New year, new you?

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” – Oprah Winfrey

It’s 2017! Happy New Year! All the atrocities that happened in 2016 is now behind us yeay 😣.

Talking about the new year, we all know that a new year symbolises new resolutions. The vision of becoming a better person in light of a new era of a new year is what most of us think of as we watch the fireworks and countdown to the cheers of a “Happy New Year”. As people, I believe we always strive and yearn to become a better person. We might not be able to achieve it due to a lack of motivation and will, but the desire is always there.

What are your new year resolutions this year? Start going to the gym? Start eating healthy and waking up early?
And the more important question, how do you ensure you will stick to it?
I will write on how to make resolutions that you will be able to follow through

1 . First – reflect on the previous year ⌛️
It might seem such a cliche thought. But how do you aim to move forward before reflecting back on what you need to improve right? Think through 2016 (and previous years) what could you have done better? What were you not satisfied of? A good example of this would be what were last year’s resolution that you didn’t manage to keep? If you didn’t have a new year resolution beside surviving the year (which is fair enough considering on how bad 2016 was 😂), then maybe think of other plans you had throughout the year that you did not go through.

Spend a good while reflecting, give time for it. This is an underestimated part of resolution-making (or any plan-making to be fair).

2. Find a few concrete resolutions
There isn’t much point to making an entire list of 99 things you will do this year. Because to be fair – be real – you won’t be able to remember most of it 😂. So make a few (1 or 2) that you are really sure you want to do. At least when there is only 1 or 2 you know that you can’t forget it (well at least I hope you don’t).

3. Make sure your goals are SMART.
I’m so sure you have all heard of SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound. Let’s go through that one-by-one:
a. Specific – Make sure your goals are specific enough. Don’t give yourself lee-way to find loop-holes throughout the year. If you want to go to the gym every week for example –  how long are you going to spend at the gym? doing what exercises? Break it down to e.g. running for 30 minutes, cycling for 30 minutes, 5 minutes for reps for example. That way you have no reason to dilly dally having to plan something else out again. The more specific, the better.
b. Measurable – How do you know that you have achieved what you have wanted in the new year? Make sure it’s a tangible goal. If you want to lose weight, don’t just say that you want to lose a bit of fat here and there, take measurements (weight, etc.) This partially holds yourself accountable of doing what you want. Additionally, having a tangible goal is so fulfilling when you have achieved it and makes you feel even better about yourself.
c. Achievable – Please set realistic goals. It’s ok to be ambitious but know your limits. If you want to start volunteering this year and you want to be a little ambitious and say you want to go overseas for a 3 months trip to Africa that’s all good as long as you plan it and know you can do it. Don’t just say that you want to start a charity this year that has branches in 100 different countries (ok that is extreme. But i’m sure you understand what I mean. Wait unless you already have so much contacts and you’re already a big philanthropist or something, please do go ahead if you are). It all depends on your capability and knowing your capabilities.
d. Relevant – Don’t just set a random goal if it doesn’t benefit anyone. I’m sure it will be fun but live for yourself and for others (obviously). I guess this is pretty self-explanatory.
e. Time-bound – I guess being a new year’s resolution sort of already make it a guaranteed that it needs to be done by the end of 2017. But of course if you have big plans (or if its a continuous change) then it can take longer than just a year. A tip for this to make sure that you continue your progress would be to make small time check-points (e.g. what you need to achieve by the end of every month or every 3 month). This will help you track your progress 🙂

Phew, wow that’s a long list.

4. Find a resolution that you really feel strongly for
It seems too ideal to find something that you know you need and you feel so passionate about. But if you do know that what you need to do is something you feel for strongly then that is great! Like if you know you love animals and you feel like you should volunteer in a pet shelter this year then that’s a perfect recipe for a successful resolution 🙂 There is a higher chance that you will stick to it.

But if you can’t find something that you want to do and something you know is necessary, at least find a new year’s resolution that you think you will find enjoyable somehow. If not, unto no 5…

5. Ask someone to keep track of your progress
Keeping yourself accountable to something always helps in going through with a plan. So how about you tell your friends about your resolutions (that might be something you absolutely hate but you know is good for you – like cutting down those takeaways and eat healthier). This way they can keep track of your progress and remind you whenever you have that temptation to have a sneaky takeout 😉. In turn you can keep track of their resolutions. That way you two (or even better do it in a group!) can motivate each other throughout the year to keep true to your resolutions.

