How to Resist the Temptation of Breaking Your New Year’s Resolution

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By Himmat Shaligram, EMTV News, Port Moresby

Our New Year resolutions are exactly like sticky, gooey sweets, marshmallows. Delayed gratification is the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a later reward. The Stanford Marshmallow Test is a popular example where a child is offered a choice between a small reward, one marshmallow which they can avail immediately or a bigger reward, two marshmallows if they wait for 15 minutes.

In over 600 children who took part in the experiment, a minority ate the marshmallow immediately. Of those who attempted to delay, one third deferred gratification long enough to get the second marshmallow.

There is something about marshmallows that even adults can resist. The guaranteed satisfaction what gets us to rip open that K7 packet and binge eat all of them. The packet also comes with add dissatisfaction of our body and how fat we have become. Keeping that packet unopened is the resolution that millions across promise themselves each year. Some do make it a few days, some even a few weeks but it’s the will minded that make it months.

With three weeks to NYE, my friend circle started talking about resolutions and why keeping it a constant is so hard. I listened to their resolutions and most of them were something they have never attempted before. I had read somewhere that it takes 3 weeks to form a habit so I thought why to wait for the year to start and then create a habit. Why not start now and if I keep that habit in check. After some thought, my 2018 resolution became to exercise one hour every day for the first three months of the year. My apartment building has a squash court so I decided to pick up squash as a hobby and played for 1 hour every day.

This is what I learned from starting resolutions early:

Keep it simple.

Your resolutions do not need to be extravagant or insanely difficult to achieve. If your goal is to lose 10 kilos in three months, break your goal down into weeks and keep a constant check on it. Make yourself a calendar and mark your weight at the end of each week. The calendar will serve as a motivation for you every day. These mini-goals when achieved should be used as a milestone to reward yourself.

In my case, I wanted to be physically active so that I don’t put on something called “holiday weight”. Coming home during vacations and having a mother who makes excellent food is a problem. You want to eat everything she makes but you also don’t want to get fat. Squash was my way to keep my body in check. In one hour of squash, an individual can burn up to 1000 calories. I was happy with that number and kept on eating.

Research about it

Make an active decision more about your resolution. If you want to gain muscle but don’t like to lift heavy weights, learn about exercising with your body weight or start lifting things which don’t look like weights. For example, my mother was never a found of those bulky weights to do tone your biceps or triceps. When she started, she could only lift up to 0.5 or 1 kg max so she started using half-liter water bottles as a way to get used to the weight. She did for a few weeks and then switched to weights. This was a few months ago. Now, she lifts 3kgs on a daily basis.

The majority of my entertainment comes from watching YouTube videos and following creators and I usually watch videos before I sleep. I switched to watching professional squash matches instead. I immersed myself in watching how the players hit the ball and started using some of their tactics in the matches I played. Winning a match with those techniques gives you the satisfaction that something that you learned has been put forward in practice.

Reward yourself

Rewarding yourself does not mean that you go berserk and eat a tub of ice-cream. Purchase something small that showcases that you have progressed and kept your resolution. Don’t do this very early in the year as well. That reward should also serve as a daily reminder that you did this every day for X number of days and motivate you to continue it.

I rewarded myself in the first week by purchasing new racquet grips and squash balls. It was something that I needed to play better and the new grip was a distinct reminder of my progress so far.

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I am in my fifth week of playing squash for one hour every day and I am very happy that I have not deviated from my goal so far. I have reached a point where I am excited to come back from work and see my squash racquet on my dining table, ready to start a practice and play a few matches. I still get to eat the awesome food at home and I know in the back of my head that I can burn off calories the next day.

The key to keeping a resolution active is not to start early but to be completely involved in the process of achieving it. Understanding it, researching about it, finding out about what else you can do be motivated and of course, rewarding yourself.

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