Making your resolutions work


Ready or not, it’s that time of year.  You can let Mother Time ring in 2013 quietly and pretend that nothing’s changed except that you’re a year older and uglier  OR you could choose to decide that next year is going to be different.  And better.  How better, how much better?  That’s up to you.

Now, assuming that you’ve decided to resolute, let’s take a look at WHAT makes a good resolution?  At least IMHO.



A resolution would mean little unless the intended new behaviour becomes a habit.  Now we all know what it takes to turn something into a habit.  It starts with a thought.  This then becomes action, and if the action is repeated at regular intervals, it becomes habit.


If you’ve resolved to exercise in 2013, it would only make sense if you workout say 3 or 4 times a week.  Doing it at this sort of timing keeps the momentum of regularity going.  If you go to the gym only once a month in the new year, you have not fulfilled your resolution obligation.  It’s got to be repeated regularly.  Done often enough, it becomes habitual.  And you’d be hard-pressed to discontinue the habit after a while, which is good.


On the flip-side, your resolution might be to eliminate a bad habit.  For instance, cracking your fingers.  If you were to consciously remind yourself every time you’re about to crack your fingers and if you tell yourself often enough, you should be able to relieve yourself off this disgusting habit.



The new, better you that you set out to become come Jan 1st, should be achievable.  It’s a target that you want to hit but it must not be overly ambitious.  Saying to yourself that you want to be the CEO of Apple by end of next year is surely being naïve.

Your goal should be a bit of a stretch but at the same time, realistic.




Attach numbers to the goal, as far as possible.  You might want to lose 10kg next year.  Or exercise 4 times a week.  Or make RM100,000 more.



Many people subscribe to the belief that life could be viewed as 5 different Dimensions: Spiritual, Mental, Physical, Socio-Emotional and Financial.  (The names might differ but the meanings are the same.)  If you look at your resolutions (assuming you have more than 1) from this perspective, it would make it somewhat easier to decide which Dimension(s) you want to be better at.

You might also decide that you want to improve in all 5 Dimensions in 2013.


  • Spiritual

quranAs an example, if you’re Muslim, your resolution could be reading a page of the Quran every day.  (See how this is both achievable and measurable?)


  • Mental


You could also decide that you want to learn HTML5 programming.


  • Physical


Exercise 4 times a week?  I know I’ve said this before, but this is worth repeating.


  • Socio-Emotional


How about connecting with 1 long-lost relative a month and 1 long-lost friend a week?


  • Financial


Let’s make 20% more money than in 2012, shall we?  And let’s start that small business this year.



Let’s get real.

1.  Write it down.  OK, so how do we put this into action?  Write the resolution(s) on a piece of paper.  Again, it should be achievable and measurable.  And if it helps, think about the 5 Dimensions.

2.  Trim it.  Now halve the resolutions, in terms of both numbers and intensity.  This makes the targets ‘real-er’.  Example: Let’s say for 2013 you have 4 resolutions on paper, i.e.

  1. Read 1-page Quran daily
  2. Learn HTML5 programming
  3. Gym 4 times a week and
  4. Connect with old relatives and friends.

Now trim it to only:

  1. Read  ½-page Quran daily
  2. Gym twice a week
  3. Connect with old friends once a fortnight and old relatives once every 2 months.


Then, write these 3 Resolutions on a piece of paper and stick it on the fridge or on your PC wallpaper or on Evernote; whatever works for you as long as you’re reminded of your 3 Resolutions every day.

 sticky note

And one more thing

It would also help to declare your resolutions to your family and close friends.  This will help to keep you in check and on track.


Happy New Year 2013!  May the odds be ever in your favour.


About yazidatan

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