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A "new year, new me" attitude all year long

Credit: ISTOCK (CN0RA)

Jan.1 is not the only time to have a "new year, new me" attitude.

Julian Boudreau | Interrobang | Opinion | January 11th, 2019

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
It's that time again. A new year bringing forth a magnitude of hopes and beliefs we paint for ourselves, in the attempt to correct our shortcomings or wrongdoings. The perhaps na´ve attitude of resolve with every new calendar year.

At this point, you've heard it all — lose weight, eat better, stop smoking, drink less, be nicer, work on this, or be that. But why does it always seem to fall apart weeks, sometimes days after this so-called promise to yourself?

Personally, this is something I'd rather avoid altogether. Why jump on the bandwagon?

The intrinsic catch seen widespread among all failed New Year's resolutions is that the resolutions are focused heavily on our flaws. Truthfully, the human ego is astounding. We don't like to admit we are wrong or wager a war against ourselves, when the only fighting recruit is our willpower.

So how can we overcome this hurdle?

First, I'd like to point out that I am not neglecting that we should reflect on flaws or shortcomings to ultimately better ourselves long-term. But would you not agree that it is a foolish way to think that only once per year we have the opportunity to evoke change?

Like a misbehaved child, what we are most uncomfortable with ourselves does not respond kindly to harsh criticism or self-denial. Rather, encouragement and patience.

The reason most will cling to the idea of the “new year, new beginning” is that we are beings of habit. To our success, our ancestors were habitual creatures. Veering from the normal path of the group would almost certainly end in demise, just as being outcast — of course, these days we say we are independent but yet there are patterns of routine all around us in our daily lives.

With that said, the intended protocol for our behaviour may not be needed as it once was. However, as you may have come to realize in your experience, it can be incredibly hard to shake habits.

Theoretically, the fix to the New Year's resolution fallacy comes in the form of goal seeking.

Goals versus Resolutions

If you have never granted yourself the opportunity to establish goals, one thing you should realize is they are fundamentally different than resolutions.

The reason being is that, again, the New Year's resolution is usually focused on shortcomings. Although, often times they are simply interfered by various factors in our day-to-day — let's see an example with losing weight.

During dinner with her family on Christmas day, Catherine, a broker at a large firm, sparks a conversation at the table. One by one, each state what they are grateful for and what they wish for the year. With a determining grin, Catherine says “My resolution is to lose 10 pounds.”

The first few days back at work pass like a breeze. Feeling confident that she is on track to fulfill the promise to herself.

The second Thursday back, Catherine's manager informs her of a presentation she must prepare for the following Wednesday. Working through the weekend to the early hours of Monday and Tuesday, she successfully secures the contract and now has more paperwork than ever to sort through.

Weeks pass with no sign of work slowing down. On her break, she bumps into her aunt at the local coffee shop who asks how everything is going, including progress on her dinner vow.

Catherine argues that “I just don't have time for anything — least of all, to worry about the gym.”

In this scenario it is clear to see that external factors can steer us away just as well from our resolutions as the willpower approach — fighting against our bad habits.

On the other hand, setting goals is much more manageable — even with a busy schedule.

The purpose of setting goals is to manage priority. If it's important to you, you will find the time.

Second to that, is writing your goals down allow you to close the gap between metaphysical ideas, so you can transform them into tangible ideas.

The reasoning behind writing down your goal rather than just saying it, is that once it enters the physical world you are more likely to achieve your goal. Every day we experience brain clutter, by constantly seeing your goal written down, this acts as a clear reminder to you rather than trying to keep track mentally.

The major difference I'd like you to gain from understanding goals versus resolutions is that with goals, they are specific and timebased. Goals focus on a progressive benefit, coaxing you in ways as you move closer to the end result. Whereas resolutions are trying to correct abruptly.

Generally, it takes on average 21 days to see new habits form.

Give yourself the time needed and set realistic goals — even if daily.

Also, don't limit yourself. If you really want results in anything don't be afraid to keep going if you fail, you can at any time of year, the point is to begin when it resonates with you. And for those tough ones, keep yourself accountable with the help of a friend or family member — I believe you have the potential for greatness within you, in all your wishes.
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