Happy New Year's Eve!! Here are my thoughts on approaching the new year.
“The best time to start anything was yesterday, and the second-best time to get started is today.”
This is almost always true, especially with New Year’s resolutions.
Waiting for that perfect time when you need a certain skill is just too late. Think about when you need efficient study skills the most; probably when you need to cram. By that point, it's too late.
"You can’t teach a person to swim when they’re drowning."
2021 has flown by due to COVID, and now we’re about to enter another year of hopefully less COVID. The last moments of the year are the perfect time to evaluate what this year has been for you and what you are looking to achieve next year.
Although it would definitely be great to start by January 1st, you’ll realise that it’s simply an arbitrary date. There is no reason you shouldn’t start earlier. In fact, New Year’s resolutions not started on the 1st usually have a greater chance of success.
Many of us have an all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to setting a New Year’s resolution - most of us are guilty of doing it multiple times. We’ll start out strong, motivated and inspired, but gradually it fades out by the first ~7 days.
Around 80% of resolutions are abandoned by end of the month. By the end of the year, only 10% of the original resolutions are retained. So if we already expect this to happen, how can we now counter it?
Get a Head Start
This is a core value we should abide by to set ourselves up for success. Instead of procrastinating and delaying our actions in achieving these resolutions, why not give ourselves a heads-up to test things enough so that we’ll be able to handle our New Year’s resolution in a very approachable way?
Starting now gives you that sense of stepwise progression, slowly but surely achieving the goal you plan to do by January 1st. In this way, you’ll stay more accountable to the goal that you set for yourself and it’ll be easier to achieve because you’ve made a decision which is actually in line with your core values.
Use the ABC model
The first thing we’ll have to do is to Aim for Consistency. We aren’t machines that can go from 0 to 100% pace and hold it there for a long time. Humans aren’t made that way. We can’t expect a sudden outburst of pace just by doing one small thing.
It takes time and many small wins to create massive and consistent wins.
Next, we Break it Down into small, very achievable tasks. Take the time to think about all those little steps to start making it a habit. I always think about how I can create the habit first before worrying about the quality of the activity. Let’s take the gym as an example, the quality of your workout doesn’t matter if you’re not rocking up consistently.
Lastly, we should Calibrate Regularly and give ourselves room for changes. Always be kind to yourself especially when starting these goals. Think if this would work for you long term or not. We can’t expect ourselves to master the habit in one go. When in doubt of these resolutions, take a step back and reconsider if it’s the right goal. You’re actually allowed to do that.
Think about what these resolutions mean to you - are they meaningful and aligned with your longer-term goals and values?
And once we’re clear about it, then we can start having SMART goals; goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. The great thing about starting early is that you have enough time to focus on the things that will greatly matter rather than resolutions made out of hype.
So use this as a little motivation boost to get started on your own terms!