How was 2016 for you? As it ends, do you feel that you had a great year and are better for it? Do you feel at least 10% better about yourself than you felt in 2015? How do you feel in each of the five key areas of life – physically, mentally, socially, economically, and spiritually?
- Physically, are you healthier, fitter, and more energetic than you were in 2015
- Mentally, did you think less and do more? Were you able to put your mind where you want when you want? Were you able to get adequate rest and feel relaxed?
- Socially, did you have company of people you enjoy talking to and sharing your life with? Did you make any new friends and acquaintances?
- Economically, do you feel your resources increased? Did you save enough? Were you able to afford things you wanted and experience more of what life has to offer?
- Spiritually, were you able to feel the connection with something greater than yourself and find an anchor that gave empowering meanings to the ups and downs that inevitably occurred in your life this year? Did you feel the universe has your back and rooting for your success?
Here is an example of one person’s self-evaluation after few minutes of reflecting on these questions: Physically, I am 15 pounds heavier than I was last year. Not at all happy about that! I feel mentally stronger but my sleep has become more erratic. I felt edgy most of the year. Socially the year was quite fabulous. I made many new friends and travelled many places. Economically, the year was just fine. I bought a new car and went for a nice vacation. Spiritually, I felt more connection. I felt my character and integrity came through and I was a better person in 2016 than I was in 2015.
Before you make your New Year Resolution, let’s remind ourselves what a resolution is. The Oxford Dictionary defines a ‘resolution’ as a firm decision to do or not to do something. A resolution is a solemn promise that you make to yourself and then keep come hell or high water.
People who make very ambitious New Year’s resolutions often fail because they want to be perfect in just one year. One of the greatest secrets of life is that we overestimate what we can do in one year and underestimate what we can do in three to five years. One can go from zero to hero in just 5 years. But our desire for too much too soon sets us up for failure.
Many of you will remember 2016 New Year’s Eve, as you enjoyed New Year’s Eve parties, champagne, fireworks, the ten-second countdown to midnight, watching the ball drop in Times Square, perhaps even a midnight kiss. Maybe you made some resolutions. Whether you wanted to lose weight, exercise more, eat fewer sweets, get a promotion, or get a little further out of your comfort zone, you probably started 2016 feeling determined, motivated, and set to accomplish your goal, only to lose that fire by mid-February.
If this situation sounds familiar, you’re not alone. According to Statistic Brain, nearly half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, while only around 8% actually successfully achieve them. Some of us have given up on making New Year’s resolutions all together. Years of making and breaking them have jaded us. A 92% chance of failure is a discouraging statistic! However, we urge you to still give the One Awesome 2017 New Year Resolution a shot this year.
Here is the one awesome New Year’s resolution we suggest you make:
I resolve to be 10% better physically, mentally, socially, economically, and spiritually in 2017 than I was in 2016 and I resolve to remind myself every day of this resolution.
Why just 10% better? It is easily achievable! And it avoids the ‘all or none’ nature of ordinary resolutions. You are unlikely to not eat any sweets in 2017, but you can with little effort eat 10% fewer sweets in 2017 than you ate in 2016.
What does 10% better look like in practice? It’s not easy, but it’s not hard either and you have lot of room to maneuver in your daily and weekly actions. For example, if you struggle with weight, you need to eat 10% less and exercise 10% more and do this daily, weekly and monthly. That’s often just one fewer toast than you were going to eat at a meal. Leaving just 1/10th of the bag of chips or bottle of coke or beer that you were otherwise going to finish. And even if you ate or drank too much in one meal, you can eat less for next two meals and still end the week eating 10% less. Same for exercise. Say you currently walk 30 minutes every day. To be 10% better, you should walk 33 minutes every day. Say for whatever reason you could only walk 20 minutes one day. So you have a 13 minutes deficit. If you add 5 minutes to your next 3 walks, you will have done what you need to do plus more.
Here is an example of one person’s One Awesome 2017 New Year Resolution. He has this resolution posted on his mirror, his refrigerator, his phone screensaver, his computer screen, his car, his notebooks, and other places that he is sure to be reminded of it daily. It’s just impossible for him not to remind himself daily of this resolution:
I resolve to be 10% better physically, mentally, socially, economically and spiritually in 2017 than I was in 2016 and I resolve to remind myself every day of this resolution.
- I want to be 10% lighter (i.e., less than 200 pounds)
- I want to take at least seven 5-minute mental breaks weekly where I consciously stop thinking and focus on breathing more slowly and observing things around me
- I want to make at least 1 new friend or acquaintance every month
- I want to have at least $4,000 more saved this year than I did last year
- I want to go to church at least once every month
That’s it! Very eminently achievable and even if one or two days are off track, easily redeemable.
We strongly suggest you give this a try. It works and you will be better for it come December 2017. Reminding yourself daily is critical. Even if you are off-plan, you must not forget the plan.
There are a few reasons this works:
The very act of making a resolution is much more powerful than one might think.
According to Statistic Brain, people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who do not explicitly make resolutions. The very act of setting a resolution, and especially writing it down and reminding oneself of it gives clarity, direction, and focus. As the old adage goes, whatever you focus on, increases!
Setting resolutions actually affects us neurologically. Research shows that resolutions lead to a shift in our identity. As it turns out, the brain can’t distinguish between what we want and what we have. In other words, the brain absorbs our desired outcome into our self-image. What happens now is that we’re faced with a sort of cognitive dissonance—the discomfort that arises when our attitudes and/or beliefs don’t match up to our reality. The brain does not like cognitive dissonance. So in order to alleviate it, it pushes us to start taking steps towards achieving our goals. Eventually, the gap between our desired reality and our actual reality decreases and eventually closes.
Any time we make even the smallest steps towards achieving our goals, the brain releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine—appropriately nick-named the “feel-good neurotransmitter.” This is the same neurotransmitter that’s released when we’re engaged in an activity we enjoy, when we’re eating a delicious meal, and when our basic biological needs are being met. Setting and working towards your goals literally makes you feel good. Dopamine serves as a motivator. When this chemical is released in our brain, we want to perpetuate this positive feeling as long as possible, so we feel propelled to keep working towards our goals.
By setting a resolution, you’ve already done much of the hard work without even being aware of it. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t achieved it fully. Progress is still progress no matter how slow or how small it is. Making resolutions is what keeps us moving forward in life. So even if you feel like you can’t achieve them or you’re going to break them, make them anyway. You’ll be glad that you did. Adopt the One Awesome 2017 New Year Resolution and aim to be just 10% better this year than you were last year.
If you want help working towards your goals or if you want to support others in working towards theirs, join Konversai. Konversai is the world’s first and largest conversation platform where you can seek and find providers who are there to support you in whatever you seek to learn. You can offer your personal knowledge about any subject to others. All conversations take place over live video. Through Konversai, knowledge providers and knowledge seekers engage in meaningful, one-on-one conversations about any topic they wish—the only limit is one’s imagination. Providers may also charge for their time and use the money or donate it to charity. Users are encouraged to be both providers and seekers for as many topics as they wish. When you join Konversai, you develop meaningful connections that will positively impact the course of your life.
So take the first step towards making your year and your life (and the year and the life of someone else) better by joining Konversai and by forming meaningful connections that will make a difference.
Happy New Year from the entire Konversai team. May your 2017 be filled with new learning and great achievements.
Sushma Sharma – CEO and Founder of Konversai
Pavita Singh – Content Writer at Konversai
- Statistic Brain. (2016). New Year’s Resolution Statistics.
- Kegler, Anna. (2014). The Psychology of Goal Setting.RJMetrics.