Fitness centers the world over post record numbers of new members at the beginning of every year – typically in the first week of January. This shows that a lot of people begin the new year with a resolution about what to start doing and what to stop doing. What is surprising is that by the last month of the first quarter, less than 50% of the people who started out at the fitness center at the beginning of the first quarter of the year, hardly pay it any visit or do so with the same passion and enthusiasm as they start out.
If most people are unable to follow through with what they have resolved to do at the beginning of the year or quarter, then the question is: are new year resolutions any good? In my opinion, they seem pretty good to have. Just as the Greek Philosopher – Socrates said, “an unexamined life is not worth living”, new year resolutions at the very least gives us an opportunity to take stock of our lives and perhaps resolve to chart a new path in the new year. More so, self-examination is beneficial as it improves our self-awareness.
Without sounding scientific, my observation is that resolving to carry out activities or modifying behaviors that you have a lot of control over, can improve your chances of following through. Secondly, they do not have to be sophisticated or complex activities or behaviors. Simple examples include resolving to drink more water, spending more time with family, taking the family out for a nice meal at least once a quarter, being more patient with yourself and with other people, forgiving easily and perhaps reading more books every quarter. Others can be as little as resolving to bring your best self – body, mind and spirit to work or as complex as learning a new skill or language.
I have also found that telling a trusted partner, friend or acquaintance about your new year resolution helps to create a system of accountability and support to achieving your goal; because you are better off able to follow through with a friend or partner holding you accountable to what you have resolved to do for yourself. The key is to focus on activities and behaviors that help you to improve as a person, as well as activities or behaviors that keep you happier and improve your state of mind. Who says resolutions must only happen at the beginning of a new year? It does not have to be at the beginning of the year and so do not feel pressured to do so in January. Feel free to start anytime as the key is not in making the resolutions but in following through and being a better person as a result.
New year resolutions are needed but are highly dependent on your effort and discipline to make them count for something. If you are new to making new year resolutions, start with the smallest of activities, find an accountability partner and make it happen. Do not feel pressured to make the resolutions at the beginning of the year. Take your time and go at your pace because it is all about you.