Not just another New Year

This New Year, I’m determined to work at being a better person and parent, to be calmer, happier, healthier.

Apparently, I’m not the only one resolving to do this.

Psychologists say many of us make similar promises to ourselves. A psychology professor writing in Psychology Today, an online journal, notes that the most popular resolutions are:

  • Work balance (less work)
  • Lower alcohol consumption
  • Eat less fast food
  • Pay off credit debt
  • Learning something (Guitar, French)
  • Be more patient
  • Be happy (accomplish small things)
  • Read more books
  • Exercise
  • Lose weight
  • Academic-related goals (good grades, study more, graduate, get into a master’s programme)
  • Job-related goals (get a job or promotion)
  • Be a kind person (donate more, be nice to people)
  • Stop smoking
  • Travel more, procrastinate less, laugh more…

The full article is available here.

Of course most of this research is not India-specific – but then, we are all human and yes, we do tend to react similarly in similar situations. Till I looked at the list above, I was feeling pretty good about myself. Now, however, I am a little bit deflated–after all, I am just one of the many millions of people around the world, who’ve made the exact same resolution. And in case you’re wondering, there is even more research available (it seems New Year resolutions and the reasons we make them, are a favourite topic of psychologists!) that shows most of us will fail to keep our promises, before the first month, or sometimes, the first week, of the New Year is out!

New Year, New You?

Do we make these committments (to ourselves) because we hope that a fresh start will enable us to achieve something? Dr Veechi Shahi, a life coach in Mumbai has an interesting view on this. “Many a time people set themselves very unrealistic goals… or find new strategies for delaying the good over doing the bad until the New Year begins,” she says. (I had contacted Dr Shahi in December for an article I was working on).

She believes we can make resolutions work if we set smart goals. And we really don’t have to wait for a date on a calendar to change ourselves or to transform our lives, she observes. “My experience has been that people are often very naive and think that changing their outlook on life is as simple as making or breaking a New Year resolution. The moment you commit yourself to changing (for the better), that is the beginning of the fresh year,” she adds.

We need to keep that in mind. And not lose heart or become part of the statistic.

So here’s to a new you. And a new me.

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Happy new year, dear readers!