4 Guidelines for Resolutions (By a Lazy Ambitious Girl)

When I asked Hazel about her resolutions this 2018, she responded with a hearty laugh, “You don’t need the new year to change your life.” While I agree that making resolutions isn’t confined to the start of a new year, it’s undeniable how the novelty of the new year brings a certain magic and motivation to push us towards achieving our goals.

The new year holds the same magic as a new dress or a new notebook. It’s a new beginning, a fresh start, that makes the process of creating and following through our resolutions worthwhile. We experience a sense of rebirth, our slates wiped clean, that nothing else mattered before your first breath. However, that same motivation brought about by the new year fades as quickly as it arrives.

Out of the multitude of resolutions I’ve made in my life, may they be made during the New Year or not, only a handful of them were followed through. With some evaluation, I realized my mistakes:

  • I was too ambitious with my resolutions, with no plan to back them up.
  • I decided to change many things at once, which overwhelmed me when classes began.
  • I lost my focus and interest along the way, ultimately leading to me giving up.
  • I wanted this year to be different, mainly because I was getting tired of making the same resolutions every year just to end up without any improvements in my life. So, before I dived right into tackling my resolutions for this year, I had to make a game plan I can follow through. It’s only been a week since I started, but so far, I feel pretty good about myself. My current strategy for seeing this year’s resolutions through might not be as bulletproof as I think of it right now, so what might work right now can be improved on as we get through the year.

    1. Make it as specific as possible.

    How many times did we tell ourselves that we’ll live a healthier lifestyle, or save more money, or be more productive? The thing with general goals such as these is that while they are good intentions and something to aim for, they’re too abstract to follow through, especially on stressful busy days. As Kalyn Nicholson mentioned in her 2018 Resolutions and Goals video, she gets over this by writing her general resolutions for the year and the subsequent steps she should make to achieve her goals. Which makes a lot of sense, since it gives you a sense of direction to follow and hold on to no matter what the day brings.

    2. Start small.

    I’ve always told myself that I wanted to write a novel with absolutely no experience in writing short stories. While some people can put in the dedication for daunting tasks such as a novel, not everyone is as lucky. And this is what Thomas Frank tackled in his video on setting and achieving your goals. There’s no shame in taking baby steps to achieve our goals. Aim too high and the chances of failing are also as high, so start small. What’s more important is that you weave your goals into a habit you’ll stick to for the rest of the year.

    3. Develop habits one at a time.

    Like what I’ve said, the new year brings about an energy that makes us feel that we can conquer anything thrown at us. However, once the magic wanes off and real life kicks back in, we generally tend to lose track of all our plans. That’s how life works– sometimes, it just gets in the way. Fabulous is a habit-tracker app I found while browsing through the Google Play Store which features motivational letters to its users while keeping track of the habits we want to form. And one of the important things I’ve learned from using the app is how important how the habits we want to form be cemented, like second nature, before we add on new habits, or else we might as well give up along the way. They say that it takes 21 days to make a habit, and this app is backed up by behavioral economics, so there’s probably some truth in this.

    4. Hold yourself accountable.

    There are times when you’ve been so busy that you realized you forgot to do something as part of your goals. Maybe you forgot to take that 10-minute walk or read for 30 minutes, and you just broke your streak. “Nevermind, I’ll do it tomorrow.” Well, one tomorrow becomes two, three, four– and before you know it, you’ve managed not to follow your resolutions for a month and you’ve lost the will to follow it through. It’s crucial to hold yourself accountable, whether that means downloading a habit tracker or manually tracking your habits in your planners or journals or even have your friend check up on you. No matter how you decide to do it, having a physical reminder of your progress pushes you to keep going, until it becomes second nature. So, no to cheat days!

    I currently am still following my resolutions thanks to these guidelines. And yes, there have been days where I didn’t get to do the habits I wanted to form. But that’s okay. Being kind to ourselves is also as important as pushing ourselves towards our goals. So if I ended up sitting for the most of my day, or if I didn’t get to study my lessons for the day, there’s always tomorrow. When this happens, give yourselves a break, but promise yourself you’ll start again tomorrow.

    What resolutions do you have for 2018?

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