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Don’t Make Mundane Resolutions For 2014; Here Are 6 Ways To Make It Different

Don’t Make Mundane Resolutions
For 2014; Here Are 6 Ways To Make It Different

Just two more days to another New Year and the industrious among us already have the resolutions list ready and firmly stuck to places where one can’t possibly ignore them – workstations, studies, refrigerator doors, kitchen counters, gyms and even car dashboards. Others, however, have already abandoned all hopes of sticking to the so-called resolutions as they have failed again and again. They consider it an annual laundry list, to be made and thrown away, as Life takes its own course and they are made to struggle to cope with it.

But the year 2014 can be different if you make those resolutions differently. Forget the ‘memo’ style operations one attributes to them. Resolutions are not traditional social mandates or must-achieve business goals. They are value-based personal goals that you set for yourself, not only to improve the quality of life but also to make it more meaningful. So we need to a self-review of what we are currently doing, have the serenity to accept the things we cannot change and the courage to change the things we can.

A few years ago, while on a difficult trek to Tapovan, a remote place near the celebrated Gangotri and Gaumukh, we came across a trekker who had suffered a complicated fracture and her left leg hurt after a bit of strain. While most people advised her not to go on that journey, the trekker was undaunted. “I love trekking and it’s my resolution to do my best and go as far as I can. I may not be able to complete the trek but the closer I get to my destination, the better the experience… It will be more fulfilling than doing nothing at all,” she said.

That sums up why we should make New Year’s resolutions of a different kind (a fulfilling kind, which means instead of looking for a better paying job, one can try and master specific skills that will lead to recognition and the rest will fall in place) and what we should do to reach the goals we have in mind. Here are the six things you can do to enhance your life in 2014.

1. Take one step at a time and do your best: Admit to yourself – you are human with tangible needs and limitations that may not match your ‘requirements’ list. But don’t let that gap tug at your heartstrings and make you sad all through the year. Instead, balance it out. It is quite likely that you need to lose weight, cut out on certain food items or quit smoking. But most of the times, we fail to follow the long list of must-do’s and live in despair. The wise thing to do is come up with a do-able list – so that you progress steadily (although slowly) towards your goal. If you can’t start gym right now, climb the stairs whenever it is possible, walk more and eat healthier than before. The small things are bound to bring in a big change in your life and you will be ready for a bigger leap soon. Also, don’t deny yourself small rewards on crossing each milestone. A small treat once in a while often cheers us up as we don’t have to live in complete denial of everything that has once been a part of our routine.

2. Be resilient to cope with change: That’s the way to survive in a volatile world. Being rigid in thought and action simply means we are not open to change and we are not able to accept reality. Understanding change and staying one step ahead of it are primary requirements – so that we are well prepared when unfavourable changes batter our existence. For instance, both Nokia and BlackBerry failed to cope with foreseeable market changes and could not come up with timely solutions that would keep them ahead of competition. When changes finally came along, it was too little, too late. Consequently, Nokia had to sell its phone business to Microsoft at a shockingly low price and BlackBerry seems to be on its last leg. Reading the change ahead of time and preparing for it are crucial factors no one can ignore – be it an individual or a market-leading global business.

3. Create more opportunities by growing core values: That applies to both personal and professional life. Most of the times, we target the end results instead of the necessary steps that lead to the outcome. If you want to be a better parent this New Year, you must have a clear perception of the ‘to-do’ list and you must set your priorities accordingly. Being a better parent means spending more quality time with your kids and being there, when they need you. That cannot happen overnight and you may have to eke out the time by making loads of adjustments, both personally and professionally. And in doing that, you are actually growing your core values required for great parenting. The same thing goes for your professional life. If you want to be a better manager in 2014, you may have to grow your people skills considerably. Or if you are looking for a better-paying job, acquiring more skills is bound to help.

4. Believe in yourself and help out others: What you did well last year, do it better. And whatever is left pending, finish it fast. But more importantly, carefully review your action and see how you can do more to help others. “Strong people don’t put others down... They lift them up,” says author Michael P. Watson. In helping others learn and succeed, you earn the gift of camaraderie and the applause gets louder every time you are on the podium. On a personal level, things only get better when you have mended the fences or you are there to help out. A few days ago, a neighbour fell critically ill and called her office for help. Her co-workers not only sent in an ambulance but also assisted her throughout the traumatic period. You can call it a rare gesture but the more it is practised, the stronger gets the bonding and the feeling of belonging.

5. Quitting doesn’t work, think outside the box: This New Year, think beyond the stereotype and have the courage to make mistakes. Don’t discard an idea just because it has not been successful at the first go. Some ideas are typically ahead of time but these could mark the beginning of the next big change. Companies spending billions of dollars on starting a space colony, developing wearable gadgets or 3D-printing human organs may not appeal to us right now. But the immense possibilities across these sectors cannot be ignored. And here’s the latest wow example for you. Adarsh Shastri, grandson of the former Indian prime minister, late Lal Bahadur Shastri, and son of the Congress leader Anil Shastri, has left behind a crore-plus annual salary at Apple and joined Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP a couple of days ago. Just like Adarsh, you, too, can think out of the box and put those ideas into action in the year 2014.

6. Serve the community to give back what you get: Don’t be surprised if you meet a couple of Ph.D. holders from a top US school in a remote Odisha village. They have taken some time off their schedule to teach the small kids there. No, it’s not taken out of a popular Bollywood script, but made possible by many volunteering organisations who rope in willing professionals to serve the communities at home and abroad. “Being involved in your company’s CSR programme is good. But most individuals want to do it hands-on and help in their own way,” says volunteer Sehrish Velayudhan who works with an NGO.

Interestingly, the Civic 50 survey in the US has found that a majority of S&P 500 companies have increased their civic engagement and going ahead, a part of the performance review process could be based on an employee’s participation in community work. “Commitment to community is being institutionalized as a top priority throughout companies, while simultaneously increasing their revenue, recruitment and employee satisfaction,” the survey says. If the same trend becomes popular with India Inc, ‘giving back to the society’ can be the most inspiring part of your New Year’s resolution. Till then, we wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2014. Here is another chance to make things right, but only you can make it happen. As Turkish author Mehmet Murat ildan says – For a new year to bring you something new, make a move, like a butterfly tearing its cocoon! Make a move!