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The time of the year to make New Year’s resolutions is here again. A new beginning is an opportune time to start over, do something about the goals we were not able to meet, and to *ehem* speak about the feelings we kept so well in the past year. Resolutions have always been a part of our lives but let’s be honest, any of the many self-imposed missions never gets accomplished. It’s sad, but it’s true. In fact, 22% of resolutions fail after about a week, 40% after a month, 50% after 3 months, and 60% after 6 months. By the end of the year, only 10% of all resolutions made are achieved.

The reality for many is we long for change, but most of the goals are made too many at once, too vague, or simply uninspiring. The top reason for failed resolutions, however, is ultimately the lack of a clear goal and purpose.

If your New Year’s resolutions always seem to fail, here’s what you can do instead:

1. “I’m going to lose weight.”

Perhaps the most common New Year’s resolution, aiming to lose weight is just as vague as its chances of success.

Alternatives:

  • I will log what I ate and what exercises I did in a day.

Ditch changing what you eat and how you move immediately. You should first monitor everything you eat in a day by listing them down. At the end of the week, identify what unnecessary and unhealthy food items you must remove from your daily diet, whether it’s an extra piece of chocolate-chip cookie or milk tea drink. The intensity of your daily physical activity can also show why you gained weight and how you could lose it. Swap that tricycle ride you always have and start incorporating that 5-minute walk in the morning.

  • I’m going to change one eating habit each month.

Starting small and simple is always a good idea. It’s a good stepping stone for more difficult challenges. Changing an eating habit is no different. You can remove a single unhealthy food (cookies, as mentioned) or reduce portion sizes each month. It’s practical and it works based on personal experience.

  • I’m going to work out once/twice/thrice in a week.

Stop saying that you’re hitting the gym and go do it. Set your gym days and work out on those days every week. Start with what can fit your current schedule. If you start to see more free time in your routine, go from once a week to twice. For now, if you can only fit in seven minutes of high-intensity interval training in the morning, you can try and download 7 Minute Workout on your mobile phone. Hailed as one of the Best Android Apps of 2016 on Google Play, the app features voice guidance, adjustable circuit time, adjustable rest time and a workout log.  Start embracing the progress and you’ll go far.If you start to see more free time in your routine, go from once a week to twice. Start embracing the progress and you’ll go far.

2. “I’m going to spend less and save more.”

Money management is another popular resolution for many. Unfortunately, it suffers the same fate as the first resolution in this list.

Alternatives:

  • I will stick to a monthly budget.

Right when you receive your monthly salary, allocate amounts to every area of expenses. Consider food, power bills, and rent, if applicable. If you have debt to pay off, don’t hesitate to do it. Getting it out of the way will give you financial freedom. If sticking to a monthly budget is too difficult, try it on a weekly. You can foresee how much yuo will spend right away.

  • I will set aside money automatically.

Instead of imagining all the shopping bags you’ll bring home, picture your passbook filled with your savings. Do this as automatically as breathing and you’ll find that saving can be both easy and doable. You can talk to a bank representative and ask if they are offering services that could help you with your savings. Some banks split direct deposits, schedule automatic withdrawals to external accounts, or slowly withdraw small amounts of money over time for you. If you don’t have a savings account yet, Landbank of the Philippines has an interest-bearing savings account with a minimum initial deposit of P500.

  • I will lessen my trips to Starbucks and with Uber.

We know how coffee keeps you alive and functioning and we know very well, too, how terrible traffic situations can be but remember all the Starbucks drinks that you could have taken a pass for and the Uber rides you took because of sheer laziness. Aminin! You could have used it for other needs.

3. “I will enjoy life, worry less, be happier, etc.”

Get to the bottom of your resolutions. If you want to be happy,  identify the methods for you to achieve it.

Alternatives:

  • I will schedule time to worry.

If there’s a time to play hard and work hard, try having a specific time to worry and reflect. You need just as much emotional management as you do with stress. This helps in avoiding disruption of your work flow and allows you to internalize your emotions and thoughts better. Telling yourself not to worry is more counterproductive than venting it out.

  • I’m going to take two real vacations/breaks this year.

Enjoying life and worrying less can mean full sanity breaks without involving any school or office work. Don’t cave in to the pressure of working continuously. Sometimes, you need to stop and recharge. Even studies will tell you that when you spend your money on experiences rather than more crap, you’ll feel more satisfied. Rest well. You deserve it.

  • I will learn how to speak a new language/how to bullet journal/how to do calligraphy.

Old can dogs can be taught new tricks, as opposed to popular belief. Picking up a new skill can not only be your asset, it can also be the confidence-booster you’ve been needing all this time. Whether it’s a new language (time to express some ARMY love for BTS) or doing calligraphy (it can pay well in weddings), go one step further with newfound hobbies and strive for excellence. It takes practice but you’ll surely get there. Try using Duolingo to learn any of the 23 languages it can teach.

4. “I want to be a better person.”

You should remember to ask who you want to be a better person for. Is it yourself, your family, or others in need?

Alternatives:

  • I’m going to donate a part of my income.

If your idea of being a better person involves donating, there are easier ways to do them. Take The Spark Project, for instance. An online community for like-minded Filipinos, it supports and crowdfunds creative, innovative, and passion-driven projects which are mostly, start-up enterprises. Gava does the same, too, except it also caters to social and personal causes. Plenty of donation options are available, may it be online, thru bank, or in person. You’ll never have an excuse for not pushing through with your resolution.

  • I’m going to work on being more kind/patient/understanding/motivated.

Being a “better person” starts with being honest about attitude changes you need to make. Is it your anger, attentiveness, or your treatment of relationships? Identify your shortcomings and narrow down the field so you know what to work on for the rest of the year.

  • I will try bungee jumping or sky diving this year.

Whether it’s trying something new or overcoming fears, trying something out-of-the box is like diving deep into the ocean for pearls. They can be both challenging and extremely rewarding. It can reduce stress and boost energy. You can, of course, find your own “out-of-the-box” experience. It does not necessarily have to be bungee jumping or sky diving. Take this, however, nothing in the future will be too difficult once you willingly undergo liberating experiences.

5. “My New Year’s resolution is…”

Changing your ways may need a whole year. While the New Year seems monumental to initiate efforts to change, other goals can be set any time of the year.

Alternatives:

  • I’ll create a resolution every month.

Break down your goals for the year by month as it makes the task less overwhelming. Instead of choosing to lose 50 pounds in a year, establish new eating habits by February, try a new workout routine by April, or drop your first 20 pounds by June. Breaking down one general goal to specific ones make it easier to achieve. You might just shed the remaining 30 pounds before you know it.

  • I’ll ask a trusted friend to be a “goal tracker.”

A true friend is honest enough to tell you if you’re falling behind on the work you need to do for your goals. Having someone remind you that it’s gym day or that you’re about to exceed your shopping allowance (we can all relate) makes all the difference. Make sure to thank your friend at the end of 2018.

  • I’m going to share my goals publicly.

If your trusted friend is not available, you can always turn to public medium. Share your resolutions on your social media accounts, whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, among others. Hundreds of thousands of your online friends can hold you accountable throughout the year which in return, should motivate you to achieve your goals. The best part? You can look back at your progress throughout the year.

There are circumstances in life that might be hindering you from realizing your resolutions and that’s fine. Don’t force yourself to achieve goals that others do. Assess your own situation and start setting your goals from there. Remember that change sometimes depend on how much you want it but it doesn’t have to be rapid. Time flies but go at your own pace. Work on the sacrifices you need to make, the bad that you need to swap for the good, and think about how you’d like to see yourself at the end of the year.

Featured image by Madel Crudo

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