ONE, AND STICK TO IT!
NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS
---By Aphrodite Hua Translated
by Annie Liu
You're going to lose weight. You're
going to quit smoking. You'll stop eating junk food
and munch on salads instead. While you're at it, you're
going to do your bit for the planet by recycling more
and using your car less.
New Year's Resolutions are traditionally
made at the stroke of midnight on December 31, just
as the New Year is born. But, more often than not, people
living in Western countries announce their goals for
the coming year a few days later--after realizing just
how much they've drunk, how much they've spent, and
how much weight they've gained over the Christmas season.
Many Taiwanese make wishes each Lunar
New Year, typically for health, happiness, prosperity,
and success. The custom of New Year Resolutions--promising
oneself that you'll break a bad habit, or develop a
good one--isn't common here. But given the Valentine's
Day craze, and the growing popularity of Christmas,
it may yet catch on.
In addition to getting in shape and
kicking addictions to cigarettes or coffee, common New
Year goals include learning a new skill, watching less
TV and using the time gained to read serious literature,
and getting into the habit of going to bed before midnight.
Many resolutions are money-oriented: Make more, spend
less, save more, get out of debt.
Making a resolution is easy. Sticking
to it is, of course, much more difficult. There are
plenty of self-help gurus who are willing to help, for
a fee of course. What they have to say can be boiled
down to seven key points...
Use your social support network--your
friends. Find a buddy or co-worker with the same goal
e.g. quitting smoking. Meet regularly, share your difficulties,
and give each other encouragement. This is similar to
the way Alcoholics Anonymous works
As far as possible, remove temptation
and negative influences from your life, and replace
them with more positive influences. Hang out with people
who don't smoke if you want to quit cigarettes. If you're
trying to lose weight, get rid of the Haagen-Dazs in
your freezer, and don't wander into 7-Eleven just because
you're feeling bored.
Set interim goals and reward yourself
when you achieve them. If you want to lose 10 kilograms,
treat yourself to a little extravagance when you're
halfway there--a movie or new shoes (but not a meal
in a fancy restaurant, for obvious reasons).
Keep a record of your progress. It'll
help you stay motivated when you're feeling down (because
you'll see how far you've come), and it'll shame you
into trying harder if you lapse.
Write down the reasons why you want
to stick to your resolution; keep a copy in your wallet
or handbag, and put another copy in a place where you'll
see it at least once a day. Be blunt: "Eat better,
or end up diabetic like Uncle John."
Plan ahead. Where are you going to buy
the healthier food you want to eat? When and where are
you going to do exercise? How will you wake yourself
up in the morning without coffee?
Don't despise yourself if you never
reach your final goal. If you can't quit altogether,
cutting down on cigarettes and alcohol is still very
worthwhile. If you can't slim down to the point where
you'd happily show your body off in a bikini, remember
that losing some weight is still beneficial.
Whatever your New Year's Resolution,
do your best!
"Instead of listening
to pop music
on the train to work, I'm goin
g to use my MP3 player to listen to
and learn about classical music."
--Gloria Liang, 26
"Three days a week,
I'm going to go to
work by bicycle instead of motorcycle--
for my sake and the environment's."
--John Martindale, 36
"On March 16, one
of my best friends
died of lung cancer. I gave up smoking
two weeks later. Now I'm going to
help every smoker I know quit."
--Tim Lin, 35
"I'm going to create
a beautiful garden
on my apartment's balcony."
--Aphrodite Hua, "not quite 30"