By Naziha Cherradi
By Naziha Cherradi
Amsterdam – Around 1880 BC in Ancient Mesopotamia, it was a custom to pay off outstanding debts and to return anything borrowed from others before the first day of the coming new year.
Initially a religious tradition, new year’s resolutions were highly respected due to their socioeconomic values and impacts on an individual’s position in society. Following the worldwide economic depression in 1929, new year’s resolutions have been redefined as a self-improvement tool with new economic, intellectual and cultural values and emotional motivations.
Looking back at the previous year’s experiences, some of us might struggle in setting-up our resolution list: the accumulated pressure for reaching commitments, the promises made for future situations and, what’s worse, fearing the feeling of disappointment and failure.
From a neuroscience point of view, it is suggested to plan resolutions over the year, so you could adopt a new condition to integrate your new mind-set in correlation to your new environment. This means that your process of change is reinforced with a dynamic relation between thoughts, behavior and feelings nurturing positive thinking, boosting self-esteem and enhancing creativity.
A better approach is to keep a notebook throughout the year to write about all of your ideas and project ideas. In addition, the to-do list is another powerful tool to use with a limit of three to five SMART* actions aligned with an adequate time-schedule (daily, weekly and/or monthly). Plus, you want to consider keeping a track-record of the outcomes, regardless of whether they are positive or negative, so you can adjust your process of action.
Unexpected fluctuations in life may bring new insights, so maintaining flexibility is a key factor to a successful road-map as well is the evaluation of your achievements and of your learning’s at the end of the year. The real secret of new year’s resolutions list is : there is no time limit. Take your time to think things through. Consider your goal setting holistically, with neither societal expectations or judgments in mind. Think positive to act positively. Give without expecting to receive anything in return, and be grateful and compassionate.
(*) SMART by T. Doran: Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic and Time-related