Is 2020 the year we bid adieu to New Year Resolutions?
Today is 29th December 2020. Come to think of it the year went by very quickly, while at the same time every passing day felt excruciatingly long. It's confusing and ironic at the same, but the pandemic has made it possible. I remember last year's new year party and all the excitement to welcome 2020. In a way 2020 was big, and a year we won't forget for a long time.
The fascinating part about a New Year is the hope and excitement that it brings along with itself. Most people often set goals and make commitments for the coming year in a hope to begin afresh. This tradition is not alien and has been around for longer than we can expect. History.com suggests that the ancient Babylonians were the first people to make New Year resolutions, about 4,000 years ago.
The idea was to make promises to their gods. They would promise to pay their debts and return all borrowed objects. They believed if they kept to their word, God would bestow a favour onto them for the coming year. Else, the Gods would punish them. The later years saw a massive change in the tradition as people increasingly started making more personal resolutions such as eating healthy, working out, smoking or drinking less and even learning a new language or taking up a new hobby.
But the one thing about new year resolutions is that they often fail! No matter how dedicated we are before the beginning of the new year, new year resolutions are short-lived.
According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton, 92 per cent of people, that set New Year's goals, never actually achieve them. That leaves the world with only eight per cent that keeps its promise. But studies have also identified it is not the problem with the concept but the word resolution itself. Maybe, if we called it a habit, people would feel less pressurised.
The Bridge Chronicle spoke to psychiatrist Shivangi Pawar to understand the idea behind New Year resolutions and why they don't last.
Focus on the process
Often, we only focus on the result and never on how we are planning to reach. Rather than setting a goal, attach what you want to achieve to something that you already like. "Around 90 per cent of people fail because they set unachievable goals. It's a very end focused attitude."
Plan the year with short term goals
Dr Pawar suggests that instead of planning an ambitious yearly goal, plan smaller and more timebound goals. "Most people regret that they haven't achieved anything substantial. A new start a new hope is important but is it also important to plan smaller goals that can be achieved in shorter times. They leave you with a sense of achievement."
Tomorrow never comes
You don't need a new year to start something new! "For every generation over the years, resolutions have been ambitious. So what is important is that if you want to pursue." Technology and social media are helpful while ensuring to follow our process, and that is what is crucial.
Time to bid adieu
Considering the high number of people failing to follow their resolutions, 2020 may be the year we bid adieu the idea of New Year resolutions. Though this thought may sound very reformatory, it is the time to focus on building habits and not achieving goals. Dr Shivangi Pawar says, "it is important to focus on a process rather than the goal."
"The word resolution puts unnecessary pressure on us leading us to eventually give up. It is not binding but the word resolution makes it sound like one. This often leads people to lose the energy they have at the beginning of the year."
If the lockdown has taught us anything, it is that we will be fine. If we plan to achieve a certain goal and want to do it, then you will eventually. A new year is a new beginning. But for something driven by passion, all you need to do is start. Today, tomorrow or the day after.