By Younas Chaudhary
It is the start of another New Year and the time for resolutions, plans, and tasks to do. Are New Year resolutions worth making or are they pointless?
New Year resolutions like “I will lose weight,” “I will stop smoking,” “I will stop drinking,” “I will save money,” and so forth, are pointless unless one is consistent and walks the talk. According to an article in the British Psychological Society, people make resolutions forgetting their current state of mind and make impractical decisions for the future. We are tempted by what is available to us right now and we lack the patience for delayed gratification. Therefore, seeing a few donuts on January 2nd can easily make us break our resolution to eat and stay healthy in the new year.
I have observed that collective action helps us keep resolutions. For example, take the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Muslims worldwide fast from dawn to dusk and 2 billion people collectively resolve to follow this practice for a month every year. In many Islamic countries, shops and restaurants are closed during daytime so that people can pray and not succumb to temptations. We can keep resolutions as a group, however, as individuals we often fail to keep our commitments and promises.
Some of us make New Year resolutions comparing our situation to our neighbors. We may want to lose weight drastically in 2023 so that we can look better than our neighbor. Such resolutions hardly last.
Our minds and bodies are tuned to what we feel and like at present. For instance, I have resolved to walk around 30 minutes daily at a particular time. However, despite my resolution, there are days when I make excuses saying that the weather is too hot or too cold or its going to rain. I create an impression that I am sick even if I am not. Still, on most days, I keep my resolution to walk for 30 minutes despite the negative thoughts.
The role of family members in keeping and breaking resolutions is common in Asian cultures. When I decide to eat fresh, homemade food at home, friends, relatives and even my kids urge me to eat junk food saying that it is the holiday season. If I resist, they say I am being cheap or that I am not destined to enjoy the unhealthy culinary pleasures of most Americans. Instead of helping people keep their resolutions, our culture encourages us to break them within a few hours of the New Year. Meanwhile, some of us have made COVID-19 as an excuse for not making resolutions saying that it is pointless, and the future can be horrible!
I encourage you to make resolutions and practice them consistently with these tips:
1. Choose resolutions that really matter to you. Before making one, ask: why?
2. Pick just one or two resolutions and make them practical and actionable. For example, if you decide to switch off from work at 5 pm to spend more time with family, give your best to timely come to work early and work until 5 pm but consistently stop all work-related activities after that.
3. Find out if you can make resolutions for the New Year collectively with friends or in groups.
4. Prioritize your health first and not money when making resolutions.
5. Commit to simple, practical resolutions.
6. Schedule it in your calendar.
7. Commit to consistently watch, control and reduce all your home and business expenses and costs.
8. Check your progress regularly and reward yourself for staying on with your resolution.
9. If you fail, get back on track as soon as you can and do not give up.
Have a Happy New Year to you all. I hope you will stay consistent with your resolutions in 2023! Stay Blessed.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.