Help ! My New Year resolutions tend to fall flat!

Question: I make a list of things I want to change during the New Year. But I often fail! Why is that so?

Answer: This can be due to a variety of reasons. Some of us mistakenly equate our wishes and desires with goals. Wishing to change is important but is in itself mostly insufficient to result changes in one’ set patterns/ habits. If I wish some change- it does not necessarily mean that I have set it as a goal to achieve. So, we need to check if we have turned our wish into a workable goal or not!

Also, new year is a time when enthusiasm and hopes run high and that may lead us into making a ‘list’ of many things we wish to change in ourselves/our lives; each of which may actually require significant focus and efforts to begin with. This could be another reason for disappointment later on.

Question: What can I do to make the changes in myself that I desire?

You may find the following basic suggestions to be of some use:

  1. Develop clarity as to the ‘why’. Articulate and perhaps write down ‘WHY’ ‘YOU’ wish to make that change. This will help you in owing up the goal you are setting for yourself. It would also help to return to this list of your own personal reasons, when you find your motivation to be going down.
  2. Visualize the ‘Changed you’ and also see yourself as making efforts to master the change. Imagining the change as ‘possible’ and thinking vividly about the potential positive consequence can energize your efforts.
  3. Clearly articulate a goal in as specific terms as possible. Start with a ‘SMALL’ change you intend to work upon in the short term. The trick is not get lured into planning a GRAND leap that is going to be difficult to implement. Make the initial phase of change as easy to implement as possible by wise planning of days, timings, cues and reminders etc.
  4. Reward yourself appropriately /pat your own back for making EFFORTS. Appreciate micro gains along the way. For most changes, it helps to GRADUALLY set slightly more difficult short term goals. Visualize the ‘changing self’ and rejoice in the process.