It’s that time of the year again when I sit down in my sweatpants with a cup of hot chocolate and scribble down my new year resolutions for the coming year. I have always loved writing goals with a fierce and burning passion, even though most of the ones I make fail- or in some cases, never take off at all. Resolutions are strange; they occur once a year on a date we’re told is significant but in reality is no different from any other. They excite almost everyone and dominate as the top topic of conversation and then they just… disappear. Fizzle out into the ether without anyone bothering to notice or even acknowledging their absence.
I read somewhere that only 8% of new year’s resolutions are accomplished, which is a pretty depressing stat for humanity as a whole. But I do believe this has less to do with the conviction that we’re a lazy and unmotivated species and more to do with the fact that 92% of those people just don’t know how to make good goals.
A common one I’ve noticed is to lose weight. Now how does one know when this goal has been accomplished? How my kgs, for instance, must be melted down on a treadmill for this goal to be considered complete? And what steps must be taken to lose this weight? A more appropriate resolution would be to lose a certain number of kgs over the year or, better yet, to visit your local gym 2-3 times a week. Detailed, definite resolutions work much better than vague, unquantifiable ones.
My own problem was a little different though. I understood all the little rules, but inspite of all that wisdom my resolutions were obscenely optimistic. Things like “write 50 book reviews” would make the list, even though I’d only written two in the past year. Another usual suspect was to “quit junk food”, which I would eagerly write down as a half-eaten piece of chocolate cake starred grimly at me from the corner of the room. They were bound to fail right from the beginning, not because they were bad resolutions for me but because they were bad resolutions for me at that point in time. The trick, I’ve realised, is to start slow and gradually build your pace so as not to disappoint the crap out of yourself. For instance, if I’d decided to write 10 review instead of 50, I would have probably written more (if not all) than I did with 50. The bigger the goal, the greater your chances of giving up.
On the other hand, some of my resolutions were so blitheringly stupid, so marvellously undemanding, that it would have been a shame if I didn’t complete them almost instantaneously. Something like “write a blog post” is a resolution I remember from a few years ago, one which was accomplished the second I posted my blog post about new year’s resolutions. There is no point to these kind of goals except instant gratification and a pinch less guilt about not completing all the others; they don’t help you grow, or become a better person, or do any of the other stuff new year’s resolutions are expected to do.
Anyway, without further ado, here are the things I am going to do to 2018:
- Super Secret Goal #1 I can’t talk about yet.
- Learn and make 10 new recipes without burning someone/something down.
- Continue to post regularly on Tumblr (at least 10 posts a month).
- Learn to play 5 new pieces on the piano.
- Super Secret Goal #2 that I also can’t talk about yet (sorry).
- Read 50 books.
- Write something every single day.
- Visit a new country.
You’ll notice that the above has a combination of both really simple goals (visiting a new place and learning recipes) and slightly more tedious and time-consuming ones (updating Tumblr and writing every day). I won’t be able to put that satisfying tick mark on the latter ones until the end of next year, which is why I don’t use too many of the same brand; an entire list of such goals would be terribly demotivating. I also don’t know whether I’ll complete all of them, but I can say with certainty that not a single one feels formidable or unreachable- on the contrary, I’m already quite excited to start browsing for recipes and dusting down my old piano.
And that’s precisely what a good set of resolutions should feel like. I hope yours do too.