There is a plethora of arguments against setting up new year resolutions. Countless jokes about how this year is about realizing the resolutions you planned on doing last year can be found all over the internet. This might sound discouraging but statistics have showed that only 8% of people succeed. Furthermore, just 25% still commit to their goals after a month, meaning in February, the majority will fail. Why so many people lose motivation? Should we just ditch new year resolutions all together?

Firstly, you need to turn your resolutions into clear goals. Know exactly what you want and why you want it. Anything too general will make it hard for you to clarify your objectives and attain them. Setting up goals that are not measurable is too common a mistake we all need to avoid. A measurable goal means you know exactly what to do and what step to take. Instead of saying that you will start saving more money this year, try something more achievable such as ‘I will put $200 each month in my saving account’ or break it down to $50 each week to make it easier. Instead of saying ‘I want to improve my writing’, set one that says ‘I will write an at least 300-word article every week.’

Secondly, your resolutions should depict every aspect of your life. Often times, they are very random or focus too much on a certain thing. We might be under the impression that setting up too many goals is a recipe for a disaster, in contrary, I think it is the scale of your goal that set you up to fail. Even though you set up numerous resolutions, when the changes are small, you will find them to be more sustainable.

Picture by Location: Bukit Karang Numpang, Sukabumi-Indonesia

Resolutions should not be just about yourself. There is nothing wrong with wanting to direct all of your energy in self-improvement, but there are other things that need to be put into consideration. We are living in a high-paced society that is constantly changing. Unless we adapt fast, we won’t be able to cope in a world of rapid change. Here are some aspects that you might want to involve when writing your resolutions:

  • Personality

It is important to evaluate ourselves so you may understand your strengths and weaknesses. Our personality provides a pattern of thoughts, behaviors, and actions that tell each individual apart. You can improve your personality by focusing on the good part or picking one part that you don’t like and start working on it.

  • Career

Think of any changes you can make so you can use your maximum potential to find good prospects and happiness from all the hours you invest in work.

  • Health

Don’t leave this one out as your health is a prominent factor determining whether you will live a happy life. Your strong body is a good investment to help fighting stress and illnesses. Exercises produce a hormone called endorphin that works as a natural pain killer and improve the ability to sleep. Doing this regularly will gradually increase brain’s ability to focus and concentrate.

  • Finance

Financial literacy is now a skill needed for the 21st century. Our generation face more challenging financial decisions and risks compared to earlier generation. If we don’t have any knowledge on the complexity of financial markets, we might easily take misinformed judgement that will affect our lives in a short and long term. Educate yourself about investing and set aside a certain amount of money. It is also necessary to create an emergency fund to cover for surprising events that life throws your way. Aim for one that’s worth about three times your expenses. If you don’t have any, then this might be a good new year resolution for you!

  • Empathy

The act of giving has a real happiness-boosting effects in the brain. Pledge a sum of money every month for an organization or people you believe in. If you don’t have much, worry not. In a new study conducted in University of Zurich, Switzerland, it is concluded that the amount you give does not determine the effect on happiness. It could be as simple as cooking dinner for your friends and bring them a cup of tea.

  • Family

When you are in the pursuit of your goals, forgetting to develop strong and healthy family relationships can easily be forgotten. Loneliness is on the rise that one third of population is now considered lonely. Familial bond is important in increasing confidence and creating a support system. Loneliness also contributes to various health problems including heart diseases.

  • Education

It is not wise to be busy doing your job that you forget to work on yourself. Education will always be the best investment you can make. Take a new class, learn a new language, read books, or join some trainings. There are countless free online classes provided by professors from prominent Universities and applications to help you learn new stuffs!

  • Social life

Social life can create a powerful network. It also helps reduce stress and shape your perspectives and personality growth. This world is brimful of individuals with unique narratives. This is why people with a good social life has a lower chance of suffering from mental illnesses such as dementia.

  • Society Empowerment

The occurrence of community disengagement increases steadily, raising concerns as many people seem to be more out of touch. This leads to emotional and physiological desensitization to real-life problems that our society have to deal with. While it requires sacrificing your free time, someone who volunteers shows improvement in efficiency at work and feels like his/her days were longer.

When the goal involves other people and does not only revolve around you, you will have a sense of responsibility to yourselves as well as others. Society empowerment aspect, for instance, has you contribute to the development of people within your community. It is so easy to blame the system that people keep forgetting that they have the power to alter the course of their lives and others’. Start small thing that will help people thrive and change for the better. Setting up a program for low-income families, educating people through your social media platforms, volunteering to clean, even something that seems trivial. Who knows that when walking this path, you might also find a contentment and purpose in life.

To sum up, new year might be a boost we need to feel determined to change few things going on in our lives. However, it is imminent that you will find bad days or times where life constantly beats you up, leading to your abandoning your goals. Even though the list seems overwhelming, it will challenge you to manage your time wisely. Each goal does not have to be a big crazy one that will wear you out. In fact, when you feel motivated and think of doing more, don’t! We don’t want you to work extra today and totally skip it the next day. Sticking to your schedule will actually keep the excitement and avoid your breaking the chain.

Comments (1)

  1. Galih Eka Putra


    Well said! I think now I know how to set my resolution and keep it the way it supposed to be. Thanks, Ira!

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