The end of the year brings us a time for reflection. It’s one last chance to take stock of what we’ve achieved and think about how our goals can be better accomplished next year. This is also the perfect opportunity to make some new, fresh resolutions that will help you break out from your old habits in 2018! Not sure where to start? Here are ways you can set yourself up for success by making resolutions designed specifically with your personality type in mind!.
Making resolutions is a practice that people have used for generations to better themselves.
Someone may make a resolution to lose ten pounds, stop smoking, or write in their notebook every day at the start of the year or at any moment during it.
However, as has been repeatedly stated, the majority of such goals are not met.
Only 8% of individuals follow their New Year’s resolutions, according to some estimates. Those dismal figures are likely to hold true for resolutions started at other periods as well.
Should you, like many others, believe that resolutions are meaningless and stop making them completely because of this failure rate?
No. Resolutions may be effective. All you have to do now is produce better ones. Those who are unbreakable.
Gandhi and Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, a 19th-century Prussian aristocrat, can teach us how.
Unbreakable Resolutions Have Three Characteristics
Gandhi is most certainly someone you are familiar with. Probably not, Hermann von Pückler-Muskau.
Pückler-Muskau was a colorful figure who did the things a Prussian nobleman would do — paint, go to the theater — but also lived a considerably more intriguing, daring, and adventurous life than his colleagues. He served in the army as a cavalry officer, rose to prominence as a landscape designer, walked through Europe, toured North Africa, and authored books about his adventures.
While he and Gandhi had quite different lives, Russell Powell, Rodney Schmaltz, and Jade Radke (hence referred to as PSR) of MacEwan University in Alberta argue that they had very similar approaches to making and sustaining resolutions. Both guys virtually always did what they claimed they were going to do.
PSR discovered that the success of the Indian politician and the Prussian prince in fulfilling their goals wasn’t a question of willpower after examining their lives. It wasn’t so much about the men’s personal qualities as it was about the qualities of the resolutions they made. PSR claims that the following three characteristics transform a normal resolution into one that is almost unbreakable:
1. Unbreakable resolves have a unique appearance.
According to PSR, there was a “‘clear line barrier’ between unbreakable resolves and other forms of resolutions, commitments, and intentions” for both Gandhi and Pückler-Muskau.
Unbreakable resolutions are distinguished from conventional resolutions by the fact that they involve genuine existential and spiritual risks.
Gandhi referred to his decisions as vows, and he used them when deciding to fast or refrain from sex. Making resolutions was not the same as setting goals for him. It was a religious observance. This is serious business, and it should not be taken lightly.
His decisions were dubbed “great expedients” by Pückler-Muskau. He endowed these obligations with spiritual stakes, much like Gandhi. When the prince devised a huge scheme, he regarded his “soul’s wellbeing” to be on the line. As a result, he only produced them with care and consideration.
2. Regardless of the resolution’s exact aim, keeping the resolution is highly reinforcing, whereas breaking the resolve is extremely aversive.
Because Gandhi and Pückler-Muskau placed actual weight in their goals, following through on them was very gratifying, while shirking them was extremely stressful. They couldn’t take the thought of being seen as guys who broke their pledges. The prince articulated his disbelief at the concept as follows:
If I could break it after such careful thinking, I would lose all respect for myself — and what sensible man would not prefer death to such a fate? Because death is a natural occurrence and hence not a bad thing… A sense of one’s own unconquerable weakness, on the other hand, is a sentiment that must taint one’s whole existence. When it comes to the fight, it is thus preferable to give up life for the time being with an inner victory than to continue with a chronic soul sickness.
3. Unbreakable resolves are considered as a gadget or tool that, if properly maintained, may be used in the future to achieve a range of high-valued outcomes.
Another factor that encouraged Gandhi and Pückler-Muskau to follow their resolutions was the way they considered them as instruments, or “weapons,” as the latter put it. They may be sharpened and strengthened, or ignored and damaged, just like any other tool.
Both men realized that each time they maintained a resolution, it would be easier to keep future resolutions; conversely, each time they violated a resolution, it would be simpler to break future resolutions. If they stick to the former, they may achieve their objectives and find their life’s purpose; if they stick to the latter, they may abandon resolves totally, therefore permanently losing a key instrument for personal growth.
