Did you suddenly find yourself thinking about your goals for 2023?
It’s arriving at that last week of the year just before or right after Christmas as the new year looms. You may find yourself reflecting on what you have done this year and what goals you should set your sights on for the coming year.
Before you start making a long list of resolutions you want to achieve in 2023 only to abandon them in a month, let’s look at a few reasons why you keep failing at making your resolutions a reality:
1. Your goals are vague
Most people fail to achieve their goals because they have written down something unspecific. for example, “lose weight”, or “run more”, or “eat healthy”.
It’s hard to follow through goals that aren’t clear. Words like “more” and “healthy” are also very subjective and differs for each individual. For you, it could mean to cut down on sugary drinks. For another person, it could mean eating more vegetables.
2. Your goals are unrealistic
It’s great to make big goals. Small goals usually don’t inspire you to jump out of bed and buzz with energy to start making changes. However, setting unrealistic goals can make you demotivated and give up on your goals before you start seeing any changes.
For example, you love eating rice, and yet you put down “stop eating rice” in your resolution list. How long do you think that’s going to last? Are you really going to go the whole year without touching a grain of rice?
3. You’re stuck in your comfort zone
As much as we all like new challenges, we’re all extremely complacent and hate being stretched beyond our comfort zones. You wish you could travel more, but you cannot change your spending habits to start saving. You wish you could go to the gym more often, but it’s after work and it’s so much easier to just go home.
This is where you have to do what’s right instead of what’s easy. At the end of the day, you reap what you sow. The more times you give in to your desire to indulge in a RM12 bubble tea, the harder it’s going to be to save up for that trip to Italy.
4. Your goals require money (that you don’t have)
Money is another major factor why most people delay taking any solid actions towards their goals. They want to join the gym, but they can’t fork out RM250 every month.
They want to eat healthily, but a proper meal takes time to prep and can be much more expensive than a fast food takeaway or a savoury snack laden with oil and sugar from the roadside stall. They want to learn a new language, but the course fee is higher than your rent. So what do you do?
Here’s how to hack it…
So, do you want to have a realistic chance of achieving your new year’s resolutions? It doesn’t always have to come down to discipline. More often than not, what you need is a strong “why”.
Why do you want to lose weight? Are you trying to fit into a particular dress, or are you just trying doing it because you caught up with an old friend and they said you’ve put on some weight? Are you trying to speak a new language for better job prospects, or are you just doing it because it’s cool?
The “why” usually determines whether or not you’ll make your goals happen.
Here’s how you can make sure you achieve your resolutions – and be absolutely proud of yourself by the end of the year.
Be very, very, very, specific
Take out your list of resolutions and make them very specific. We can’t stress how important this is. Along with your specific goal, write down an action plan.
For example, instead of “lose weight”, change it to “lose 5kg in two months by running 5km every week”. You can even go as far as specifying which days work the best for you. That way, it will be easier for you to start taking action and harder to come up with excuses.
If you want to save more money, don’t immediately transfer RM1,000 into a fixed deposit account. That way, you will only run out of money and start dipping into your savings.
Transfer a small amount – say RM150 every month – into an account that is not used for daily expenses. You could even gradually increase this amount depending on your monthly spending habits. Some banks only need a minimum of RM100 for a new savings account while there are now plenty of online investment options that you can start with just RM100 or less.
If you love shopping, look around the internet for promo codes or wait for a sale. There are sites that compile promo codes from online retailers like Lazada, Shopee, and Amazon. Making it easier for you to get in on those discounts.
Alternatively, you can choose a credit card that offers discounts, rewards, or cashback – there are plenty.
Don’t aim too high
We Malaysians love eating – there’s no question about that. While giving up rice is on most of our lists, it almost never happens. And it probably shouldn’t. Instead of cutting out rice completely from your diet, tell yourself that you will only eat rice on weekends – make a pact with your friends and colleagues. Create a support group. If you’re cooking at home, opt for brown rice, quinoa, or noodles.
Whenever you feel like eating something you’re not supposed to, Google for healthier substitutes – it’s that easy. The next time you feel like eating ice cream, opt for frozen yoghurt. The next time you’re too lazy to go to the gym, meet up with a friend and take a long walk while catching up with each other. Take the stairs instead of the elevator if it’s just a couple of floors.
All these little actions are better than committing to something big and never getting around to actually doing it.
Commit one day for each goal
First of all, don’t overwhelm yourselves by making over 20 resolutions. Make no more than three or four goals that you’d like to achieve. Once you’ve done that, assign each day of the week to one goal, and also set rest and cheat days. Then, put it in an easy-to-follow-schedule:
|No rice day
|Book club meeting
|No rice day
|One hour on YouTube learning Mandarin
|Plank for 10 seconds
(gradually increase the duration every week)
Finally, try taking small but realistic steps towards your goals. You will also find that your life is more organised and decluttered, so you have a clear head and can focus on taking your goals a step further.