Now make sure you find friends that are reliable and firm and don’t cave in to your pleading and puppy-dog eyes when you’re desperate 😅

6. If you really can’t think of a resolution, then ask your friend to challenge you to something!
Sometimes you really just can’t think of something that you should do this year. Well, if that’s the case, ask your friend to challenge you. You might not realise that sometimes your friends know you better than you think you do (like all  those bad habits that you deny to acknowledge 😝). So ask them to set a challenge for you to do this year and make sure you update them about it so that they know too that you are doing it! This is a good and fun way to keep to your new year’s resolution. Again, doing it in a group also makes it even more exciting!

7. Last but not least – brace yourself. Prepare yourself mentally, physically, etc for the task of having a new resolution. If you yourself is not into it and is not fully committed there is no point to even begin. Mind over matter remember! So make sure to put your full effort into it!

“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been. – Rainer Maria Rilke”

Those are my tips for you to meet your new year’s resolutions! All the best, good luck and as always, i hope you always follow your heart, and find your passion. Especially in this new year! Wish everyone a happy, fulfilling and memorable 2017! 😊

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. – Ralph Waldo Emerson”

Maintaining Long Distance Friendships

“Though miles may lie between us, we are never far apart. For friendship doesn’t count miles, it’s measured by the heart”

I think those of you that read this would know that I have moved around quite a bit in my life. With this, comes the amazing opportunities to make so many new friends from all over the world. It’s a huge blessing and I am eternally grateful for it. However, there is one downside to it – I would never have that particular friend who I have been friends with since kindergarten.

Over the years, I have finally come to realise that friendship (and relationships too but that will probably be for another day) takes a great deal of effort to be maintained – especially if you are no longer in the same country. For those of you who feel frustrated that they have distanced from their old friends, here are some tips that I hope helps you (cos it has helped me so far :))

1. Make the effort to contact them

This may seem very obvious (at least for the first 6 months when you’re apart but becomes less so the longer it is) but you do have to make that extra effort to contact them. Not having their number is no excuse nowadays 😉 (don’t forget facebook messenger/ email/ etc). Find whatever way you can and contact your old friends.

2. Reply with all your heart

It might seem tempting to not reply after a while because you are busy and the conversation might not be so interesting but do reply. Of course you will be busy with other things (especially when you live in different timezones. But you can always reply later on (a few hours later, or even days later) when you actually have the time to reply all your friend’s messages. This really shows that you are making the effort. Half-hearted messages are the worst because it shows that you are in fact feeling bothered by the messages and your friend might be hesitant in replying again after that.

3. Maintain regular contact

There are friends that you can only talk to for a few hours while there are those who you can have a conversation for years non-stop (I’m not even joking it has happened). So whatever the conversation length is, make sure you keep in regular contact with them. Check-up on them when you feel it’s appropriate (e.g every week/ every month). This shows how much you do still think of them.

4. Remember important dates/ events

This is another thing that helps to maintain the friendship. Of course it’s a given to remember your friend’s birthday – so I’m not talking about that. But do try to remember important events happening in their lives – exams/ presentations/ job interviews/ when they are going on holiday/ etc. This is not only a reason for you to talk to them (hey sometimes even the closest friends run out of topic right? :p) but also it shows that you remember about them even though you are halfway across the world (and trust me it matters :)). Another extra step you can take is to maybe send them a card/ note/ present (depending on the situation) for this specific event especially if you know that your friend will really need that extra support from you 🙂

4.1 (?) Mini tip (especially for those that have friends that are in different timezones)

search the timezones on google or put the specific timezones your friends are in in your phone so you don’t forget the time difference. It comes in handy when you want to wish your friends a happy birthday/ good luck at a specific time. Hopefully then you won’t end up missing the event completely which has happened more often that I’d like to admit for me and my friends unfortunately :/.

5. Plan something

If you have plans to visit your friends in the various countries/ at home this is one thing I have always found helpful. Through this you get to finally meet your friends again and catch-up with them. Often I feel that this will make your friends feel remembered even amongst the new friends that you have made.

 

I focused more on Long Distance Friendships here because I know how valuable friendship is especially when you are someone who moves around so much and don’t get the security of having that 1 friend that is always there (because hey you are not even in the same country). I will write on Long Distance Relationships sometime later. The most important thing I think to remember is that Long Distance Friendships (like all relationships) takes both sides to make the effort. If you are the only one making the effort it’s not going to work out. So don’t forget to make sure you and your friend is on the same page :).

Oh if it doesn’t work out the first time round, try again (if you believe the friendship is worth it). There is never a point where it is too late as long as you’re willing to take that extra step. I just recently reconnected with a friend that I lost contact with for 4 years and another that I lost contact with for 9 years :). So hopefully these tips will be useful to you. And if you have any of your own tips please let me know too 🙂 I would love to get some inputs.

Friends are treasures – don’t forget that 🙂

Follow your heart. Find your passion.