Tag Archives: New Year Resolution

What Have You Learned This Past Year?

A single day can offer multiple lessons. When you consider this, it’s amazing to realize what an entire year can bring.

Amidst 365 days, you’ve probably experienced all the human emotions this world has to offer. A mixture of happiness, satisfaction, love, regret, pain, disappointment, depression, and whatnot, have all crossed your path one way or the other. A year is too long and at the same time too short not to experience everything you needed to experience.

From these wide range of experiences, we all learn.

We learn to be a little bit more cautious when trusting people. We acquire skills we never thought we could through our work. We rekindle passions and yearnings in life that we thought were long gone as we grew older. We learn, we develop, and most importantly, we grow.

On one hand, it may be difficult to pause and reflect everything that’s happened to you in one year. Some keep a journal or maybe even a blog, but somehow, no one can truly capture a year’s worth of experiences. Instead we remember moments and the emotions that stick to them. We remember them not just for this year, but these are memories that we will remember for many years to come.

It’s okay to forget the details. What’s essential are the lessons we’ve learned along the way. This may all sound cliché, but you have to admit the learnings we’ve all gathered do mean something. We might have forgotten the exact day or the time, but we won’t forget who we were with or what we felt when we were with those people.

As we move forward into another year, now is the time to look at the lessons we’ve learned, and think of ways on how to apply them moving forward. This isn’t merely undertaking a New Year’s resolution or a vow or anything (although those will help), but the way you approach the upcoming year’s challenges will be a testament if you’ve learned your lesson or not. Inevitably, you will fall. In the same way, you will also grow and rise from your mistakes and failures. The unending cycle of learning will not or should not cease.

As humans, we continue to grow, we continue to move forward.

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How Do You Make New Year’s Resolutions Work?

In my previous entry, I explained that accomplishing a New Year’s resolution is indeed possible. There are ways and tips to help you through a long and unpredictable year. Below are some of those random tidbits to aid your cause or in any case, something to think or smile about.

1.    Set realistic goals –

First off, don’t get ahead of yourself. Make simple and rational resolutions that you think you can actually pull through an entire year. This seems a fairly common sense type of advice but you really ought to look at it more seriously.

Imagine you had a friend named Bobby. Now Bobby wants to trim down for 2014. Seems like a normal and healthy goal for the year ahead. So how realistic should his target weight be? Should Bobby try to lose 90 pounds in 12 months or is it more reasonable for him to try to lose just 10 pounds every 2 months? For huge life changing resolutions, Bobby can simply take baby steps to attain his goal to lose weight.

2.    Don’t get into situations to be tempted –

From my previous entry, I gave an example of how distractions can deviate you from your goal. These distractions can come from friends, relatives, or even your own husband/wife. Sometimes we get into situations wherein we can’t help but join in. Peer pressure was evident in our youth, but I believe there are still forms of pressure from our environment even as we get older. Let’s say your goal for the year is to cut down on your drinking. That being said, maybe you shouldn’t go to bars or clubs for a little while. You can’t go out on a Friday night with your friends and kid yourself by saying “Oh, I’m just going to drink iced tea tonight.” I say don’t go out at all if you think the temptation is too much. Get away from distractions and anything that will allow you to be tempted. Stay home for the night or go watch a movie.

Do not go testing yourself either. You may have a strong will but don’t punish yourself by getting into situations where you have to question it. That’s silly. It’s like handing your enemy the gun and mock him by saying “Come on, hit me!”

3.    It’s a constant decision –

A New Year’s resolution is a constant decision that you have to make all throughout the year and not just on January 1st. It’s a decision that you have to make again and again if you really want your year to be a different.

A concrete example are people who flock to the gym by the first week of January and not see them again by February. It’s an on going commitment between you and your resolution.

I remember the movie, Keeping the Faith, wherein Edwin Norton who played a priest, was pressed with a dilemma of falling in love with his childhood friend and drop all his priestly vows or to stop with the nonsense and remain a priest. He confronted his senior and asked for advice on what he should do. The elderly priest said that being a priest is a commitment that you have to make again and again, and not just when you decided to follow this career.

Okay, maybe the priest example is a bit too extreme but you get the point.

4.    A vice is a vice –

Another piece of advice is to realize what kind of resolution you’re dealing with. Let’s go back to Bobby for a second and think about his goal to lose weight. It’s healthy, positive, and something he can really pursue. It’s not smoking, drinking, or even drugs. However, I think it’s a different ballgame when you’re dealing with an addiction or even a “sickness that you have.” Convincing yourself to quit smoking is very different to try to lose weight. There are not only the distractions from external factors, but it takes a whole deal of your internal demons.

You can’t just flip the switch and all of a sudden stop inhaling all sorts of things into your lungs (well technically you can stop immediately) but it’s different from losing weight or trying to be more charitable next year or spending more time with your family. There are some people who can do a cold turkey but 8 out of 10 times it’s really difficult. You’re dealing with a vice and more often than not, vices can consume you. Maybe you need a different approach that involves more people around you.

