Making new year’s resolutions dates some millenniums back to ancient Romans who offered promises to their two-faced god of beginnings and endings, Janus, vowing to conduct themselves better as they enter a new year. This same deity was also every ancient Roman citizen’s scapegoat whenever they couldn’t follow through their commitments. “It was Janus’ will” was their ready excuse.
And it seems the years have brought in little change. Yes, we are still fond of making new year’s resolutions. But like our ancestors, we’re most likely to break them by the middle of the year. As what a study showed, out of the 40-45% of Americans who make new year’s resolutions, less than half of them – roughly 18% if calculated – follow through their lists by the end of the year.
You don’t exist in a vacuum. The contexts you live in and the people who surround you naturally impact your ability to sustain growth. — Shameela Keshavjee, MS, LMFT-S
But don’t dismiss making new year’s resolutions as cliche just yet!
According to experts, the two most common reasons why following our lists of good deeds for the new year don’t turn out well are.
- They are not precise. [We say “My new year’s resolution is to lose weight.” But how much weight are you aiming to lose?]
- They’re boring to do and involve a lot of self-restraint to follow through. [Like quitting smoking.]
So, if we steer clear away from these two when we’re putting our lists together, there’s always hope we’re going to succeed in keeping them until 2018 ends.
In this note, why not make new year’s resolutions that are creatively positive instead of the usual “Don’t do this . . .” “Won’t do that . . . ” brouhahas?
Below are 5 self-improvement new year’s resolutions that I believe you can carry on until the end of the coming year.
- I will stop procrastinating and finish the things I need to do today TODAY.
Procrastination – in one way or another – is everybody’s problem. .EVERY SINGLE DAY. There will always be that one [or more!] task we loathe doing and will end up “saving for later.” But at the end of the day, we’ll come to realize we later are all used up, and the job we put off remains undone. So, we tell ourselves we’ll do it the next day and the cycle go on and on.
Some thoughts are distorted and can’t be trusted. Sometimes by labeling these thoughts as the cognitive distortions they are, you can take away their power. — Vicki Botnick, MA, MS, LMFT
How do we overcome our delaying habits?
– Keep a to-do list with your tasks along with realistically set deadlines for each. Then, stick to it before moving on to another list of things to do. Tackle those that are the most urgent jobs first.
– After your most pressing tasks for the day are done, take on the stuff on your list that you hate to do and complete them as they are most likely the items you keep putting off.
– Don’t be distracted by your gadgets. Turn them off if you don’t need to use them.
– Most of all, it’s best if you partner with someone – an office mate, perhaps, when you’ve observed your delaying habits are affecting your work – which is very productive. This way, you’ll be pumped out to get on with your duties and learn techniques from them to manage your time wisely.
If you fear your delaying habits are wreaking havoc over the various areas of your life, it is best if you get professional help. Counseling can help manage, curb and, if possible, cure you of being a chronic procrastinator.
2. I will act on my forgiveness.
Don’t you know that holding on to a grudge can make you psychologically and physically ill? Dr. Michael Linden, A German psychiatrist, gave this health disorder the name Posttraumatic Embitterment Disorder [PTED]. Accordingly, this sickness is triggered by memories of a trauma paired with the continuing anger over it. People with PTSD go through depression and suffer from sleeplessness, loss of appetite and physical pain. Eventually, these will all lead to paralysis.
Yes, forgiving someone who wronged you and caused you pain [in one way or another] can be very difficult. But you have to remember that when you let your anger go, you’ll feel freer, happier and healthier.
So, don’t just say “I’m learning to forgive you.” Voice out “I forgive you,” instead.
3. I will tip those who serve me generously.
Instead of ranting out about how rude the waiter was at the restaurant you ate in and justifying the horrid service you got by leaving a small tip, be the first to put forward a good deed.
Statistically, the average yearly income of a server is about $18,330. On top of that, serving/waiting is one grueling job that requires standing and walking around most of the time. So, instead of nitpicking on your waiter/waitress’ kind of serving, think about the what-ifs he/she might be experiencing at that exact moment.
– Is he worried about not being able to pay his rent on time?
– Are her feet hurting from serving all day that’s why she’s kind of crappy?
Most importantly, leave a generous tip. You’ll never know. It could be you that’ll put back a smile on his/her tired face.
And while you’re on it, don’t leave out the pizza delivery guys, the valets, the bartenders. Well, you get my meaning.
Accepting our real strengths and resources and our real hurdles can give us a starting point for realistic change based on the facts of who we are in this moment, rather than based on the fantasy that if we just reject ourselves long and hard enough we will somehow become purified and perfected. — Maury Joseph, PsyD
4. I will make time to know my neighbors.
A 2010 study on the ways Americans get the know-how about community issues revealed a very alarming finding – that 29% of those polled only knew some of the names of their next-door neighbors and 28% didn’t know any close neighbors at all [as opposed to the 19% who knew all their neighbors and 24% who said they knew some of those closely living to them].
If you belong in the 29 or 28 percentage, I believe 2018 is your cue to go out of your crib and start knocking on the doors of your neighbors to get to know them. And bring something delicious so you wouldn’t look like a creep.
5. I will cut off my screen time.
Bestselling author Tom Rath has these words to say about TV watching in his book Eat Move Sleep:
“An Australian study of more than 12,000 adults estimated that every single hour spent watching television after the age of 25 decreased the viewer’s life expectancy by 22 minutes.”
Aside from this, the conclusions of countless studies done on the effects of spending long hours on screen time all tread on the same line – SPENDING HOURS INACTIVE WHILE SITTING IN FRONT OF YOUR TV SCREEN [OR ANY OTHER GADGET] IS DEADLY.
2018 is the time to break away from your TV/ screen time habits. Explore other areas of relaxation. For example, running early in the morning can be very refreshing. Why not try it?
I hope these five self-improvement new year’s resolutions will significantly help you in formulating your list.