Friday, 1 January 2016


I is for Ideal

Definitions of Ideal
Adjective: satisfying one's conception of what is perfect; most suitable; existing only in the imagination; desirable or perfect but not likely to become a reality.
Noun: a person or thing regarded as perfect.


It is the first of January, 2016. Happy New Year! 
Most people will reflect on 2015 today – was it good or bad, or a mixture of ups and downs? Some people will be grateful that 2015 is over. They may even say, 'good riddance' to it. Those who have experienced a memorable year, full of happiness and achievements, may be sad that 2015 is over, and hoping that 2016 is just as wonderful. With our reflections, we will often make New Year's resolutions. Things we are going to change or give up in our lives, to make it better, to make it 'perfect'. Have you made any? The typical ones are exercise more, lose weight, spend less money, stop drinking or smoking… It may even be, buy a house, have a baby, get a new job... Many things can be thought of.
When we are making our resolutions, we are reflecting, consciously or subconsciously, about what would make the ideal world for us. It may be in our imagination, but we want to make it our reality. Would more money, a better marriage, a bigger house, better education, well behaved children and teenagers etc. etc, make your life better or easier in some way? I'm sure you have your list. 


Often though, the resolutions we make, with full intentions to follow through with them, last a week or two, then are forgotten about or given up on. They fit the definition of Ideal above, which says: desirable or perfect but not likely to become a reality.
This 2010 Daily Mail news article discusses this phenomena, citing Professor Wiseman’s explanation for why people fail.

Professor Wiseman, the author of 59 Seconds: Think A Little, Change A Lot, which was the Independent on Sunday’s 2010 paperback of the year, said: “All too often New Year’s resolutions fail because people try to do too much too soon and don’t seek the right support to help them achieve their goals.

“People who rely on willpower alone are much less likely to succeed than those who try other techniques like telling their friends, rewarding themselves for making progress and removing temptation from their surroundings.

“It is important that we use as much advice and support to see us through the New Year commitments, remembering that overall simple small changes work better and are more achievable in the long run.” Read more: 

Professor Wiseman states that it is lack of individual willpower. We cannot achieve our resolutions without support from others, rewards, removing temptation, seeking advice and making some achievable changes. These make sense.

Some practical examples of using Prof. Wiseman's recommendations for making our resolutions come to fruition, could be:
  • If we are a heavy smoker, it might be impossible for us to go cold turkey, but we could cut down the number of cigarettes a day.
  • If we want to do more exercise, maybe instead of setting the alarm earlier, which we will put on snooze and sleep through, park further from work, or at the far end of the shopping centre, so we are forced to walk more. Or have a walking buddy.
  • If we use our credit card too often, freeze it in a cup of ice, so when we want to buy something, we have to go home and defrost it – this cuts out impulse buying.
I personally think, instead of making half-hearted resolutions, form goals. The formation of goals will be more likely to lead us to change or take steps towards our ideal life. Make them realistic. Make them concrete and practical. There is no point having pie in the sky goals that are non-achievable. 

Here are some examples showing the difference between resolutions and goals:
Resolution: I want to write a book.
Goal: I will enrol in ….. writing course that I have researched about.
Resolution: I want to quit smoking.
Goal: I will buy one less packet of cigarettes a week.

Resolution: I want to spend less.
Goal: Instead of going to the shops on Saturdays, I will watch a movie or listen to music.

When forming your goals, don't make too many. Start with the ones you really want to achieve. Then:
  1. Write your goals down and stick them on your fridge or on your mirror, where you can see them everyday,
  2. Plan how you are going to achieve your goals. If they are practical, this should already be included, but if not, write down your plans. For example, if you want to study, but don't know which course, research, talk to people etc. 
  3. Do your goal. Words scribbled or typed neatly, on a piece of paper, won't do anything if you don't actually put effort into achieving them.
  4. If you fail, either keep on trying, or change your goal - it's okay. Remain positive.
  5. Tick off your goals when you have achieved them.
  6. Celebrate your achievements!
  7. Make some more. :)

And blessings for the year ahead.

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