5.    Make room for adjusting your resolution –

Though time is relatively fast, a year can be long. A lot of things can happen that can either hinder or help you towards your goal and you have to give yourself for changes along the way. For instance, a common New Year’s resolution is to travel to a different place. The possibilities are endless for travel lovers that can go from Japan, Cambodia, Australia, Europe, and more. But what if it’s already September and you find yourself short on budget? Maybe it’s time to cut down and try for a local trip. You’ll still travel to a new place and who knows, maybe it’s the adventure you’re looking for.

6.    Don’t put too much pressure on yourself –

New Year’s resolutions deal with the concept of “me” and how the “me” can accomplish set goals. It is through the person’s determination and perseverance that he or she is able to achieve the promises that were made. However what if you don’t get to do what you set out to do at the beginning of the year? What if you didn’t get to save money and you’re still in debt? What if you didn’t spend more time with your family than you should have had?

Resolutions are made to have a better version of you after a year. Even though there is a possibility of you not getting them done, think of it as a journey that you’re pursuing. Maybe Bobby will lose just twenty pounds, or maybe instead of smoking one pack a day you’ll end just consuming half a pack, or maybe you won’t get to travel at all next year but you spent more time with your family. These little victories are still victories. Resolutions, big or small, take time. Maybe it will take a year or two, but keep pursuing them. You will learn, you will grow, and you will change.

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Do New Year’s Resolutions Really Work?

More than anything, a New Year brings hope to everyone. Whether you had a good year or a bad year, there’s so much anticipation of what the next year will bring. You don’t know what’s going to happen and that’s exactly the reason why it’s so exciting.

Along with hope is the concept of having New Year’s resolutions every year. These are promises, ambitions, and maybe even dreams we aspire as we look forward into the coming year. But do these self-made proclamations really work? If so, how do they work? On the other hand, if not, then why do people still cling to a hope? As you get older, you slowly realize that things don’t turn out quite the way you planned it. I believe that a lot of these plans begin at the start of every new year. So, do these resolutions really work? Well, yes and no.

YES

New Year’s Resolutions come in all shapes and sizes – losing weight, quitting cigarettes or alcohol, starting a new hobby, traveling to a foreign country, reading 50 books, and so on. I honestly believe that there are people out there who are really good in setting out goals for the year and actually achieving them. They have the dedication and the sheer will power to pursue what their set their mind to. I’m not just talking about the Michael Jordans or the Warren Buffets or the people you can find in Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. I’m pertaining to more personal experiences like your boss who said that finally he won’t be late ever again, your younger sister who really saved money for a year, your boyfriend who said he won’t cheat anymore, or even yourself when you said you were going to read more books than watch movies this year. These acts take a lot of sacrifice and hard work (though maybe not the boyfriend cheating part because that’s pretty much a given).

If you really think about it though, achieving a New Year’s resolution shouldn’t be all that difficult. You set it, work hard for a year, and then reap the benefits. It’s supposed to be easy as one two three. And that’s why we see people change over a course of a year. We see a 200 pound friend slim down to size 30 waistline in just a couple of months. It didn’t happen overnight. It probably took a lot of sacrifice to not get that extra steak during his mom’s birthday party.

It’s truly possible and we’ve all seen it.

NO

At the other end of the spectrum, we also realize that, well, it’s pretty damn hard to set a year goal and actually see the results twelve months after. A whole year is pretty long if you think about it. A lot can change in your day-to-day schedule and we can forget the goal we’ve set at the beginning of the year. You may not notice it, but a year can fly by as quickly as the last one. It’s like you blink even for just a second and you wake up and realize you’ve just had a 3-hour nap. Old people say that life is fast and they’re exactly right. It just breezes past you. The moment you take a break from your goal, you might lose sight of it. This is also the reason why there are people who have the same New Resolution they had the previous year(s).

Aside from your own laziness and blindness, there are also distractions during the year. Take for example a friend of mine a year ago when he said he won’t eat McDonald’s for a whole year. Sounds great right? You know what I did? The next day I told him I’ll treat him to a burger and fries. Boom. Resolution over within two days. Sounds evil I know, but hey, I wanted to test the guy.

In most cases, I think people put a lot of pressure on the whole concept of doing a New Year’s resolution especially when they’re going to change a huge part of their life. Saying “Next year I won’t smoke anymore” will be such a big transition in your life that you bet on just because the numbers switched from 2013 into 2014. We all know it doesn’t work like that. It’s not a light switch you can just flick on or off. It takes time and a whole lot of effort.

The answer to “Do New Year’s Resolutions really work?” is in fact yes or no to various people. There are those who achieve success in the end and there are those who feel disappointed. On my next post, I’ll give a couple of tips on how to achieve a New Year’s resolution. They are just random tidbits to help people get through the year. Hope you keep reading!

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