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Have you been doing your New Year resolutions all wrong?

 How to achieve your New Year resolutions in 2023 (Photo: iStock)

The start of a new year signals an opportunity to create a clean slate- break bad habits, set new goals and do things better than the previous years. We tell ourselves that we will drink less, party less, save more, make leaps in our careers, and be better parents or spouses or something of the sort.

We write them down with optimum optimism that we will follow through, and that the following year will end with a broad smile from many successes.

So, the new year starts, and like a race, we set the pace, and we run enthusiastically and energetically. And January ends with rays of hope shining on us like the midday sun. February comes when we’re probably keeping the same pace or perhaps we have started slowing down, steadily losing momentum.  

In reality, very few people can account for their resolutions by the end of July. Perhaps they stopped, gave up, or ran in the opposite direction where their old habits were eagerly waiting.

So why are new year’s resolutions so hard to keep? One recent survey showed that only about 8% of people actually stick to their new year’s resolutions by the end of the year.

Ironically, willpower isn’t necessarily to blame, in reality, you could be setting resolutions that are vague, unrealistic or heavily influenced by what others expect from you. And when you don’t keep them, you feel guilty, disappointed and even self-loathing.

Well, that is not the green light to quit making resolutions, honestly, they can be great catalysts for change. So how shall you set up yourself for success in the year 2023?

First, focus on making small positive changes that will improve your mental health and cultivate positivity. Trust me, no grand overtures are needed to be happy, whatever you need is already there with you, just look a little bit closer. Life is much better with contentment. It should always be at the top of your list.

Sticking to yearly goals is not that hard, all you need is a game plan, and you must have a definitive plan on how to follow through. That means breaking it into chunks and identifying specific actions you need to make change happen. You must also block out the time in your schedule.

Think in tandem, take two goals that you can achieve simultaneously and follow through. Ensure that the duo goals actually complement each other. The traditional work-life balance falls here. Then track your progress and celebrate small wins. That helps you to stay motivated and ups your chances for success.

Harnessing the power of habits is the most effective way of making lasting change. Once you reward yourself for good behaviour, the brain cements the habit. So, do something nice for yourself next time you get promoted or hit your target!

Whatever happens, do not beat yourself up whenever you fail at something, take it as a lesson, learn from it and do better next time!  

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