Happy New Year, guys! Hope all of you had a fantastic holiday break over the holidays. I have a feeling that most of you are still on holiday! But for those of you like myself and my team who are already back to the game, I wish you all a fantastic start to the new decade and a prosperous year ahead.
Going through Christmas and New Year is like a roller coaster ride. This heightened sense of excitement and ecstasy building up to Christmas only lasts for one day and next minute we are at the rock bottom of the aftermath – the Boxing Day sale.
After a fun-filled but chaotic holiday season, the majority of us would enter a phrase which I would normally call it a holiday blues period. This emotional stage often occurs because we either enjoyed our holiday so much that it became a way for us to escape from reality or our holidays fall short of expectations. Both will generally make us feel depressed, stressed and anxious when the holiday is over which can have a compromising effect on our health and immunity.
We often put ourselves in such a state of mind during January that sets the wrong pace for the rest of the year. As a result, what do we do? We often resort to setting a New Year’s resolution for the all the wrong reasons – to make us feel better about ourselves, making an effort to improve things, and most importantly to spark our joy back because, at the end of the day, our minds are designed to be stimulated by change.
One thing I’ve noticed about New Year resolutions is that it is comparable to driving over the speed limit on the motorway. We tend to slow down when we see the cop car sneakily parked at the side and you start driving with two hands on the steering wheel and within the speed limit for about 2 minutes. Then you go back to being like a rage racer – that’s how people are living their lives and that’s how people are setting their New Year goals. The goals are always set but never followed through.
Based on years of setting myself New Year’s goals and failing to achieve them, I’ve come to realise the five things you need to do to make sure your new year resolution for 2020 is an attainable one.
To set yourself up for success, you need to choose your goals wisely. Many people often have goals like – I want to be healthy; I want to be able to live life on my terms, I want to lose weight etc. No wonder they cannot achieve them because first of all, they are too vague and secondly the majority of the goals are based on what we think others expect of us.
Also, I think many of us though we are setting our goals, in fact, we are just drawing a final picture of what our life should look like instead. Setting New Year goals is different from setting a life goal. New Year goals are designed to bring us one step closer to our ultimate dream. That’s why the key is to be very specific with what you want to achieve this year and set ones that are more realistic and that we deeply care about. What I mean by specific is instead of saying – I want 2020 be a healthier one. Say something like – I want to drop my waist circumference to less than 35 inches, I want to drop my blood pressure to less than 125/80 or I want to be able to do 50 burpees consecutively – you get the story. But at the same time, keep it real because you probably aren’t going to go to the gym seven days a week for the next 52 weeks, right?
The second key is to make yourself committed to your goals. The reason why many of us cannot follow through our goals is that we tend to slip back to our old habits because we depend too much on will power to maintain our progress. Two exercises that I think everyone should do to increase your chance of reaching your goals and serve you well in keeping you on track are to understanding “WHY” you want the change to happen and also spending some time to structure your lives in ways that will support your new behaviours. And trust me, both go hand in hand and you cannot accomplish your goals with only one of them.
For instance, if your New Year resolution was to quit smoking because you got a “wake-up” call recently from a close friend of yours who’ve just been diagnosed with lung cancer – you think that should be enough to sustain your goal right? Think again. Because quite frankly, most of the time, raw inspiration will only get you to the starting line, but it won’t carry you to the finish line. Real commitment comes from understanding that you don’t want to end up like your friend so that you can have more time to enjoy with your family and grandchildren and also structuring your life in a way that makes it easier for you to make the right decision, for instance avoiding going down to the pub because it is usually where you will have a packet or two or joining a local quit smoking class so your instructor and your fellow quitters will be expecting you.
Thirdly, we must practice the art of patience. I think patience is underrated these days. We are living in a society where everything mush happens at the instance. When we want food- we call Uber Eats. When we want an answer to a question – we ask Alexa (Google’s version of Siri). Everything we want, we want it now and fast. When it comes to achieving our New Year resolution, it’s the same. We somehow expect ourselves to have the ability to achieve greatness overnight.
Take losing weight as an example – people don’t realise that it is a lonely journey. Waking up 5:30 am to go to the gym is not easy, preparing your meals and eating the same kind of food every single day in boring, watching all your mates going out for drinks and barbeque is disturbing. What’s worse is that when you start seeing some results, your body’s metabolism decided to hibernate and you won’t be seeing any results despite doing a cardio workout for 60 minutes a day. The society has subconsciously forced his mentality down our throat whether we like it or not. This lack of patience is what killing our goals slowly and it is the reason why we always fall short.
Fourthly, we must think like and see ourselves as the person who does what we want to be doing. What I mean by this is not asking you to try to be something that you are not, but rather think and act like the person with the characteristic that you thrive on having. If you want to improve your fitness and health, then you must first think and act like you already have great health and fitness. At the end of the day, like attracts like and damaged always manages to find the damaged.
Lastly but not the least, be mindful and show empathy to others is the final piece of the puzzle to a lasting change. Some of you might say – how is that going to help me in achieving my New Year goals? Helping people and showing care to others will help to tune your mindset and get you into the right perspective with life. Getting the right perspective will help you get things into context. When you have things into context, you’ll realise how lucky you are. Sequentially, gratitude all of a sudden becomes your fuel and the way you see the world become very different. You will start to set and achieve meaningful goals rather than goals which you don’t know why you set them in the first place.
Since all of you are like dear friends to me, I wanted to give you all one last thought to kick start your amazing year.
I believe we all need to find that one thing that makes us happy in 2020. Everybody is the happiest when they get to do what they wanted to do. So, if you going to live in 2020, then might as well play in 2020.
To your best year yet.