Why bother making resolutions if you cannot keep them? | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Why bother making resolutions if you cannot keep them?

Jan 05, 2024 04:28 PM IST

New Year's resolutions are expressions of hope, but their success record is often patchy. Keeping resolutions simple and breaking them down into small parts can help increase the chances of success. Desperation often leads to resolution and action, so don't give up hope. The author's resolution is to renew her relationship with yoga.

It is that time of year—the time for renewals, new beginnings, and resolutions. With the last one, I am both an optimist and a pessimist. While in a funk, I ask myself why I make resolutions since I don’t persist with them anyway. But come this time of year, I make resolutions anyhow.

People celebrate New Year on a Bengaluru street. (HT Photo)
People celebrate New Year on a Bengaluru street. (HT Photo)

I think a New Year’s resolution is an expression of hope. It is built on the idea that this year, finally, we will tick off all those things that we have been yearning to conquer-- lose weight, exercise, learn embroidery, recite Urdu shairis (sonnets), dance the samba. Some take the opposite approach. They don’t make resolutions and make grand pronouncements like, “I don’t make resolutions; I keep them.”

I make tons of resolutions. My success record is patchy. This year, I pulled up all my written resolutions over the years to create a survey of new year resolutions—and also to unpack what was possible to follow through and what was not.

So here below are my resolutions through the years and my current comments in parenthesis. I hope they give you inspiration, if not hope. The resolutions are not in chronological order.

November 2019: “Next year—2020-- I will savour every meal in every restaurant as if it were my last meal on earth.” (and then Covid struck and I couldn’t eat out at all.)

December 2006: the year I moved to Bangalore: I will fight for a cleaner city, since this is the city I and my children are henceforth going to call our ‘home.’ (This actually worked. I got involved in my RWA (Residents Welfare Association), went and met my corporator and tried to work with the Pourkarmikas or PKs, which is what the BBMP calls the women who sweep our roads)

2011: This year, I will try to get to know myself better. I will be at peace, then spread that to others in my orbit. (What a fail! I spread mayhem all around and particularly in my family.)

2015: This year, I won’t fight with my husband. Or rather, I will fight differently with my husband. I won’t use the tried and tested phrases. “You always…you never.” Or “Yes, you did that nice thing…but….” (This resolution worked, for just one fight, before I resorted to the old tried-and-tested arsenal of our marital fighting methodologies. I blame emotion. When you are pissed off, it is hard to remember your resolution.)

2017: I resolve to begin drawing like I did when I was 7 years old. In fact, I resolve to begin singing like I did when I was ten. (This worked. I still doodle and sing—not well but enough. I doodle during meetings and sing when I walk down the stairs—every staircase has fantastic acoustics.)

2020: I plan to get in the best shape of my life so I can beat my husband at marathon hikes. And while I am at it, I want to achieve world peace. (Both were fails but the latter was a bigger fail than the first)

2009: 2009 is a great year for Bordeaux wines. Buy a lot of them. (Which I did. And I am drinking now.)

2021: “Three resolutions interconnected- for me, my world and the world. For me: relinquish the title of “The Great Procrastinator” although I am inclined to think about that one for a while. For my world: stop fighting with my kids. For the world: Include beauty in any human endeavour. (All three are ongoing.)

2022: I will lift weights. (So finally, I found a trainer in my own building which allowed the five-year-old resolution of fitness to find fruition. This is actually a happy-ending story. Contact me if you want her number. And realise that you need help if you want to achieve your fitness goals. Unless you are some crazy disciplined person who only drinks kombucha and runs ultra-marathons in your spare time.)

2008: Let’s be positive this year. New Year resolutions are fun, even if I fail at them in a month. This year, I will make a simple resolution. I will learn a new language. And I will enjoy my children because guess what, soon, they will become adults and be gone from my home and into the world. (This too was a successful year, because I learned Kannada that year. As for enjoying my kids, I really only did that after they left home so be easy on yourself—all you young Moms).

Conclusion: Lots of podcasts tell us that the key to successful New Year resolutions is to keep them simple. In other words, don’t resolve to change your diet when you don’t have time to drink even a single protein shake. Breaking down your resolutions into small parts will help. The best resolutions are usually borne of desperation. Think of all those nerds whose resolution year-after-year is to “get laid,” or those nature-loving desperados whose resolution is to see a black panther in Kabini this year. Out of desperation comes resolution and out of that comes action. So don’t give up hope, bro. Just keep at it.

What’s your new year’s resolution? As for mine: it is to renew my relationship with yoga.

(Shoba Narayan is Bengaluru-based award-winning author. She is also a freelance contributor who writes about art, food, fashion and travel for a number of publications)

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