Now that we are a few weeks into the new year, we may be at the right time to make a quick evaluation on how we are doing in relation to those new year resolutions we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year – if we have set any, that is! It is a known fact, that the success rate of new year resolutions is rather bleak, yet many feel the need to set some, even when they know that they would have already forgotten about them by the time January is over.
So, what is it about not being able to stick to our new year resolutions? This seems rather odd given that we live in a society which is so goal-oriented. Or perhaps it is not odd at all, because this same society also tells us that Life is to Be Enjoyed because You Only Live Once. So how do we juggle these two, seemingly opposing, goals? Making resolutions entails making a sacrifice and curb our urges in the hope that we will reap some reward in the future. But living the moment, means no limits, no time constraints.
Yes, life is certainly to be enjoyed, but not wasted and perhaps the challenge lies in finding the right balance between making future goals while still enjoying the moment. But how are we going to stick to such goals, without getting discouraged in the process?
Learning to be more in touch with our emotions may be a key to reaching our goals. Here are some tips that can help:
- Watch your urges – every time you get an urge to skip that gym session, simply note it and become aware of it. You may wish to scribble a note about it on a piece of paper.
- Delay – rather than act on your urge, just pause. Create some space between your urge and your action
- Make a decision – once you have created that space, decide what you are going to do. You may still decide to skip that gym session, but if you do, know that you are doing so consciously, not simply because you are giving in to some whim. You may decide that right now, that is what your body needs. Make the decision compassionately not simply to gratify your urge.
- Learn over time – there is nothing wrong with giving in to our urges, we all do it. What is important is to note how you feel afterwards and to remind yourself of such feeling the next time you are in a similar situation.
- Enjoy the moment – whatever decision you make, don’t beat yourself up. Enjoy that extra hour relaxing in bed or else enjoy your invigorated gym workout.
It is certainly not easy to stick to our goals, no matter how important they are to us. However, it is certainly worth the while striving towards them if we believe that they will lead us to happier, healthier lives.
Stephanie Caruana is a counsellor at Willingness. She offers counselling services to adolescents and adults experiencing some form of distress. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.