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The Science of New Year Resolution

Soon after becoming Roman Ruler, Julius Caesar decided that the traditional Roman calendar was in dire need of reform. Hence, in 45 B.C., New Year’s Day is celebrated on January 1 for the first time in history as the Julian calendar takes effect. He urged subjects to commit to personal improvement, resolutions have been synonymous with the turning of the year, and that put a beginning note to the tradition of having a New Year Resolution. It’s simple as that, New Year, New You!

But does it work that way for most of us?

Research has shown that about half of all adults make New Year’s resolutions. However, fewer than 10% manage to keep them for more than a few months.Resolutions usually come in the form of lifestyle changes and changing behavior that has become routine and habitual (even if they are not problematic) can be a difficult thing to stick on to. For me, it’s hard to stick on too, that I prefer not to take any resolutions on the very day or during the last week of the year before. I have been doing a self-reflection as well as web browsing on why this happens.

Behavioral scientists say, that people often tend to give up on their resolutions in a few weeks if targets are set too large and too vague. Which is - “I will exercise more”, “I will quit smoking the very next morning”. You know how it goes from there! A week or top a month, by the month of February, you might not even remember that you have put up a resolution to exercise more.When it comes to quitting addictions, you would keep on saying, tomorrow, maybe next day and so on.

I have realized, the hardest things about making a change can be sticking with it. Making a resolution that is too challenging and unrealistic. 

And the best approach to deal with this is, setting small, achievable goals. SMALL ACHIEVABLE GOALS!

For example:

  • Co-relate exercise to any sport. Set a target, say, being able to compete in 3K race and then a 5K marathon.

  • Waking up 10 minutes earlier every week, and then slowly making it to 1 hour earlier.

  • Quitting smoking in stages.

  • Eating healthier and keeping a note on what you eat every day. Quitting Junk and Shifting to home made meals, then shifting to be a pescatarian, and then to vegetarian or vegan.Saving small amounts every day, having piggy banks and relying on splitting the amount you wish to save for your holidays or any emergencies, to save up week by week for your goals.

Anything and everything can be achieved if it is split into ACHIEVABLE SMALL GOALS!

Remember SMALL ACHIEVABLE GOALS are the key to successful goal setting.

Also, the other noticeable things I’ve found about setting goals are:

1.      Don’t expect lasting change for at least three months 

In 2009, University College London (UCL) discovered that it takes an average of 66 days for the average person to form a new habit. It means if you make a New Year's resolution to exercise or eat healthily and do it daily it will not stick until March 7. 

2.      Curb the Binge Watching

To me the main villain to the disruption of goals is Netflix. I found myself to be more productive in the evenings when I have no Netflix, because payment is not updated. Now I take breaks for a week around, every month from Netflix. Anything in moderation is good, Taking breaks from binge-watching; setting a limit on the number of episodes helps a lot to check on other productive entertainments. Also, Instagram, Facebook and all other Social Media Platforms features "Infinite Scrolling". Set a limit on your scrolling, and internet surfing as well, then you will find ample productive time to chase your interests.

3.      Sleep

Getting right amount of sleeps (7 to 9 hours a day) will do wonders. Being a mom to a toddler, this is a luxury I cannot afford. So, I resort to quality sleeping. Keeping devices in silent and away at least an hour before, then meditating, reading books helps this out for me.

4.      Don’t limit goal-setting to New Year

Goal setting can start tomorrow or any time of the year. Important thing is to start at the exact time you have set your goal rather than keeping it to the next day and dragging all through your calendar. Set small milestones and achieve step by step.

5.      Plan, execute it and Bribe yourself!

Having a specific plan works, because it give you more clarity to all your tiny milestones. Persistence is important for your plan’s perfect execution. Monitoring your progress and bribing yourself or rewarding yourself keeps you on track! Financial incentives are a great way to bribe yourself to save/ move money away to achieve your goal. Whenever a goal is achieved, use social media to showcase your achievement. Instead of sticking to your routine exercise at gym, shifting to a fun activity such as rock climbing or stroll in park can be a reward to yourself to keep your motivational levels high. Be Creative on how you convince yourself to stick to the plan. It will do Wonders!

Have a prosperous New Year Everyone. I’m Looking forward to have a Blast!


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