If you didn’t keep your 2015’s new year resolutions, then this one’s for you! New Year resolutions suck. There, I said it. They suck our confidence. And as someone who wants to see each one of you be your most confident self, I wanna say something. I feel that New Year resolutions aren’t a bad thing to begin a new year with. They fill us with hope and inspiration. But, frankly, they’re a really crappy way to end a year. Whether we wanted to “lose some weight”, “be a happier person”, “write a book”, “spend more time with our families”, “travel more”, they somehow manage to make us feel like a failure and a disappointment at the end of the year. And some years, that can make us feel like we don’t have much to be thankful for.
So does that mean we should not have any resolutions? Does that mean we should start the year with nothing to inspire us?
Not exactly. I believe if we somehow manage to convert the resolutions into something positive that can make us feel thankful and grateful at the end of the year, it’ll be great.
Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail
One of the most common problems is that lots of new year’s resolutions don’t work because perhaps we ask too much of ourselves. And so we’re not truly confident that we’ll actually achieve that. And that’s why we keep vague resolutions like “lose some weight” and “spend more time with my family” and blah blah and blah blah.
Another problem is that the resolutions are often based on a task, and not a belief. Like “travel more” or “lose some weight” is a task. But a belief behind it would be why you want to do this. Why it’s so important to you. Without the why, the what becomes meaningless. Without that belief, the purpose of the task becomes lost by the end of, say, March. And that makes the task with no real inspiration for you to actually want to finish it.
The last and the most important problem is what people call ‘lack of discipline’, but I’ll call it the ‘prioritization of personal life’ problem. Often, we don’t tackle our personal life issues as smartly and efficiently as we tackle, say, a project at work. At work, projects are prioritized, have a deadline, have recorded operations and budgets. They have team members who are accountable for the project’s success. They have team leaders that make sure the project gets completed on the set schedule and review the progress from time to time, brainstorming over solutions should any problems arise.
Keeping New Year Resolutions like Business Projects
- Prioritize and Set Resolutions: Think of your resolutions as a project, and don’t take up as many as you can think of. Select what’s most important to you and write it in your diary or in a Google Doc.
- Know Your Belief: Before you set your priority resolution, think about why it’s so important to you. Do you really want it that bad? If not, maybe it’s not your priority resolution.
- Be Precise: Don’t be vague while setting the resolution. Instead of “lose some weight”, set it to “lose 20 pounds”. Instead of saying “travel more”, think of where and how frequently you want to travel.
- Have a Strategy, Timeline and Budget: Whether quitting your job and starting an entrepreneurial venture is your resolution, or traveling or being more stylish, make sure you have a plan in mind. Type it next to your resolution in the Google Doc. Add realistic timelines to it and set a budget. Set mid-year and quarter-year targets.
- Make It Realistic, Split it into Tasks: Making it realistic sounds obvious. But even if you wanna do something unrealistic, split it into more realistic steps, and prioritize them. Like “writing a book” may be too much to expect in a year when you have a separate full-time job. So make a strategy with doable tasks instead, like “research”, “detailing out the topic into chapters”, “writing the first draft of the first chapter”, “writing 20 pages a month” and “editing a chapter”. Set timelines for this year and take it forward the next year.
- Select a Project Manager: Sure, you’re your own life manager. But for your resolution, assign the task of looking you over to someone close. Share the Google Doc with them and set reminders for them to review your monthly and quarter-year progress. They can also offer you advice or help you figure out solutions if you need any.
- Remind Yourself: Don’t be too hard on yourself. But at the same time, keep reminding yourself why you wanted to do this. If you still want it by the end of the year, hopefully you’ll already have done it!
Shilpa Ahuja a designer and entrepreneur. She is the editor-in-chief of ShilpaAhuja.com, which she founded with the goal of inspiring confidence in the modern working woman through fashion.
Fashion has traditionally been for the rich, white, thin woman. That’s how it evolved over centuries and that’s how it’s been represented in fashion media. But Shilpa believes that with the changing role of women in the society, fashion has changed, too. She believes that fashion is for everyone, regardless of their age, gender, color, body type and background. So she translates runway fashion into easy style advice that one can incorporate into their daily lives.
Shilpa’s work has been published in the University of Fashion blog and Jet Airways magazine. She is also an artist, illustrator and cartoonist. She is also the creator of Audrey O., a comic series that represents the lifestyle of millennial women. She enjoys creative writing and world travel. Her art has been exhibited at Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Aroma Hotel, Chandigarh and been published in Chandigarh Times.
Originally from Chandigarh, Shilpa also has a professional degree in architecture and has worked in interior project management. She is also the author of the book “Designing a Chinese Cultural Center in India”. Shilpa has a Masters in Design Studies degree from Harvard University. For feedback and questions, please email [email protected]