The Fallacy of New Year Resolutions

It is that time of year again when we dump out the old calendar standee and replace with a new one, change day planner inserts and wish perfect strangers a great year coming. There is something about the turning of a new year that has us reflecting on all our misgivings and the things we want to, need to and wish to change; with the hopes of an improved version of a better self and life.

Even though I do not have the habit of penning down new year resolutions, I catch myself making mental notes:

“Lose weight”, “save more“, “eat more vegetables“, “earlier to bed“, “drink more water“, “read more books” and so on. I stop and question why does it all sound too familiar? This list is stubborn; year after year, I am flogging the same dead horse.

The real fallacy is that we should not be making resolutions once a year, but rather the elements of change and self-reflection should be immediate and everyday. There is a certain amount of pressure when the calendar flips to a new page, that we naturally want to right all wrongs. But this kind of list making is bound for failure. The problem is: focusing on the negatives and what needs to be changed is the easy part, but the how to change – is where the line is drawn between sustaining and sweeping resolutions.

The secret is to take that pressure off and focus on just one or two points that you can set clear goals and actually stick to. For example, if eating more veggies is one of your resolutions for 2016, try picking a day in the week and call it ‘your personal vegetarian day’.

This tact has worked for me. My resolution (which I made in November) was to lose some weight but I hate dieting. On the advice of a girlfriend, I give 20mins every other day to the treadmill. Just 20 minutes. No more, no less. Whether I am walking or light jogging or full-fledged running, I stick to this every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Even when I am on holidays. While the kilograms are not dropping off fast enough, but my pants are looser and my face appears sharper in photographs. This is good enough for me; hence the goal for 2016 is to maintain the routine.

Another goal of mine is to spend quality time with my girlfriends. Keyword being quality. On the second day of 2016, I took one of my closest girlfriend out for an art jamming session. We spent a relaxed Sunday afternoon last weekend covered in acrylic paints; honing into our inner creative selves. For 3 hours of art followed by dinner, we chatted, laughed, exchanged ideas and reflected on our art and everything else in our lives. Hands down a great start to my new year.

When it comes to achievable new year resolutions, remember to keep it simple, doable and fun.

Happy 2016 everyone!

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