Being Strategic with Your New Year’s Resolutions

If you are someone who believes in self-improvement or loves trying out new things, you’ve probably set yourself a neat list of resolutions before the clock struck midnight on December 31st. However, the journey definitely did not end there. The ultimate question is actually: will you have them realized by the time the same chimes ring in 366 days? (Don’t forget your extra day on Feb 29th!) One way to do this is by understanding what you’ve set logically, just like you would in your daily activities at university.

Ask Yourself: Why Do I Want to Achieve This?

The objective is to understand the purpose of your goal, and to build a logical reasoning and/or an emotional bond between the current You, and this You that you would like to become.

Having this conversation with yourself will also help you filter the meaningful goals from the run-of-the-mill ones, normally set for the sake of having a list of goals. Hopefully, these purpose-filled goals will resonate bigger meanings and create impactful changes to your life.

Some good questions to ask are: What are the benefits that I can get from achieving this? How will this change the way I see myself? How will this impact those around me? How will this drive me to do more in the future?

This then becomes the foundation of the building; the driving force that will keep you stay on track throughout the year.

Breakdown Your Resolution to Smaller, Do-able Tasks

Important and life-changing goals, which are initially set to create a considerable impact to our lives, sometimes are either worded so vaguely or set so loosely that we often forget about their main purpose two or three months down the line. One way to avoid this is by setting small actionable tasks, which can be ticked complete after they have been accomplished.

For example, if the goal is so grandly vague (but super impactful) like “To become a more open-minded individual”, break things down into tasks such as: listen more to people’s stories by asking questions and actually listening, read two books per month on the fields of philosophy/sociology/anthropology, listen to/watch at least a TED talk per week, and so on.

Build a Reward System

A reward system is useful in order to set things into a rhythm; it integrates your goals and aspirations into your daily routine by emphasizing the short-term benefits that you can gain from achieving even the tiniest successes. Before you know it, you are used to having the tasks as part of your schedule, and they become almost like natural things to do. 

Rewards can of course be something tangible, for example a nice meal out with friends for completing a major coursework, or a relaxing home spa session for sticking to your gym list for the week. However, according to celebrated motivational thinkers such as Abraham Maslow and Frederick Herzberg, some of the most resonating rewards are intangible – it is the realization that what you’ve just accomplished is meaningful to yourself, your community and your future. Unlock this skill by reflecting on and celebrating your victories.

“The powerful motivator in our lives isn’t money; it’s the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others, and be recognized for achievements.” – Frederick Herzberg.

Create Visual Reminders

Sometimes even the most positive goals get forgotten. You might live an extremely busy life, newer priorities might appear a few months down the line, or some unpredictable events might take place one day in the future. However, there are ways of making sure that unlike the previous years; you will achieve your resolutions this time.

Just like a powerpoint presentation – relevant and beautifully-designed graphics help make things more engaging. Visual reminders can be as simple as a handwritten motivational postcard stuck on the corkboard of your room or a picture on your phone lock screen. The purpose is to remind ourselves that yes, this is a promise that I have made to myself and no, I have not forgotten about it.

Next up, we will look into different ways of sticking to our resolutions. Tune in for the next blogpost release! 



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