Sunday, July 14, 2024

IN FOCUS :Self-upgrade – Sticking with New Year resolutions

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Martin Luther King once said: “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step”. The problem with most of us is our propensity to capture everything in one go. Every New Year, we hear people blurting out a dozen resolutions. The childlike enthusiasm to be a better person is appreciable; yet, it is quite rare for one to succeed in achieving all those New Year goals. The Pioneer’s Amartya Smaran gives the lowdown on what makes New Year resolutions work.

The origins of New Year resolutions date back to ancient Babylonians. Historically, Babylonians were the first civilization to celebrate New Year during mid-March. The Babylonians believed that the Gods would shower them with blessings if they fulfilled the promises made during the 12-day ‘Akitu’ New Year festival.

For many of us, the new-found enthusiasm to turn our life around in the month of January wanes by February. It is true: you genuinely wanted to cut down on your smoking and drinking, shed a few inches around the waist, work on broken relationships, and perhaps sing better. Still, the motivation lasts only for a few days or at the most a month.

The innate desire to bounce back from a previous failure on a significant landmark festivity, date, month, or year such as the New Year, the beginning of the month, etc., is known as the ‘Fresh start effect’. This enables people to compare their previous performance and gives them a window of opportunity to do better in life.

“People often look at their shortcomings from the past year and try to make up for them using strategies in the name of resolutions in the New Year”, remarks psychologist Vidya. “Generally, most of us fail to keep track of our New Year resolutions. One needs to set up SMART(specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound) goals to succeed in accomplishing them. Procrastination is another reason why people fail.”

She adds: “Let us all remember WHO’s definition of health. Health is nothing but the physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being of a human being. We are all trying to make up for our physical health, but we are not taking care of our mental health. If your mental health is in check, the rest will follow. We, psychologists, are doing everything that we can to raise mental health awareness among the younger generations.This year, I request people to pay attention to their mental health to improve their overall quality of life.”

With the increasing number of heart attacks, diabetes as well as obesity cases in India, more and more people are enrolling themselves in gymnasiums to work on their overall physique. However, according to WHO, 80% of adolescents and 27% of adults do not match the recommended levels of physical activity. At the beginning of every year, all the gyms across the country witness heavy footfalls.The urge to burn that extra fat or to build a good body shoots through the roof as we make a segue into the New Year. As per fitness gurus, this unwavering focus doesnot last long enough to see tangible results. In this report, experts help us decode the phenomenon of New Year’s resolutions and people share their goals for 2023.

According to Kolluri Samson Azaraiah, who is an internationally certified optimal health care professional, the New Year period is the best time for all the gyms in the country as they register heavy footfalls with respect to annual subscriptions. As a result of it, gyms generate great revenue in the first few months of the year.

“I think people should focus on making fitness their lifestyle and not think of it as some sort of a resolution,” says Azaraiah. “Being healthy is a tough job. It requires a lot of dedication and hard work. A resolution is equivalent to a revolution.The true meaning of a resolution is that a person is making a commitment to change a part of their life forever.

Nowadays, people make a resolution to pay gym subscriptions on January 1 every year. One must be consistent to see results in the gym and it needs hard work and extraordinary commitment.”

The number of people who sincerely stick to their fitness goals is low in number. What sets apart truly successful men and women is their perseverance and consistency. Come what may, they remain compos mentis throughout the year and hit the target within no time.

With over 18 years’ experience in the fitness industry, Azaraiah observes: “We get around 200-300 registrations in the first week of January every year and sadly only 50 percent of them stick around. The rest show up whenever their weight hits the ceiling. By not being consistent, people are putting their bodies through a lot of pain. I am a trainer who looks forward to consistency and when I see people putting in the work to see results, that brings me immense joy. The moment someone starts falling off the wagon, it is very disheartening. I like working with people who are hell-bent on achieving their goals because that gives us trainers a sense of purpose. The issue always lies with the person, and they shouldnot expect results without putting in the work.”

The fitness expert continues: “My advice to everyone would be to keep their sleep and food cycles in check. Try your level best to maintain accurate timings as to when you sleep and eat your food. One must consume enough water and keep a track of their working hours. Most of them don’t have a life outside work.This year, I suggest people take a break from work life occasionally and do things that bring them happiness. Plan your life in such a way that you donot go off track. Be accountable to someone because it brings a sense of responsibility.”

Maria Singha, owner and fitness trainer at Maria’s Fitness Studio, comments: “Wanting to look and feel good is a part of today’s world. Everyone wants to look fit in whatever way possible. Fitness is a necessity these days. As human beings, we all tend to indulge a little; so, we take liberties when we have festivals. Right from August, we start off with our festivities which end in December. Though people are going for workouts during festivities, they arenot so regular. That is when they make resolutions to hit the gym regularly.”
Analyzing the trends pertaining to her own gym, Maria says: “Resolutions are a three-month fad. In three months, any exercise regime will give you the result you are looking for…

Based on the results, a few people may continue for another six months. I would say 20 percent of them would take it all the way and 40 percent would continue for six months and the rest would drop out. Now that mine is a lady’s fitness studio, I observe that women have a lot of commitments. There are many things that stop them from being consistent. However, my old clients who have stopped exercising are likely to make a comeback. For the first three months of the year, we see a lot of people flocking to the gym and the number dampens down by the end of March. A fun-filled workout is what everyone needs, and one should be excited to hit the gym. One must put everything aside and give at least an hour to exercising and this must be done throughout the year to achieve better results.”

