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Resolutions are funny things, aren’t they?
Why else would we pay so much attention to them at the start of the year and scarcely any time else, except when we are thinking of getting a new monitor screen or mobile phone?
Could it be something to do with new beginnings, that we resolve to do something every new year that we haven’t done in the previous one? Or in most cases, resolve to actually succeed at achieving said resolution this time.
Could it be something to do with moving on, a way of closing the ledger on 2022 (and all the failures and missed opportunities that happened therein?)
Could it be something to do also about trying to find some semblance of control in our lives, to move the needle forward. To tell yourself that “hey, I missed out last year on hitting that target but nehmind, new year, new start!”
Regardless of why we make resolutions, we always start off with the best of intentions.
So why is it so hard to keep our resolutions?
If you think you’re alone in not keeping the promises to yourself, don’t worry, less than one in five of us actually manage to do it. There is plenty of science-y explanations on why we fail.
TL:DR, it takes a lot of mental and emotional energy to get out of our comfort zone. And it’s called a comfort zone for a reason.
The key is to create small, achievable, measurable steps towards the resolution. To create a new comfort zone, as it were.
Don’t just say, “I want to get fit”. Say “I want to be active for at least 20 minutes a day”, or “I want to walk 8,000 steps”.
Don’t just say, “I want to learn a new language”. Say “I want to be able to order a meal in that language”, or “I want to watch a movie in that language without subtitles”.
Don’t just say, “I want to do save money”. Say “I want to save $X a month”. Start small and ramp up so you can be encouraged by hitting the interim goals.
What about my resolutions?
Moments before the fireworks started, a friend of mine made the mistake of wishing me “happy new year” when I was in a particularly philosophical (read: antisocial) mood. Conversation stalled abruptly when instead of responding with a similarly worded sentiment or even a fireworks emoji, I reminded her that “time is a construct”.
In 2023, I resolve to be less of a smart alec to people who are just trying to be kind.
Oh, and to make fewer (not less, and certainly not lesser) dad jokes (see paragraph 2).
Oh, and to correct people’s grammar less – at least not out loud. Like I said, achievable goals only!
What are your resolutions? Here are some of ours:
I hope to be more in tune with myself. My struggles in 2022 gave me countless moments of growth and learning.
This year, I want to continue working on speaking up even when it’s difficult, being braver and always taking a step forward – on speed skates or not – no matter how big or small.
I want to turn the energy I have for photojournalism into a career. I hope that my love for photography and storytelling remains evergreen.
I hope to leave 2023 with new friends, memories and lessons to remember. I want to embark on a new chapter in my life, hopefully university!
I’ll also be hitting my 20s and that means time for adulting (yikes) but that’s a resolution for 2024!
Angel Marie Magdoza:
Every last week of the year, I get excited planning for the next.
Of course, there are the usual clichéd annual resolutions – stretch more, be fitter, meditate, take care of my skin and diet, not to mention going for my annual health check-up.
This year I’ve expanded my resolutions for 2023 to include financial goals (it’s about time I take my savings seriously!).
I have increased my monthly emergency and sinking funds, which means I have to be more frugal with my spending – I say this every year though. Oops.
One thing that’s different though: Last year, I finally paid off my student loans! So I’m able to comfortably set money aside for low-risk investments. I’m still an investment noob so I’ll need to do more research on this.
Oh, and lastly, this year I will join a dance recital – no more excuses that I’m too busy!
My 2023 resolution is to finish a book every two months.
This may seem like an easy task to many (Zakeerah, my co-worker, can finish a book in a day!), but to me, it is a challenging one.
I have always struggled with reading because I zone out whenever I have a book in front of me.
I want to do this because I always hear people talking about how books have so much more detail than films. I want to see what I have been missing out on.
My first challenge is to complete “The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down”, which a friend got me for Christmas. This book discusses how to become more compassionate towards others and ourselves: I’ve given myself till the end of Feb to finish it!
Another resolution (that’s more up my alley) is tap out of every MRT train station in Singapore! I feel that this would encourage me to stop visiting places that I always stick to.
Zakeerah Mohamed Zain:
For 2023, my resolution is to begin journaling again.
Journaling was a great way to express my emotions without having to filter myself since no one would ever get to see them. The things I write are mine to know and feel.
It was great when it felt like I had nobody to turn to. Writing them down meant that my emotions or thoughts were not just all made up in my head: They are real on paper and I can acknowledge them.
I stopped journaling simply because life got too busy. But this year, I want to start again.
Journaling is more than just writing words on paper, it is about detangling the mess in my head and straightening myself out. As daunting as that sounds, I’ve done it before, I can do it again.
Tan Kerng Ngee:
My first week of 2023 was full of boo-boos – from messing up at work to scalding my fingers on a hotplate.
Life is full of uncertainties, and it’s not always good. Sometimes the outlook may look bleak, but we just got to keep pressing on.
Which brings me to my inspiration for my resolution this year: Meow Meow, a cute chonky community cat in my neighbourhood.
She was abandoned by her owner. Still, she learned how to survive with other community cats. Yes, being abandoned was terrible for her, but she has since become one of the most well-liked cats in our neighbourhood because of her temperament and adaptability.
My 2023 resolution is to stay grounded and nimble when facing any obstacles in life.
Christine Yeo Khalid:
Just before the new year, I was watching a TV series and a quote from one of the characters stuck with me: “No decisions based on fear”.
Sometimes, we don’t see the chances in life (even when they are right there in front of us!) because fear prevents us from seeing opportunities as possibilities.
Last year, my resolution was to explore what life has to offer; this year’s resolution is an extension of that.
In 2023, my resolution is to let go of fear, and be more confident in my decisions.
I am not the kind of person to make heavily calculated decisions, but I also don’t just simply go with the flow. I’m somewhere in between – which hopefully makes me the right kind of person to trust the process in this journey of exploration that we call life, in a more open and welcoming way.
Last year, I went through some difficult situations; and that made me retreat to adopting a less forthcoming personal disposition.
This year, my resolution is to allow myself to find different perspectives to situations and always look for the good in people. I want to find the light in any given situation and work from there.
I won’t necessarily be optimistic all the time, but I’ll favour the ideal and obtainable side of things over pessimism.
There is more in the world to experience, and I won’t shut myself from feeling negative feelings and learn from them to grow as a person.
From this, I hope to have better internal thinking systems, external relations, and hopefully spread good intentions everywhere I go!