We all entered into the NEW YEAR 2013.The first day of the year is perhaps the only day that celebrates the passage of time and that’s why most of us became introspective as the final seconds of the year tick away.

Our introspection turns to thoughts of self improvement and the annual ritual of making resolutions start, and we feel ourselves in a vessel of self improvement which offers the tools for remaking ourselves. The beginning of a new year often feels like a fresh start, a great opportunity to eliminate bad habits and establish new routines that will help us grow psychologically, emotionally, socially, physically or intellectually. Of course, resolutions are much easier to make than to keep and by the end of January many of us have abandoned our resolve and settled back into our old patterns .A key element to a New Year resolution that sets it apart from other resolutions is that it is made in anticipation of the New Year, and new beginnings. The concept, regardless of creed is to reflect upon self improvement annually. You too can turn your New Year resolutions into reality, but it needs a little dedication and a will to do something different to emerge out like a winner.

Taking on too much is a common reason why so many New Year's Resolutions fail. Dramatically slashing calories, over-doing it at the gym or radically altering your normal behavior are sure-fire ways to derail your plans. Instead, focus on taking tiny steps that will ultimately help you reach your larger goal. While it may seem like a slow start, making small changes means it will be easier to stick to your new habits and you will reap the rewards in the long-term. If you are willing to do something different this year follow the P2MR rule and feel and experience the difference.

Planning is a crucial activity, for it designs the map that lays the ground work for the other functions required for accomplishing our goals. The plan itself specifies what should be done, by whom, where, when and how. The whole process of proper planning keeps us feel tracked for accomplishing our goals. Commit to an undoubted and realistic specific plan. Where and when are you going to do what you resolve to do? Committing to a specific plan to accomplish a goal not only makes it more likely to be done, but it also gets it off your mind so you can accomplish other things related to your goal. Remove all feelings of self-doubt and negative thoughts of 'how can I ever do this' . It's normal to feel fear, take that as par for the course and keep moving ahead.

Picture yourself carrying out your plan in you mind whenever possible. Research shows that imagined practice is almost as good as physical practice for training new skills and habits. Keeping resolutions is also about creating new habits. When you imagine carrying out the specific plans that you set, you’re more likely to carry them out with ease. Plan the strategies you are going to implement and celebrate the success of it in your mind always. Always remember that positive imagery works well in fulfilling our plans.

Monitor your progress. One of the simplest things you can do to meet your standards is to keep track of how well you’re doing. If you’re dieting, weigh yourself or record your caloric intake daily. Signs of failure will energize you to change. Signs of success will encourage you to keep on going.

Goals often compete and interfere with one another, but sometimes you can combine them also. If possible turn your resolution-related activities into social activities which will save you from having to sacrifice one goal for another. Connect with someone who shares your goal. Goals are contagious. If someone close to you is pursuing a goal, you’ll be more likely to pursue it, too.

Create a routine and stick to it. A routine is a series of habits. If you've got a good routine set up--say a morning routine of breakfast-exercise-shower-dress-commute, you've freed yourself from a lot of small decisions that could slow you down or capture valuable brain space that you'd prefer to use for something else. Every time you engage in a behavior, you make it easier to enact it again later. Do a goal-related activity at the same time and in the same place every day or weekly, and eventually the behavior will become habit. So routines are great! Until  they're not. The disadvantages of an unhealthy routine are obvious. But even good, healthy routines can drag us down if we don't break them and re-form them from time to time.

What's helpful about the ritual of New Year's resolutions is that we have a specific time of year to reconsider our habits and routines and make a conscious change. Still, any time is a good time to re-evaluate your routines when they begin to smell a bit stale. We roll our eyes at people’s resolutions because we often see them fail but, research shows that small changes in how people think about and manage their goals can make all the difference. If you are truly committed for achieving your new year's resolution you will forget about calling it a new year’s resolution! It needs to be a constant living resolution that you are committed for achieving. This living resolution does not fade after January finishes, because it is alive and takes much more than a yearly review to survive. Be unusual this year and make your new year's resolution a living resolution that remains a part of your life for longer than January.

By: Bency Joy, MPhil(Psychology)

GSSS Sabari, Middle Andaman