By Dorothy Le —
New Year resolutions are a tricky thing. They are made with good intentions with a desire to constantly improve and accomplish something to benefit ourselves and others whether spiritually, mentally, physically or socially. The beginning of January always starts off with a strong sprint, then slows into a steady gallop, but then eventually teeters off into a trot, and by the time we reach the middle of February, we comfort ourselves that we will have better luck next year.
But making a personal resolution isn’t something that is meant to be broken. If the goal is to self-improve, then working to stay consistent is only half the battle. And merely telling yourself to keep it isn’t going to push you to reach your goal. There are more practical methods to ensure that you stick to your resolution for the long run.
1) Have a planner. Planners aren’t just useful to track your schedule day by day. They are also useful to set long term plans as well. An advantage to keeping a planner is that the act of writing things down has been proven to have that thought ingrained in your mind more. So as you set goals per week or month, you are more likely to remember and stick to your resolution each day. And a planner can lift the burden of a heavy long term goal by breaking it down into more manageable sections. For example, if your New Year resolution is to lose 40 pounds, make it your monthly goal to focus on three pounds a month.
2) Reward Yourself. It is a nice feeling when you are able to achieve something that is taking you one step closer to your resolution. So if you were able to lose three pounds in that one month, treat yourself to a new pair of shoes, a massage, etc. That way, each monthly goal will feel more exciting and be something you are looking forward to.
3) Enlist a buddy. Two heads are better than one so that if one starts to slow down and feel the itch to quit, the other one can be there to help. It doesn’t have to be the same goal, but keeping each other on track and encouraging one another will make a huge difference in reaching yours.
And as it is common to have resolutions such as losing weight, quit smoking, travel, etc, it is important to also think about what ways you can grow spiritually. As human beings, we all have an innate desire to feed the soul and many attain it through religion, by gaining more knowledge about God through spiritual texts and finding the reasons for why we believe. The ironic thing about progressing forward spiritually is that sometimes you need to take a few steps back to discover new truths. This needs to come with an honest intention to seek truth because it allows us to throw out old or incorrect thoughts that might otherwise hinder our steps forward.
So this year, make it a year of reclaiming both physical and spiritual advancement goals, and actively take little steps in order to get there so that we can all become a better person inside and out.