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How to Stick to New Year Resolutions

The new year marks the time for some major changes. Lots of us look forward to becoming better versions of ourselves. While it is great to create resolutions going into the new year, we are creatures of habit, often finding it hard to break away from old routines. The result: quite often we put our resolutions on the back burner. In fact, research shows that two-thirds of people stop following through their resolutions just a month into the new year. That’s why we have gathered a few tips on how to help you stick to your goals this new year.

Inspect Your Resolutions

Jen A. Miller in The New York Times Smarter Living column suggests that resolutions may be what other people expect of you, hazily defined, or lacking a plan. Hence, the author recommends making SMART resolutions. Those are specific, such as, “I am going to lose ten pounds in two months”; measurable, so you can keep track of them concretely; achievable, like planning to save a few hundred dollars instead of a million bucks; relevant, which is understood as being important for your health, well-being, or career; and lastly time-bound, signifying that you have a set end date in mind. 

Plan Ahead

It isn’t enough to state your SMART resolutions. Come up with plans to follow through. For instance, if you want to include more nutritious foods in your diet, you can create a list and write down the health-boosting foods you wish to try and buy your groceries accordingly.

Perhaps, your goal is to reduce your social media use. Cutting down time spent on social media time is easier said than done. Try putting you phone in Do Not Disturb or using an app blocks social media usage. Think of other activities to fill in the extra free hours. How about going for walks, calling a friend, or going back to an old-school hobby like reading, painting, or writing?

Keep At It

Remember to stay the course despite setbacks and temporary failures. Author of Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg gives the example of someone quitting smoking, which according to him is a behavioural pattern in response to a “cue” through the adoption of a “routine” act that is believed to carry “rewards”. In the case of smoking, the cue is the environment or mental factors such as feeling stressed; the routine response is smoking to gain the reward of feeling less stressed. 

The solution is to find alternative responses to everyday cues. Yoga or meditation are popular habits people adopt but keep looking until you find what works for you. Also remember: any new activity does not need to be performed according to strict schedules that will make it hard for you to follow through. Be flexible — if you can’t go to the gym every evening, go when you can. 

Have A Support System

Having a supportive community around you is essential for growth. There is nothing like the combined power of individuals wishing to accomplish shared aspirations. Other people can hold you accountable, ask about your progress, share their insights, and offer recommendations. Just having someone to talk to can be a major advantage. 

Arslan Ahmed | Staff Writer

Spring 2024

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