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How to solve the problem that is New Year resolutions

Published by Nigerian Compass on Wed, 04 Jan 2012


For as long as I can remember now, I have been inflicted by the same old dilemma: succumbing to the expectations of society by making a list of New Year resolutions, then feeling ridden with guilt after breaking around half of them just three hours into the first day of January.Nevertheless, now that 2012 is upon us, I have decided that I no longer want to fall victim to this cruel and spiteful offence.For those of you who would like a little base knowledge; New Year resolutions can be traced back all the way to the Babylonian empire where they used the concept to return something they had borrowed over the last year. Fast forward several hundreds of years later and this simple little pleasantry has transformed into an instrument of torture, bringing shame and ridicule unto all those who just couldn't lay off the pies or manage to go jogging every day. What's my problem with resolutions' I think it has to do with the hype they produce. Nothing can be more of an anti-climax than pumping yourself up to believe that as soon as the new year approaches, you are going to be transformed into a whole new person, only to be deflated when the clock strikes midnight and you realise that you are exactly the same. Old habits die hard and unlike the New Year, they can't just suddenly change. Unfortunately, this is something the majority of us seem to forget amidst all the excitement this season induces us with. I have lost track of the amount of enthusiastic Facebook updates and tweets I have seen along the lines of 'this is my era to shine' or 'watch out for me this year', all from the same people who then disappear into an abyss of silence until the following January, where they proceed to fill my internet space with yet more empty promises. Before you think that 2012 has turned me into a grouchy pessimist, there is light at the end of this article. I still believe New Year resolutions are achievable but only if they are done properly. When I say properly, I do not mean making half hearted proclamations over social networks which you had no intentions of keeping in the first place. Luckily for you readers, I have come up with four ways for trying to ensure this does not happen: Way no 1: Be realistic. Let's be perfectly honest. Unless your name is Bruce Lee, you probably will not be karate chopping your way through a thousand blocks of wood every morning as a form of exercise. In my experience of disastrous New Year resolutions, my downfall has always been trying to bite off more than I can chew. There is no point in setting yourself an impossible task as you will only beat yourself up when the inevitable happens and you are not able to meet your goal. For instance, if you are a caffeine addict who can't live without three cups of coffee a day, then it may not be the best idea to try and go cold turkey for one whole year. Instead, set yourself achievable targets i.e.cutting down to one coffee a day instead. You can make bigger goals once you reach your initial ones. Way no 2: Don't make resolutions you do not want to keep. This may sound like a mundane thing to say but you will be surprised how easy it is to make this mistake. One of my friends made the point that if there was something about themselves which they really wanted to amend, they wouldn't wait until the start of a new year to do it. Whilst many would argue that a new year brings the perfect opportunity for change, if the first time you ever think of taking up rock climbing is when you are compiling your list of resolutions, then it's probably fair to say it wasn't really your highest priority in life. It's better to work on things with greater importance to you. That way, you will have a higher resolve to keep the resolutions. Way no 3: Don't be a loud mouth. Nobody likes a show off, especially one that has nothing to show off about. As I mentioned previously, the worst thing you can do is boast prematurely about how amazing your plans for the New Year are going when you have nothing to fall back on. As cheesy as this clich is; to talk the talk, you need to be able to walk the walk. Not crawling, not tiny baby steps, but actual walking. So if your New Year resolution is to bake the world's biggest cake, then it may be a wise idea to check you have a big enough baking tray before you update you status on Facebook. Way No 4: Set deadlines How many times have you written 'by the end of this year, I want to have (insert personalised resolution)'' Come late October however, you still have not made an attempt to make this goal happen. That's fine though, after all; you still have two more months before the year ends right' Wrong. The fact is, if you don't put a date on what you want to achieve, then you may never get round to doing it. By having fixed deadlines, it allows you to plan how you will get it done in the time frame that you have. It will also mean that on the 31st of December, you are not spending your day doing sit ups, trying in vain to lose the five pounds you told yourself you were going to shift 365 days ago. So there you have it, four ways to try and avoid feeling like a let down when it comes to New Year resolutions. Now all that's left to do is to wait patiently for twelve months to see if they actually work!
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