, investing in a pedometer, whipping up healthy recipes with fresh fruits and vegetables and playing a sport.

  • Predict pitfalls and plan their solutions. 

Acknowledge how challenging your task might be, and list all the hurdles you think you will face. If your goal is to run a full marathon by the end of the year, prepare yourself for early mornings, start counting your calorie intake, and find access to both indoor and outdoor running tracks to accomodate for weather changes.

  • Lock your goals. 

Paying in advance or teaming up will create a double incentive for you to fulfill your goal. For instance- to ensure you read a new book every week, subscribe to a library, or join a reading club. Once you commit to other people, you feel more responsible to follow up. 

  • Celebrate your milestones and take planned breaks.

Divide your goals into 4 - 6 levels and treat yourself every time you arrive at one. Use these timely celebrations as a bait to keep pushing through!

Most importantly, believe in you! Set goals that help you embody the best version of yourself.