Many years ago someone (I think it was my dad) introduced me to the idea of having New Year’s Resolutions. I was a kid then, so I didn’t really grasp what it was all about. All I understood was that you’re supposed to decide to do something that you normally don’t do and try to keep at it for as long as possible.

“Yeah sure! Why not?!” I thought.

So my very first New Year’s Resolution was, “I will not eat Eclairs”. I had braces on my teeth then and Eclairs, being sticky, were not at all the right chocolate to be eating! Unfortunately they were my favourite type of toffee. Tough luck, right?! The ‘heroic’ decision lasted for the complete time span of three hours!

As years rolled by, the resolutions started becoming more matured. There were things like, “I will study daily, not just before the exam”, “I will not spend too much time on the internet”, “I will exercise daily”, “I will talk more and more often” (seeing as I’m usually as quiet as a mouse except when with my closest friends), “I will try to learn a new skill (professional, life skill etc)” and so on and so forth. Each of these resolutions lasted between one week and one month.

“Why so?” I wondered.

At first my inherent laziness seemed to be the root cause of this inability to stick to the plan. So naturally the logical course of action was to make the resolution to not be lazy. I did that.

Did it help?

Kind of. The duration for which I stuck to my noble intentions did increase slightly. Eventually, I found myself getting bored and disinterested. Again, I had to make the basic resolution of trying not to get bored so easily. I mean, you can’t get far when you couldn’t care less about reaching your destination, right?

How do you try to develop an interest in something that you’re finding rather uninteresting though?

One good approach I came across was to find a good incentive to do something. For example, if you’re being inconsistent in going to the gym, you could try convincing yourself that that cool dress you spotted at the mall would look fabulous on you when you have regular workouts. If you’re late for classes or work all the time you could picture a scene in which your best friend or boss isn’t nagging you to be punctual. You could take morning walks to take in the view (literal as well as figurative!). It’s a fairly good approach, this. My resolutions started lasting longer (read: for a reasonable length of time) when I tried it. As long as you’re not a person of whims and fancies; if what interests you today will continue to interest you tomorrow, this is a sound and foolproof method to get the results you’re after.

Another approach, which works even better, is to enlist the help of your friends. This way, you would be doing them a good turn too, having someone like-minded to laugh and groan with (as per the situation), see that you’re not the only one who messes up and slips from time to time and most importantly, get to be with them more often; all at the same time! Plus they would enlist your help with their resolutions, which means you’d find yourself making more changes for the better than you had originally planned to make! Ofcourse, we’re assuming that all the concerned parties show the required amount and level of commitment and there is some kind of team spirit between everyone. Otherwise it’s back to square one (or sometimes even square zero or square minus one). True friends know how to get you to do what is needed. Also, we usually are more likely to do something a friend suggests. Thus, our mission is accomplished and we also enjoy the process a whole lot more than if we would have done it individually!

These approaches are okay for trivial or light, would-do-you-some-good type resolutions. For the really serious, absolutely necessary ones such as say, quitting smoking and drinking or getting over depression, the best approach is to properly weigh the pros and cons and see for yourself how much good you’d be doing yourself and maybe your loved ones too by choosing to walk on the path of recovery. You have to see just how much damage you’re causing to yourself and others. You have to take professional help if required. There is no other way and there is no turning away from this. Self help articles and books state that maintaining a journal during these times proves to be very helpful. Getting in touch with you, your feelings and struggles and making a conscious choice to keep working towards a better state of life is key to sticking at the hard task. Also, you can turn back the pages later and see how well you managed to cope with the bad days life threw at you and gain real strength!

Indeed there are many more approaches which would achieve the desired result. The thing is, once you begin to see the point in doing something, once you realize how important something is, how it’s bringing about positive change in your life and making you a better person, you tend to keep at it without any external or additional motivation. Will power can do wonders when it’s focused like the rays of light through a convex mirror. Ultimately we do what we really, totally, absolutely desire to do from the bottom of our heart, isn’t it? This is the reason behind many resolutions coming to fruition!

I am trying the above approaches and I hope so will you! Let’s see how much progress we can make by the end of 2014…! I am not sure I’ll be able to stick to all of my resolutions (we all are human beings after all!). I do, however, intend to keep at the most important resolution I’ve made this year – that of maintaining this blog on a regular basis! Somehow I think I’ll manage to keep at it if not at anything else…! 😀