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  • Writer's pictureLalita Dileep

Why we should ditch New Year Resolutions

Outmoded and outdated – finding a new Lexicon

Breaking new ground

New beginnings are not always fun or inspiring. In the instance of New Year resolutions, they are akin to a Damocles sword hanging above our heads, precarious and paradoxical, mocking us. Changing familiar repetitive behavior and adding unfamiliar ones is not a call for personal growth. Sustainability is questionable and failure is hard to swallow. An Individual’s behavior patterns are a blend of temperament, environment, and a medley of emotional and physical needs. It also requires a deeper dive into our learned past and present experiences. Statistics bear this out, indicating than more than 80% of resolutions peter out or more starkly end in disappointment. It is well documented that by the second week of January, most New Year resolutions have fallen by the wayside. In a word there is a need to recalibrate our expectations.

Framing the entire exercise in an altered light creates a different synergy. To recast the resolution as a goal crafts less anxiety, more focus and a sense of can-do optimism. As a building block, first review the past year and list your achievements. Evaluate with an open mind how the year has been, what you have accomplished, things learnt, the people you’ve met, projects completed, the experiences immersed, it might surprise you how long the list is. Having savored these memories, move forward with more confidence, poise and buoyancy towards the New Year.

Principles to navigate

As I transition from last year’s accomplishments and outline my goals for the New Year I am following some unique guidelines, which I hope will refresh my outlook.

The first of these is Ikigai: discovering my purpose in Life. Derived from the Japanese principle, I am choosing goals that align with my strengths, passions and what gives my Life meaning. In short the reason I get out of bed every morning.

The next one is Shikata ga nai: to let go of what cannot be change. This is not going to be easy for me and I will need to remind myself daily to focus only on what I can change and let go of all else while maintaining my equilibrium in the process. But it is a worthy goal.

Closely linked is Wabi – Sabi: finding peace in imperfection. If only I could remember that about myself and the world around me, I would be more content, peaceful and less agitated. Let’s always try to recall there is Joy in imperfection.

This one is new to me – Gaman: learning to preserve one’s dignity during tough times. Knowing this builds resilience, nurtures patience and understanding. A is huge for me learning curve for everyone. In a world filled with oversharing, nurturing self-control is a commendable goal.

Another interesting one: Oubaitori: Not comparing yourself to others, since everyone has a unique and different timeline. Teaching oneself and those close to us not to measure ourselves against others is something all of us goal oriented human beings will find hard to swallow, but unless we set ourselves to distinctive goals there is no purpose in this exercise. This is a habit that would be wonderful to nurture from a very young age.

I am also planning to adopt Kaizen: Always seek to improve in all areas of your life. And to remember that even small changes can add up and make a big impact. This is a prompt that change does not have to be dramatic to be dynamic. Small can be mighty too.

And finally Shu-Ha-Ri: This one gives me great hope and has been borne out many times in my lifetime. Based on the principle by Tao Te Ching “When the student is ready the teacher will appear. When the student is truly ready the teacher will disappear”. It demonstrates how to acquire knowledge. Shu stands for learning the basic tenets from the master, Ha means to integrate the learning into practice and Ri is the final stage when the knowledge can be innovated.

Believe in Yourself

Doubt can be debilitating. A nagging voice in your head which can resist personal growth.

Reminding yourself that goals are a marathon and not a sprint and one is investing in the long term, one needs to forge forward. Keeping oneself accountable at all times, building a support system and even enjoying the process and not seeing it as a chore.

I have set some personal goals for myself this year, self care and personal health being top of the list. I find keeping a food diary, walking daily and getting some form of exercise at regular intervals has served as a good launchpad. Being grounded through meditation is another important goal and I am no longer intimidated by the process, in fact I am enjoying the immersive experience. I have also undertaken a 21 day manifestation challenge and am keeping an open mind to the ideas, suggestions and creative visualizations that are shifting through.

Dear readers, I am back in the New Year after a hiatus during the holidays. I hope all of you are well and looking forward to 2023 with hope, anticipation and optimism. Lets continue our quest and be a source of social support for each other. I look forward to your shared stories.

We are stronger together


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