My first ‘Thinking Out Loud‘ post on my blog!!! Apparently, most bloggers have a TOL post once in a while, mostly on a Thursday. I guess that makes me a ‘real’ blogger now for ‘Ponder N Wonder‘ that marks its 10 day blogiversary today. (Oh enough you, with the blogging jargon and all). Also, today is the first day of the Tamil New Year called ‘Durmugi’, celebrated in the southern state of India. Don’t ask me anything else – I had to google it myself.
For many of us, new years of any kind marks a distinct time point when we decide a specific task or goal that we hope to accomplish in a year’s time. I do it too!! You do it too!! We all do it!! Sometimes as fun stuff to do with friends or sometimes, as a serious commitment to oneself. Why such promises only on the new year? Why not on the 17th of June? That’s a good date too to make new goals in life, isn’t it? I guess, we as humans are ‘forgetful’ creatures existing in a fixed time frame, and making promises on a new year would be convenient. I guess.
Many a times I have stuck to my new year resolutions – no chocolate for a year, no instant noodles for a year, etc etc. Each year I would make new resolutions, simple ones that I felt I could commit to, you know, gauging the success versus failure rate. I would never make a promise to climb the Appalachian Trail. I mean I could! But, who am I kidding? I waited to be born after Otis discovered safe elevators. While I did stick to some of them, there was a vast many that I would totally bail on. Wait! But, didn’t I already do my extensive research and evaluate the statistical success rate of this resolution prior to taking it upon me? Like most of you, I would also ‘fail’ at keeping my word. I had my reasons. What I also had was a whole slew of excuses.
With today being sort of my second chance of having a ‘new year’ moment in 2016 (1st January being my first), it got me thinking.
‘She gave me her word and didn’t accomplish it! How could she?’
‘He said he would run a marathon this year and didn’t yet. Such a loser.’
‘She said she would get into med school this year and here she is, not even applied. So lazy’
We all, by nature or nurture, at some point in life, have been judgmental or opinionated on the unaccomplished promises proclaimed by our fellow humans.I plead guilty too of this trait. We expect so much change from people around us.
‘How hard is to to keep up your word. Just do as you say. Simple!’
‘Train for 16 weeks with commitment and you would have got your marathon medal’
‘Just make a check list and apply for med school already’
Yet, we don’t realize that the hardest change to ever make is the change in ourself. How many of us have made zillions of promises to do something and haven’t done it. Trust me, I would have probably been an overall better person in character and disciplined regimens, probably would have won the Nobel prize by now for curing an incurable disease and probably would have run the Boston Marathon about twenty times by now, if I actually stuck to my truck load of goals and ambitions. Why didn’t I stick to them? Many a hitch! I would call the year of 2016 sort of “better” in comparison to all the previous 26 years of making resolutions. Well, not in comparison to year number 1 of course, when I resolved to start walking. That was one heck of a success. What helped me this year?
- Baby Steps: We as humans like to make big goals and have big ambitions. We after all, live in the ‘Think Big, Live Big’ era. Absolutely nothing wrong with it. In fact, it is recommended by most motivational speakers and successful people. Abdul Kalam (one of my role model) rightly said, Aim for the ‘A’, instead of the ‘a’. But, toss in a touch of realism to it. Instead of aiming for becoming the CEO of Apple in 3 months, set a goal to finish a certification course in ‘project leadership and management’ in 3 months that would in turn help you to become the CEO of Apple. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Each small seed you plant in your backyard today, will nurture into a beautiful tulip garden for your tomorrow.
- Write it Down: I never really understood the point of writing anything down. I mean come on, the chances of me having an amnesia attack is low-ish. Yet, what I have realized is that it is one of the biggest success point in getting things done. Write it down and check it off. Nothing beats the satisfaction of making a ‘things-to-do’ list and checking each point off. As we write down our goals, and read it each day as a gentle reminder, it sub-consciously makes us work towards it. And if you are one of those tech-savvy ones (like me), post your new year resolution on your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feeds.
- Work Towards It: Now that’s the hard part. Actually getting down to business. Dreams don’t work unless you do. Reading your ‘things-to-do’ list each day will nudge you in the direction of action. Use your skills to the best way possible. Work smarter, not just harder. Do it anyhow, but make sure to do it anyways, keeping in mind always that ‘Quality’ over ‘Quantity’.
- Motivation: One of the major reasons resolutions fail is not because we aren’t capable of achieving them, but due to a lack of sustained motivation. The level of enthusiasm to accomplish a task you set out to do, fluctuates with each passing day. Use friends to help you maintain that enthusiasm, the kind of ones that will cheer for your tiny successes which in turn will encourage you to do it. Only positive friends. Use small treats in return to motivate you to do it. If I run that marathon that I have been wanting to do for 3 years now, I shall splurge a bit on that $150 therapeutic massage, of course, with a groupon coupon only. Additionally, take up only resolutions that you are passionate about accomplishing, not some tooth-fruity goals. It goes a long way with the motivation aspect.
- Believe in Yourself: Lastly, believe in yourself. No one will have more trust in you to get something than you yourself. Period.