Wasif, who heads ClubFit Studio, says that one must have discipline and resolutions can be taken at any point in time. He goes on to say that health should be the only valid reason for a person to stay fit. The trainer tells The Pioneer that only five percent of 100-odd clients who sign up for his training program in the month of January successfully make it to the fag end of the year.

“Fitness is not about business; it is about serving people and helping them get better physically and mentally. Sadly, people arenot paying attention to their health, and someone must push them hard to stay healthy,” shares Wasif.“This is very disrespectful to the management. Some people quit in the month of February. Does it hurt me to see people dropping out and not staying committed? It really doesnot because I already know that most of them are not going to stick to their plan. No matter what I have got to offer, it all depends on the client. So long as they are with me, I am here to help them out. We got to start taking care of our health in the best way possible. The human body is a precious gift- please take care of it.”

When we work hard enough on aspects that we want to improve in our lives, the unachievable seems plausible. Perseverance and consistency play a major role in accomplishing our resolutions.

A new day, week, or year might look like a good starting point, but at the end of the day, it boils down to our genuine and instinctive need to see ourselves in a better place. Let us not allow the drive within us to dry up drip by drip with the burdens that life throws at us. Rather we must carefully step on the throttle of life and manoeuver with caution and try to find a piece of ourselves along the way.

Starting afresh this year, people share their New Year aspirations and goals with The Pioneer:

My NY Resolution 2023: Be kind on social media (for all of us). I guess everyone who uses social media should strive to be in tune with strangers and respond to others on the internet with altruism and kind heartedness.

– Actress Urvashi Rautela

No, there are no such resolutions planned. Do not have much belief in them. But yes, I want to prioritise self-care more. I also want to be able to help as many people, children and animals in need, as much as in my capacity to do so.

– Actress Kavya Thapar

I have stepped into 2023 with a lot of excitement, curiosity, and resolutions that are kinder yet also push me to learn and grow toward a higher potential. As an actor, it’s really important to mold yourself into the character’s vessel. This year, I hope to take on more challenges and roles that encourage growth. To living in the moment, good work, a healthy professional life balanced with box office hits

– Actress Seerat Kapoor

My aim is to be fit, fitter, and fittest and I want to involve myself in yoga as I recently started doing yoga. It is all about self-care and this New Year I want to upgrade myself. I want a different version of myself, and I want to learn more languages.    

 – Yukti Kapoor, actress

Frankly, my resolutions rise after I learn a lesson in life and slowly fade away in time.

-Madhu Babu, director

To grow mentally, spiritually, and physically… for my mental health, I have decided to take some time offsocial networking platforms because although it has its positive sides there is a lot that goes into our mind and impacts our daily life, also decluttering stuff in my room to be able to have more space and free my mind from negativity

– Steffi Joseph, Amazon employee

I do not really have a resolution. I am going to go with the flow. I have recently gotten a promotion and I would like to fly abroad to further my career.

– Collin Varsha, IT employee

I have always wanted to build a good body and look like a model. Now that I have already started working out, I would like to keep up the momentum

– Srish, IT employee

I feel making resolutions is a farce, but one can achieve anything at any given point in time. I am simply going to take life as it comes and not expect much.

– Kapil Abhishay, Engineer

Honestly, did not set any goals as such for this year! Just going with the flow, however, aiming at becoming a more patient person and shall focus on working on myself to become better!

– Vaishnavi, entrepreneur

This year I decided not to make any resolutions. It’s always the first month or two that makes us feel determined to stick with the goals. I am working on a new mindset that everyday is a celebration and we have a lot to be grateful for. I’m going to make each day count with just as much enthusiasm as we at the beginning of a brand new year.          

– Sravanthi Juluri, artist

Being fit and self-development. I am going to give more time to myself and learn how to love myself better.

– Renato Richardson,

IT employee

Controlling my temper and reducing shopping are my resolutions. Also, my goal is to become financially stable.

– Veronica, IT employee

I made up my mind not  to depend on anyone mentally and physically for any support. Do my work whatsoever and how much soever I can do. This resolution includes my kids also. When we depend on anybody and in turn when they don’t understand or support us, we feel let down and it is better not to depend on anyone. Matter close

– Nirmala Mocherla, HR at Nugenes Company

I will keep it short. Prioritize my mental and physical health and earn more money

– Angad Bhatia, celebrity videographer

“2022 was a big miss for me. I wanted to work on a film but that didn’t work out. Whatever I did, everything went in vain. In spite of everything, I feel one needs to have hope. This year, irrespective of the outcome, I decided to work on all the things that I want to achieve.”

– Kartik, freelance photographer

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