Have a New Year resolution? Here’s how you can keep at it
Sakshi Malik, first Indian female wrestler to win a medal at the Olympics
My Resolution: As a sportsperson I am physically fit as I train throughout the year and eat right. This year, to further enhance my physical and mental wellbeing I am adding yoga to my schedule, and plan to focus more on it. My workout schedule varies everyday. I do weight training twice a week, thrice a week I do wrestling matches, speed training… The duration of my training is usually two-and-a-half to three hours in the morning and evening.
Do you want to get fitter this year? It is important to get some form of exercise for one’s overall wellbeing. For those wanting to get into fitness this year, maybe you can start slow with yoga or an early morning walk, or jog. And gradually graduate to running or a style of workout you enjoy.
Mental wellbeing is as important as being physically fit and active. Keep the mind calm, keep it free of negative thoughts. For me, when I get nervous before a big competition, I think of all the matches where I performed well and what I did right, and these things help me fight off anxiety. I listen to music and find it therapeutic. Family also plays a vital role. When I feel low, I talk to them. Conversations help, they help me feel positive. Sometimes, if I am distracted or depressed, I talk to a psychologist.
To be more productive, I suggest people think of a goal and focus on ways to achieve it this year. Meditate on it, see how you are progressing and what else needs to be done, work towards the target, and ultimately achieve it. That gives a feeling of achievement which feels great.
Shraddha Srinath, actor
My resolution: My physical goal for this year would be to enjoy the process of being physically active. To not have any expectations from my body but only to know and believe that like any other thing in life like investments or relationships, we need to make a long-term commitment to our health, to really reap its benefits. Some days are great because you have the time and mental space to fit in an activity; some others are not so great because you’re swamped with work and exhaustion. It’s okay to take a break and to understand your body’s requirements for rest. And I feel the best way to stay consistent is to really enjoy whatever activity you pick.
It’s important to not feel guilty if I miss a work-out, to pat myself on the back even if I decide to just walk for half an hour because it’s so easy to choose not to do anything at all. Sometimes life happens and things don’t go as planned but to never get disheartened. and stick to your goals. To listen to your body and to have a disciplined mind.
Do you want to heal and grow? My mental goal would be to be more regular with therapy. I can’t emphasize enough on how important it is to talk to a professional on a regular basis. Most, if not all of our personalities are a result of some form of trauma and it’s important to acknowledge that and to heal and to grow in the right direction. Therapy means laying bare your soul and speaking uncomfortable truths, but it’s the only way to be at ease with oneself.
Sangeetha Madhu, clinical psychologist
My Resolution: We must cultivate our garden, inside ourselves and within our mind, said Voltaire. I wish to start the new year by being kinder to the planet, people and myself. I start my day on a positive note with gratitude, and am working on being more present with loved ones, drawing inspiration from my octogenarian mother, who is the epitome of joie de vivre.
Do you want to cope with stress better this year? Healthy living, for me, is wherein I can manage a 45-minute workout, enjoy good quality sleep, share a healthy meal with family, and some me-time through meditation, pursue hobbies, connect with Nature, meet colleagues and friends outside of work.
As we continue to endure digital distractions and isolation, setting boundaries and making a conscious deliberate attempt to focus on digital, social, emotional, and physical well-being is the key to a happy and hopeful future. Prioritising social connections, work/ life integration and healthy stress coping strategies are vital in creating a supportive community.
At an individual level, it is important to be open to our emotions, even difficult ones. Maintain a thought journal, building awareness of the present moment, and develop psychological safety and flexibility to deal with adversity and build resilience. Mental health is health. It is not binary but rather a continuum. Hence, prioritising mental wellness is no longer a luxury but a necessity to achieve holistic health.
Chiki Sarkar, publisher and founder at Juggernaut Books.
My Resolution: I never make new year’s resolutions – this is the secret to my sanity. I have five or six things that I want to do in my life: to be healthier, for example. But I work on those through the years. Twinkle Khanna, who is one of our authors, suggests keeping the bar low for a successful new year’s resolution. I don’t set a bar at all.
Do you want to read more? If you are not a reader, start by reading the type of books that you used to like reading as a kid. So, if you liked comics, read them. If you read thrillers, do that. You don’t have to read War and Peace now. Also, set aside 30 minutes before bedtime to read. That is what I do. Don’t worry about pleasing others or impressing people. Keep it simple. Let your brain and body get used to sitting still with a book.
If you want to turn your child into a reader, make it a daily ritual: we read to the kids every night. Till they are three don’t read the words verbatim. Tell the story yourself, using the pictures. After they turn three or four, they will engage with the actual text.
Read what you find comfort in, what you feel is easy. I am a voracious reader – last year I had a lot of bad news in my life, and I read more than I had in a long time. I read serious non-fiction, crime thrillers, fiction…
(as told to Priyadarshini Paitandy, Gautam Sunder, Gowri S and Shonali Muthalaly)