Saying no to resolutions

Published On: December 29, 2017 08:00 AM NPT By: Aditi Sharma

Top three resolutions we make every year but really shouldn’t bother.

Research shows that most resolutions go down the drain within the first month or two after January 1. Staying on track is tough and quite challenging for even the most disciplined people. And I’m definitely not the disciplined kind so you can just imagine what happens to my New Year’s resolutions. But that doesn’t stop me from making them every single year, year after year. But this year, while I already have a list of resolutions ready, all written down neatly on a sheet of light blue A4 sized paper, there are a few resolutions I have made a resolution of not including in my resolution list.

Resolution #1
I will wake up early and start my day right.
This is one resolution that is doomed to fail from the start. I have made and remade this particular resolution every year for at least the past five years and it’s never happened. The problem with this resolution besides that fact that it’s too ambitious – all resolutions are – is that it’s too vague. 

What’s early and what’s right? How do you define these two factors? For the first few days of the New Year, I go to bed early and then wake up by 6:30 am. Then, I wake up at 7:00 am a few days later and from then on I’m back to waking up at erratic times depending on when I go to bed, which sometimes is as late as 3:00 am in the morning. 

I’ve come to realize that going to bed by 10 or 11 at night and waking up early just doesn’t agree with my system and also my social life. If on a certain week, I’m feeling very proud of myself for having stuck to a routine then wham comes in an impromptu meeting with friends that ends way past midnight even on a weekday. And the season of weddings make it even worse. 

The only way to even get remotely close to achieving this goal is to not set a fixed time to go to bed and wake up but to make it a point to get at least eight hours of sleep. This will ensure that you wake up rested and when you do so your day will automatically start on a good note. This works specially well if you are a night owl. 

I also don’t quite understand who made the rule that you have to wake up before dawn or go to bed at a certain hour. Some people function better at night when things settle down and there’s nothing to disturb and distract them. I’m one of those people. But the funny thing is it’s usually the night owls who make this resolution every New Year. 

Resolution #2
I will exercise and lose weight. 
Making a New Year’s resolution comes with that renewed sense of turning a new leaf, or your life getting a new beginning of sorts. All of us seem to think that we’re imperfect and want to improve ourselves. And a lot of how we see ourselves stems from how we view our bodies. Almost everybody I know makes this New Year resolution, but nobody really keeps it.

Why do we think something special will happen between December 31st and January 1st when nothing happens between April 4th and April 5th, or say October 25th and October 26th? Why make a fitness resolution only once a year? Why not do it every 15 days or whenever you need to? That way you are more likely to review your goals and keep changing it according to what you want to achieve. 

Fitness has to be a part of your lifestyle and not limited to some resolutions. You just can’t expect to wake up bright and early on January 1 and suddenly cultivate a passion for exercise and fitness. This I learnt the hard way, when my own goals to attain a fit body went down the drain many, many times. 

Year after year, getting in shape is one of the most popular resolutions people make. Instead of focusing on everything at once like how many calories you burn in a single gym session, how much you can lift, how many times you exercise in a week and so on, try focusing on a specific goal, like walking to work every day or doing a 30-minute exercise as soon as you wake up. 

It’s also a better idea to pursue good health and nutrition without focusing on weight loss. I started my fitness journey, in the middle of the year mind you, by telling myself three things: I’m going to exercise, I’m going to stretch, and I’m going to get stronger so that I can live longer. These are all simple little thing. I had broken down my goal into tiny achievable bits, and doing them ultimately led to weight loss.

Resolution #3
I will quit smoking and drinking, or I will quit smoking and drink only socially or once a week. 
I have a friend who quit smoking twice last year, first on January 1, and then on April 14, which was the New Year according to the Nepali calendar. He is again quitting in a few days’ time (New Year, remember?) but keeps telling me that he knows he will be hiding cigarette butts from his wife in no time again. 

It doesn’t matter if you are smoking two or 20 cigarettes on December 31, you will not be able to quit unless you really, really want to and are realistic about the goals you set. I’m not trying to discourage anyone from drinking less or quitting the potentially life threatening habit of smoking but there’s no way to do it unless it become a lifestyle choice over time. 

It’s just not something you can get up and do right away. You can’t remodel your life overnight. Wanting something and working towards getting it are two fundamentally different things. You want to quit smoking and drinking but you aren’t ready to put in the required commitment and effort. Now, nothing in life comes that easily. If only we all understood that a little better.

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