I’m sure you were about to close this on seeing that it’s about New Year Resolutions. It eithers fails us, or we fail it. So we might as well ignore its existence right?! Wrong!
I’ve tried a few in the past, and boy was I terrible at it! I’d tell myself I would complete the Bible in a year. That would mean reading about 3 chapters a day. I’d be doing great if I lasted till January 8. I find a familiar Bible story, and then I start to slack. In March, I would have to clean dust off my Bible when my mom or someone asks for it, yes it’s that ridiculous!
I read it somewhere that “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” That roused some deep thinking. Therefore, the next January, when I had my mind set to “Read the Bible every day”, I knew I had to change my mindset. I couldn’t be too hard on myself — I would read Christian and inspiring books, many with Bible quotes. And on other days, I would read the Bible. In other words, I had to be a bit of a slacker.
Building a small daily habit was easier than a big inconsistent habit. Although it was not easy, as I fell off the wagon several times, but each time, I managed to get back on. Since the goal was doable, if I missed a day or two, I didn’t have to break the ice when I resumed. It worked, and the habit stuck! Please don’t ask me if I finished reading the Bible, Thank you.
As you all might know, I write a lot. However, a few weeks to the end of 2016, I barely wrote anything. So I put it in my resolution to write weekly. Does it have to be a post worthy for my blog? No! It could be a poem on love or terror, or an “opinion” piece based on an article read somewhere, I’d write something. I resolved to write something that’s good enough for an audience: be it a 2 stanza poem for my girlfriend or five- sentence write up on photography, it wouldn’t matter, because I’d be writing. Again, it is easier to stay in rhythm, and the habit would stick.
Then I tried the habit of meditating. On a normal day, it takes forever for me to sleep. But when trying to meditate, it usually ends with a call waking me up. I started thinking that there had to be a way out. Then in came Headspace to the rescue. Headspace has to do with trying to meditate for about 10 minutes a day, taking a break from whatever you are majorly focused on. Trust me, those ten minutes of meditation matter. Soon, it would be a habit.
So take it for what it’s worth. But if you’ve been frustrated with resolutions in the past, consider applying the Unscientific 5-Step Formula:
1. Dial it back
Don’t be too ambitious. For example: do you really want to run a marathon? I mean, you’ve seen people at the end of marathons, right? They look pretty tired. So take a chill pill.
Seriously though, we have a culture of intense expectations, and many of us are too hard on ourselves. It’s okay to dial back your goal and make it more doable. Resolving to read 500 books is admirable… but resolving to make (or maintain) a daily reading habit is also great.
2. Make it very specific
An “Exercise more” resolution is a prime example of vagueness. “Run every day” is better, “Run around the park in the morning” is better still. Best of all would be something like “Exercise every day, ideally running in the morning, but other forms of exercise and other times of day are also cool.” You get the idea.
3. Add the magic words “for at least ten minutes every day”
If you decide ten minutes a day is enough to count, you’ll find it way easier to do it every day. And if you do it every day, it’s way easier to keep the habit.
4. Do it every day for a month
Don’t think about all 365 days at once. If you make it through January (or any 30 consecutive days), there’s a pretty good chance the habit will stick for the year.
5. Be nice to yourself if you miss a day or two
Just start again. Aaliyah’s “Try again” comes to mind. In fact, if you miss a day or two but get right back on it, you don’t even have to count it as breaking your 30-day streak. I hereby grant you permission!
Who knows, your small habit might set the foundation for bigger things. But don’t worry about it in January. Be kind to yourself as you maintain the rhythm, and let the good things happen. They will.
Now go write yourself a nice doable resolution. Good luck, fellow slacker—you got this!