We are almost a month into the new year, how are your resolutions?
Just like any other year, we set promises to ourselves to start the year right… and to have conversations with friends and family on what resolutions we have made!
I started 2021 without putting much thought into the resolutions for the new year and guess what? I found myself still trapped in 2020. It’s as if the new year never happened. After all, aside from the brief fireworks displays in our heartlands, 2021 started off relatively quietly – at least for me.
And as I’m still working from home for the foreseeable future, I suspect 2021 can easily fly past as though 2020 never ended. But should it be the case?
It didn’t feel good to me that the new year never really felt new to me. And as I’ve discovered this past month, it has translated into being aimless and lacking motivation and drive to explore and try new things.
Why set resolutions?
For those of you who don’t believe in setting resolutions, let me convince you otherwise.
A new year means looking forward to new beginnings. And to have new beginnings requires setting fresh goals so that there is a direction in which we can steer our lives towards.
Not only that, looking at things afresh sets the right tone and, if the previous year (like many of us can attest to!) is particularly sucky, it can bring forth a determination and resolve to do better this time around!
It doesn’t even have to be a life-changing resolution. Not everyone can (or even wants to!) make a major change in their life direction based simply on a calendar date.
It can be the simplest statement. Like, say, “this year, I want to smile more often”, or, if you want to be more specific, “this year, I will find five things or people to smile about every day”.
In doing so, we are actively deciding to create something new in our lives. Simply by exercising our choice, it gives us a sense of direction and purpose – and something measurable to aim for.
By choosing to smile, we are setting the right circumstances to invite happiness into our lives.
Alternatively, are there any lingering regrets from the past year? Did you fail somewhere or fall short somehow? Don’t be discouraged. Don’t bury it. Don’t give up. Hit the reset button. Get back up and aim to achieve it again this year.
And if you have brought the previous year to a successful close, use that as a springboard for greater things. Determine to achieve even more in the year ahead.
Just like how birds make their own way in the sky, people also have their own paths to follow, unique to themselves. It can be the path of learning, the path of peace, the path of effort, the path of discovery… all of which work towards realising our dreams in life.
How to set resolutions?
Of course, we shouldn’t be setting resolutions just for the sake of doing it (or just because you read something on the Internet that said you should!). If you’re not committed, you’ll just ignore them after a while, making it a waste of time to even pen them down.
It can be anything under the sun, what matters is that they are achievable within the set timeline that you give yourself.
These resolutions (just like smiling), can be simple. You don’t have to have clear dreams for your future, just try setting a goal that you are comfortable with.
But they can have hidden benefits: Finding reasons to smile makes you a more positive person. Drinking seven cups of water gives your health a hydration boost. Going to bed earlier or getting active for 30 minutes a day improves your physical well-being.
Or maybe this year is when you pull out the big one: A mindset change. A watershed event. Do a 180. Change a career. Find a partner. Or slow down and focus on your own well-being. All these can bring you unexpected rewards as these goals take you on unknown adventures – good and bad – that will end with you discovering more about yourself and the people around you.
Every path we choose, no matter how long, is still taken with small steps. Whether you’re looking at your feet (focusing on the small steps) or looking into the distance (focusing on long-term goals), it doesn’t really matter… as long as you keep moving!
Who to set resolutions with?
It’s already a month into 2021. And I’m willing to bet that some of us have already given up on our resolutions. Some of us may even question why we should bother to keep resolutions at all.
Just like how our bodies need food every day, our determination requires daily renewal.
Tell yourself to always move forward from this present moment. Yesterday didn’t work as planned? Try again today.
It helps to do it together with a buddy, someone whom you can open up to.
Did you know that when swans fly long distances, they do so in a V-formation? That’s because the lead swan reduces the wind resistance to the other swans flying behind it as it flaps its wings. And when the lead swan tires, another swan takes its place.
This is how they help each other fly long distances together.
The power of teamwork works wonders. When we help and encourage each other, our strength multiplies.
So start something. And if you have a buddy, encourage each other. Write your resolutions down, keep them in sight so that you know that you are on track.
Time flies and before you even realise, it is the start of another new year again, you wouldn’t want to have drifted your way through it, would you?