How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions
While the study on the effectiveness of unbreakable resolves is still in its early stages, what has been done so far “indicates that some people find them to be extremely effective,” and PSR has developed numerous suggestions on how to effectively implement them:
Make an unbreakable vow to do at least one activity that day that you may not otherwise finish at the start of the day (or the night before) in some extremely unique fashion.
The contrast between an unbreakable determination and a regular intention — the idea that your soul and self-respect are on the line, and that it must be done at any costs — is the most significant of the three traits.
You may not believe that you can just decide to invest a resolve with existential consequences, but you’d be shocked how effectively this works.
Make sure your unbreakable resolutions are well-thought-out. “The cryptic formula is not pronounced” until Pückler-Muskau was entirely persuaded of the need for action and of his personal commitment to it. Once you’ve made a resolution, make it a matter of holy honor to maintain it.
Recognize your limitations and begin small.
Both Gandhi and Pückler-Muskau thought that vows or large undertakings should be undertaken only if they 1) suit one’s nature and 2) are within one’s constraints.
The prince wrote:
Every man, on the other hand, must govern himself according to his own nature; and, just as no one has yet discovered the skill of making a reed grow like an oak or a cabbage grow like a pineapple, men must cut their coat according to their fabric, as the popular but sensible phrase goes. Happy is he who does not put his faith in himself beyond his capabilities!
Taking “vows that are above one’s capabilities [which] would show thoughtlessness and lack of balance,” Gandhi cautioned. Instead, it was preferable to “start with basic and uncomplicated vows and work up to more complex ones.”
To begin, utilize unbreakable resolutions to tackle the dreaded “life admin” responsibilities like completing taxes, filling out forms, and responding to emails. Pückler-Muskau succeeded admirably:
In little matters, [a] big expedient is of excellent utility. For example, to fulfill tedious, irksome societal duties with the calm resignation of a victim — to conquer indolence in order to get vigorously through some long-deferred work — to impose some wholesome restraint on oneself, thereby heightening one’s enjoyment afterwards — and many, many more such cases that this occasionally sublime, but generally childish life presents.
Recognize that impediments may develop that force a resolve to be abandoned; in other words, resolutions may be conditional. However, they should be the exceptions rather than the rule.
While you should do all you can to uphold your unbreakable commitment, Gandhi and Pückler-Muskau both recognized that exceptions may be made in exceptional situations.
The former believed that “a commitment may be made conditional without losing any of its effectiveness or virtue,” and that breaking a promise might be permissible if “one is traveling or sick,” for example.
Pückler-Muskau was stricter with his exceptions, allowing “nothing short of physical impossibility” to deter him.
If you mistakenly violate a resolve without good cause, impose a punishment on yourself.
If you breach a pledge or a major expedient, you must do some type of penance or punishment to emphasize the seriousness of your decisions and to reclaim your own feeling of legitimacy.
This concept was based on Gandhi’s Hindu faith. “He should perform prayaschitta [penance or atonement] and remind himself of the promise if he forgets his commitment at any point,” the ethicist wrote.
Breaking an unbreakable resolve may need repentance/confession for a Christian.
PSR advises nonbelievers to “make up for the transgression by doing something difficult or unpleasant.” It may be as easy as having a cold shower or refraining from drinking coffee for a day.”
But keep in mind that the aim is to never fail to keep an unbreakable commitment since every time you do, you increase your chances of failing again.
In addition to following the four principles outlined above, PSR suggests that you keep your unbreakable commitments to yourself at first. Instead, keep your mouth shut about them and go back to work. There’s something to be said about keeping your ambitions to yourself.
They also suggest jotting down your unbreakable commitment in a dedicated notebook or posting a moral reminder about it around the home. The goal is to keep it as close to the forefront of your consciousness as possible.
You’ll not only find yourself progressing as a man as you set and follow unbreakable goals, but you’ll start feeling as Pückler-Muskau described:
I find it quite satisfying to think that man has the ability to construct such props and weapons out of the most insignificant materials, if not out of nothing, just by the force of his will, proving that he really deserves the title of almighty.