COMMENTARY: Guide to Better and Successful New Year’s Resolution

PIKIT, North Cotabato (MindaNews / 30 Dec) — Again, for the Nth time, new year’s resolution, anyone?

This is one tradition that never dies. And Christmas may only be for a third of the world’s population (I am guessing), but New Year’s day celebration is certainly engaged by more people around the globe than Christmas celebration (I am not guessing here).

We have yet to hear or read about a study that says how many percent of people have actually stood firm to their new year’s resolution. Some may have even cared less about what happened afterwards while a few serious ones celebrate victories over resolutions fulfilled or done and a few more may have remembered unfulfilled resolutions or left undone. But how many resolutions may have been made under drunken faces and how many of these have been completely forgotten the next day? Don’t you think it’s time to ponder on why some have successful resolutions and others have failed, and worst, others have been completely forgotten?

Well, let’s try to have a look at this as best as we can and make some few helpful recommendations. Here we go:

  1. First thing, you should treat your resolution as “goal” that must be achieved within the time you have set for yourself – which should be not more than one year. Next year is another time for another set of resolutions. So I will be using ‘goal’ hereinafter instead of resolution. Goal connotes a desired condition in the future that is to be achieved rather than just resolution to be resolved.
  1. People tend to approach New Year’s resolutions from a position of deprivation, restriction and punishment. For example, we always imagine staying fit as having to eat less. If we want to feel healthier, maybe we’ll start moving our body in ways that feel good to us and paying attention to what and how foods and exercise make us feel energized, healthy and strong. This way, we aren’t in deprivation and discipline mode, but our energy and action can align with our intention in a positive and supportive way. Remember that your goals shouldn’t be trying and uncomfortable, but exactly the way you want your life to go better.
  1. Write your goals as draft and select from among them, if not all of them, using the following guide questions: a) Is it achievable or doable within the year for which it was intended to be made? Otherwise, you just make a good collection of them after several years. b) Is it beneficial to me and to people I love? You don’t simply say, “I will reduce from three packs of cigarettes a day to one pack”. You should quit and try hard if that is what you want. That is not difficult at all if you consider you can die prematurely with smoking unless you are a hard-headed spoiled brat. c) Ask yourself, “Why do you want what you want?” Again, if your answer includes a “should” or a “have to,” scrap that resolution. When we have an intention that is a deep desire and we can identify and stay connected to that WHY, it makes for meaningful and achievable goals that create happiness in our lives and the lives of those around us.
  1. Next best thing you have to do is list them down especially if there are several of them, or even if it’s just one. And the best place to write them down is none anywhere better than the new calendar you got from the grocery store while doing your Christmas shopping. Select the calendar which has all 12 months in one page, for obvious reason, and write your new year’s resolution/s at the back thereof. Be sure to hang the calendar in a place you see as often as possible; say on the inside part of the door. This will always remind you that something at the back thereof was written.
  1. Check the ones that were fulfilled or done and focus on the few ones left. Before I forget, list them down from the most beneficial to the least and try to engage them one by one in that order; that is, if it is not possible to address them all at the same time.
  1. Don’t try to engage the negative thoughts you have with respect to achieving each goal. If you rather find one goal too difficult to achieve within the year, then it may be good to drop it rather than waste your time at it. Remember that negative thoughts on one can affect the other relatively easier goals.
  1. Engage the positive thoughts in each goal that you have to make. Positive change comes not from pushing through with so much determination and perseverance, but rather through getting out of your own way. This means clearing up any negative thought patterns we carry about ourselves – which is really our capacity for change.
  1. The strongest and most relevant goals are those that have something to do with your health, happiness, and values especially when they are stated in a way that includes the underlying reason on why you have to fulfill that goal. For example, you may state it this way: “To participate in enjoyable physical activities three times weekly in order to feel strong, boost my mood and improve my overall sense of health and wellbeing.” This way, you know outright the primary reason on why you have to make such a goal and achieve it as soon as possible.
  1. And finally, don’t forget at least one of your goals has something to do with your Faith and God (certainly not for the atheists). For those who believe in the Biblical (also Quranic) provision: “From Him we come, to Him shall we return”, we all would like to be in the best form and spirit (pure and blissful) when we meet Him.

New Year’s goals get a bad rap mostly because we set restrictive resolutions that don’t honor our values, our well being as well as our Faith. We set resolutions, and more often hastily, because they were made minutes before the ball drops, without considering what we truly want and what really makes us happy and secured both physically and spiritually.

For the year 2017, let the above tips help you create nourishing, positive and lasting harmonious goals. I am sure your goal this time will be a lot better, more doable, and therefore, more achievable. Good luck. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Dr. Maugan P. Mosaid is Municipal Administrator of LGU Pikit, N. Cotabato. He is also President of the Association of Bangsamoro Doctors in the Philippines and Pikiteños International, Inc.).