It was a chilled winter morning in Kathmandu valley, the capital of the mountainous country Nepal. I was given a bucket of hot water to bathe. I took a jug full of water from the bucket and splashed it on myself and realized that the water was too hot. As anyone would have done, I opened the tap to add some cold water to the bucket. I again splashed a few drops to check the temperature and surprisingly the water was still hot. I repeated the same process and checked the temperature by splashing a few drops again. The water was still hot. I was unable to understand how that was happening.
It was then the moment of Eureka. I realized that I was splashing hot water on myself from the jug of water I had first taken and not the bucket to which I was adding cold water. Obviously the water always felt hot because every time I was splashing the same water while adding cold water to the bucket. By the time I realized my mistake, the entire bucket was full of the chilled Himalayan water which was impossible to bathe from.
Today it sounds foolish but I think it was just innocence of a child. The same innocence which we all have regarding various subjects we do not know much about. We work very hard and sincerely without realizing the mistakes we make and fail every time. By the time we realize our mistake, sometimes it is too late. But mostly we give up on ourselves forever because we are convinced that we can never do it.
One such thing is the resolutions we make in the beginning of a New Year. In a poll it was found that more than half of the people say that they are not confident about their resolutions even at the beginning while making it.
Like an elephant which is powerful enough to uproot a forest but not the chain tied to his legs because in its childhood everytime when it tried to break the chain it failed. Now the mighty elephant have given up forever with a belief that it is not capable of doing it.
We make resolutions because these are things which really matter a lot to us. Let us look at the most common resolutions people make:
Exercise more (38 per cent)
Lose weight (33 per cent)
Eat more healthily (32 per cent)
Take a more active approach to health (15 per cent)
Learn new skill or hobby (15 per cent)
Spend more time on personal well-being (12 per cent)
Spend more time with family and friends (12 per cent)
Drink less alcohol (12 per cent)
Stop smoking (9 per cent)
Other (1 per cent)
Careful analysis of these resolutions tells us that people mostly want to have good health which is the most important thing of all, but they are not very confident about achieving their resolutions. Let us remember that whatever may be the past, this year we can still make resolutions and achieve them. We are the mighty elephant which can uproot the forest as well as the chain.
Like my childhood episode, are we making mistakes without noticing them? What techniques are more likely to help us achieve our resolutions?
Be Specific, measurable, time bound and attainable.
Eg: Instead of ‘I will lose weight this year’, say ‘I will lose 5 kgs in 3 months’.
Resolutions which are vague are not motivating while specific goals help us focus. Deadline helps us be alert and work towards it. Measurable goals are easier to achieve. When we set goals which are unattainable like trying to lose 20 kgs in 2 weeks for a friends marriage, we fail miserably (every time) leading to self doubt and eventually giving up all hopes on ourselves. This is when we make resolutions as a ritual without any real meaning. So let’s be specific, time bound and real.
Make exciting goals, Register it and Review it
Make resolutions which are exciting and important to you rather than making it according to the current trend. When you finally decide on your resolution, write it down and review your progress at regular time intervals. You can also display the resolution at various places like behind the cupboard, above the mirror, in the bathroom etc to keep reminding yourself about your goals. This process allows you to make necessary changes if required at any point of time.
Plan of action
For every resolution, clearly write down the action you need to perform including the time and other parameters like the resources required and most importantly the first step you need to take to start your resolution.
For Eg: If your resolution is to cycle 5 kms every day:
Cycle 5 kms Everyday– Wake up at 6 am and go to the city park gate and return;
First step to be taken: Buy a sports cycle and join a local cycling club.
It has been found that if you know the first action you need to take, then you are more likely to perform it.
One step at a time
Starting/ changing a habit require enormous willpower from the limited supply we have. It is best to start/ change one habit and get used to it for a while before starting/ changing another habit. Trying to change everything at once is probably the most common reason we are not able to keep up our resolutions and fail.
For eg: People who aim to lose weight, generally make a list like this one:
I will wake up at 5 am from tomorrow
I will go for a jog of 5 kms
After the jog I will do yoga
I will join the gym in the evening
I will stop eating all junk foods and eat only 1 meal everyday
I will sleep early
Doing this at once is possible only when someone is blessed with super human capacities, generally normal people like me will fail in less than a week. If you do it one at a time, it has higher chances of working.
When you have made your resolutions, prioritize them in the order you want to start. Priority can be decided on various factors like importance, ease of doing it, etc as per your comfort. This will help you plan and achieve your goals.
While you make your resolutions, take into account the difficulties that may arise and also the solutions you can execute. Your previous experiences will help you.
It has been studied and found that if you encounter a situation for which you have already planned a strategy or solution, you are more likely to stick to your resolution. Also make some wild imagination of some of the unpredictable difficulties you may encounter.
Starting a process is most important
Do not punish yourself if you do not achieve your goal. The most important thing is to start good habits. Goals are achieved automatically over a period of time. You may choose to donate some money for good purpose in case you do not achieve your goal. It is found that people who attach financial implications to their goals have higher chances of sticking to it.
Finally, if you have decided on your resolution seriously, do not hesitate to take help, spend time, efforts and money to achieve it. Enroll yourself in a course/ club/ buy necessary material or anything that is required. It is true for most of us that commitment comes when money is spent.
I believe that anyone can change whatever they want in themselves because you are the only person you can change.
I have helped many people reverse their health conditions from diseased to healthy by diet. When I started this journey, I quickly realized that it is not enough to tell people what to eat and what not to. Just telling them how their lifestyle should be, will not help. I will have to help them change their habits of diet and lifestyle. It is easier said than done. Changing habits of a lifetime is not easy at all. But I came across lot of scientific literature which taught me techniques that has helped me help people in achieving their goals.
If you want to achieve and accomplish anything, then the most important thing is ‘To Start!’
I am thankful to all of you! Truly!