Rayhan Ahmed Topader:
And just like that, it’s 2018. Where did 2017 go? All we can remember is a mash up of Trump, Brexit and Meghan Markle.With January comes the opportunity to start afresh, and people around the world resolve to change something in their lives for the better.According to a recent YouGov poll, the most popular New Year’s resolutions for 2018 are as follows:These resolutions were found after YouGov asked a sample of 1,170 adults what their 2018 resolution would be. Like other years, eating better, exercising and saving money topped the list.However, another recent poll by Bupa asked 2,000 people whether they were confident they would stick to their goals only half thought they would. So what’s the best way to stick to your New Year’s resolutions?Whether you are trying to eat better, sleep more or read more books, the key is to make the goal achievable, or break it up into smaller, more achievable steps.For example, if your New Year’s resolution is to exercise more often don’t throw yourself into exercising five times per week. You don’t even need to join a gym. Go for a half an hour walk or jog before work or when you get home three times a week or do a half an hour of body weight-based session in your home.This will get you into the habit of exercising, and so you can increase the amount you exercise as you get fit and join the gym when you’re ready and know you can commit.It is always better to set our goals on New Year’s Day, and pursue the same for success, taking lessons from the past shortfalls. After all, life means movement towards a desired direction and he who does not know where he is going keeps on moving without going.We are all perturbed by Rohinga issues and increasing evil-doing in society due to erosion of ethics and values, and seek suitable solution for the same.We all have personal problems too.It is easier to fix socio-economic agenda for infrastructu ral growth or sustainable development with increase in GDP.It is also not difficult to set goals for personal issues, and social problems like eradication of child marriage, illiteracy or evils of communalism. But our real resolution must relate to ourselves, our own internal progress on which our reaction to external happenings are subservient, but about which we are rather negligent.The greatest discovery of human beings during the last century concerns our understanding that by changing our internal well- being we can change our own life as well as that of others. So our New Year resolution must relate to our own intense personal development and should be specific to our self-development.Most of us think that we are the embodiment of development and we have nothing to develop for us and development is needed only in external affairs.We are not cautious about our own strength, weakness, opportunities and threat perceptions. Some of us are keen to be carried away by the stream of life or driven like a dead leaf by the wind. Such mindset may be relevant for inanimate objects, whereas a living organism must have a specific agenda for growth. All of us know that we must have definite, clear and written resolutions with plan for accomplishment.But why do we not set the same? Generally, we have a pessimistic attitude in view of the pitfalls rather than the possibilities.We also have a tremendous sense of failure and we are ashamed of being ridiculed by the people around us which hurts our ego. Most of us do not have any higher ambition in life with cherished value system for a fulfilled life.Our own myopic thinking prohibits our progress. Most of us are not internally driven by aspiration because of low self-esteem. More often than not we are carried away by procrastination. Many of us want to do many good things but never start, and live the life of going to do but die with nothing done. The history of humanity is the history of people with a lot of talent and possibility which were never brought into play.We are always in the habit of postponing things for tomorrow and that tomorrow never comes as everyday comes to us as today. In Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot we find a refrain, “Godot told me to tell you that he is not coming today, but surely tomorrow.” And till the end of the play the same promise was repeated but that tomorrow never came.If we look back into our own life we will be ashamed of finding how much we have lost due to sheer postpone ment of efforts and hopes.So in the New Year we must change our focus on priorities and look for the positive things to work out. There is also a need to make a habit of doing things right now. What is left for tomorrow is seldom done.William James of Harvard University said, “If you are going to change your life, you need to start immediately and do it flamboyantly.We must resolve to get into continuous education programme which need not necessarily mean formal education. Education is continuous reconstruction of human experiences. We must take lessons from life. The world is moving very fast and we need to keep us updated without searching for excuses. At the same time we must keep us away from negative influences which are tremendously catching and easily available in the environment.We must keep in mind the purpose of life, as purposelessness in all we do produces a state of emptiness. We cannot afford to sit back and watch things happen, there is a need to strive for achievement of a noble purpose in life. Let us remember what Jenette Cole said, We cannot help ourselves without helping others. We cannot enrich our lives without enriching others. We cannot prosper without bringing prosperity to others. Sustainable development cannot come in isolation to us only or to a few, it has to cover all. Otherwise it becomes self-destructive sooner or later.Many people are obsessed with amassing money for the sake of happiness. But they forget that the most beautiful things in life cannot be bought with money but will have to be felt in the heart. Money can bring only amusements but not happiness. It can buy a bed but not sound sleep. We can buy books but not wisdom. Money can attract companions but not real friends. We can buy a house but not home with peace and affiliation.We can buy food but no appetite, medicine but no health. In fact in our senseless pursuit for more money we tend to forget the true purpose of having money and make our life more miserable.There is a need for us to be internally driven by values and empowered by knowledge.Everyone has the will to win but very few have the will to prepare for winning the battle of life. It requires reflection, planning, action, prayer and constant motivation with an instinct for success. There is a need to take risk, responsibility, and perpetual refinement of life on ethical lines.Those who compromise on integrity and empathy attract their dues as per natural law of justice which never fails to deliver even to the cleverest of the clever. He is the cleverest who bothers for self-improvement on ethics and values. He is the most intelligent who seeks permanent peace beyond trivial short-lived ego-satisfaction. He is the wisest who does not build castles in the air of worldly existence.T S Eliot lamented, Where is the Life we have lost in living?Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?However, if you are tackling a larger goal like finding a new job or making new friends, this will require more effort. Finding a new job takes time so always keep your eyes open for job adverts and set aside time to apply. Making new friends is also hard to do in a big city, but the best way to go about it is joining a group or team (think a book club or a sports team) to find like-minded people.New Year’s resolutions don’t need to be daunting, you just need to be proactive about it. While we might not think there is enough time in our days to achieve our goals, just 20 minutes per day working towards your resolution can make all the difference.