The year 2016 is coming to an end and we all know what that means – wrapping up our work and getting ready for the holidays. We just want 2017 to be a great one. For some, this last year brought with it a mixture of sweet memories to cherish while for others it gave some rather bitter experiences. Perhaps, it was a mixture of both; or maybe it was just uninteresting. Whatever happened all we can do now is to move forward with our lives and begin the New Year with a better version of you.
Every year, many of us come up with New Year resolutions – “I will give up junk food.”; “I will work harder.”; “I will hit the gym thrice a week”; “I will drink/smoke less frequently.” – and most of us end up breaking them after the first week of January. This is the sole reason why the rest of us have stopped making resolutions in the first place.
But the fact that you want to change means that you can. You just need the will power and an open mind to try new things out. To motivate yourself to keep working at it, write a letter to your future self as to why you started the resolution in the first place. Make the letter as detailed as possible. Mention the goals, what are the positive outcomes that you would gain, etc. That way, any time you decide to drop out of your resolution you can look back at it as a reminder. Also, it helps if you have friends who will check on your progress on a regular basis. If you have a role model who inspired this change, it definitely will benefit to keep their photo as your phone lock screen and home page. Keep a couple of motivational quotes near your mirror or your bed so it gets ingrained in your mind.
Now that you know how to stay motivated, let’s talk about what changes you could make. Ask your friends and family how you could become better. Write down what you want to work on right away. Perhaps you want to pick up a new activity to replace time spent on habits you want to steer clear of – it can be anything from signing up for a class to improve your skill set or giving back to society in your spare time. Whatever you choose to do, think it through and think about how committed you can be to this plan.
Once you have opened up to this new idea, think about what other changes you could make. Perhaps your vegan friend wants you to become a vegan. This might have been a revolting thought for you because you have been raised all these years with the knowledge that all that dairy and meat is highly beneficial to your health. Also, it is just so delicious that even the thought of giving it up makes you want to cry. Suppose you and this friend had an argument about this. You both say you love animals – dogs, cats, ducks, rabbits, and all. Then your friend points out that if you really did love animals, you wouldn’t eat them. This debate is pretty common and most of us non-vegetarians are baffled at this point of the argument. Now, if you are an open-minded person like I am, you would be open to the idea of at least attempting to be a vegetarian, one step at a time.
You could try and replace cow’s milk with almond or soy milk for at least a week. If you have adjusted to the taste, then keep at it for a month. Having an open mind does involve giving new habits a fair chance. You can then experiment with tofu to replace your paneer. Include a variety of fruit and vegetables in your diet. Order some vegan recipe books and try them out. Chances are you might love it, or you may not, but at least you tried. It is a smart idea to give every new habit sufficient time before contemplating whether it is meant to be. Don’t be too quick to judge.
Now, let me tell you a short story: Tina went to Judy’s room. She looked around and realised Judy wasn’t around. So she walked over to Judy’s bed, grabbed the white silk top lying on the bedside table, put it on and rushed out.
So what was your first thought when you read the story? That the protagonist stole the top? It is quite natural to think so. What if I told you that Judy had in fact borrowed the top from Tina, who now needed it urgently for an interview? That little detail changes everything doesn’t it?
This is the reason you shouldn’t judge anyone or anything without being there or trying it out first. Having an open mind can open many doors for you. It could bring colour to your life and life to your colours. It is alright to have strong opinions about various issues, but at the same time, you should be open to accept that you could be wrong. There may be other ways to solve a problem; there could be another side to the story. Nobody knows everything. But we can all learn a lot more and keep growing by opening up our minds to the countless possibilities out there.
So, cheers to a great new year ahead. Say goodbye to all those bittersweet memories and welcome 2017 with a great big smile & a brand new attitude. 😀