New Year Resolutions: Why our plans fizzle out.

New Year Resolutions: Why our plans fizzle out.

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So, finally 2019 is here–sparkling and glittering with its newness, infusing us with the hope and vigour to make it a success story. I am sure most of us have decided on some new resolutions and promised to stick to those and fulfil them by the end of the year. Right?

But, as we all are so aware, all those grand resolutions are going to fizzle out by the end of the second week of January, itself! Or, may be by the end of January. And, we will find ourselves back where we started…wondering why we failed to stick to our plans and questioning our tenacity. By February, we will vow to stick to our resolutions the next year, come what may!

But, do you think we will succeed in 2020, either? I bet not.

Why do you think this happens? Why do our grand plans fizzle out? Why do we forget all about our resolutions to turn a new leaf in the new year just days after we start?

I think, the reason is, that we make resolutions that are too ambitious and grand to handle. Seldom do we assess ourselves, our capabilities and our limits before making those resolutions.

Someone, who might wish to reduce weight, might decide to stay off sweets, altogether; enrol at a gym and workout like crazy; follow a diet to get the figure they so wish.

Someone might decide to work towards that promotion they so seek and slog night and day.

And, someone else might decide to live a more fulfilling life where they spend more time with their families and discover themselves, follow their passions, because, well… YOLO! I mean, You Only Live Once! ( I was so unaware of the meaning of YOLO till sometime back!).

But, is it that easy?

Being strict with your diet, hitting the gym regularly….can all get frustrating after a while because you never know when Life might throw in some surprises or test your commitment. All of our best laid plans could fly right out the window!

Or, in our quest to reach ahead in the “race”, we would neglect our health, our sleep and our family and if things don’t go as we expect–which is what usually happens– we could very well end up depressed.

And, people who wish to live a more fulfilling life with their families and all, can definitely achieve it, provided they place their smartphones and other gadgets under lock and key once they are home. But, do you think you can resist the temptation of checking the notifications on those hundreds of social media platforms to see how many people approve of you and the stuff you share?

You might do it for a day or two, but then will just give in to the urge to grab that phone and forget all about discovering yourself. Such is the control our gadgets have over us.

So, all the enthusiasm with which we begin the new year starts to wane and our singleminded devotion towards fulfilling our resolutions begins to peter out. We do make a few feeble attempts at getting our mojo back, but in vain. And, soon, we fall into the rut we all were so used to earlier. Life takes over along with the uncertainties She brings our way and we realise we will never be able to win over Life and Her big plans!

WHAT WE NEED TO DO INSTEAD

This year, I decided to make a few goals to follow; goals that I haven’t labelled as “resolutions”; goals which would be doable and easy on me and my mind. After all that happened in my Life since 2017, all I need today is peace of mind. That’s all. I am not at all trying to be overly ambitious, or enthusiastic, or anything. All I am looking for is the elusive peace, and how to make it a part of my life, and thus these goals.

So, I jotted down a few things that I needed to make a part of my everyday life. Little things, really, like…

Simple, doable things that are sure to change my outlook towards Life, make me a stronger person, calm me during the tiresome, stressful moments and yes, build a solid support system that I so need.

Of course, it is not easy, for instance, to accept Life as it is, or believe in myself when things aren’t going my way. I am human, after all. But, being grateful for whatever I have is bound to change that and give me a fresh new perspective about my Life, and that is exactly what I wish to achieve.

So, instead of coming up with resolutions we will never stick to, why not make smaller goals to work on on an everyday basis; goals that are easier to manage and do not burden us with expectations.

Here’s what you could do if you wish to fulfil your new year resolutions…

8 WAYS TO STICK TO YOUR RESOLUTIONS:

1. Take baby steps…make smaller goals that don’t tax your mind if you miss out once in a while. Remember, it’s okay to slip off the track once in a while. Make goals keeping this in mind.

2. Don’t be too strict with yourself as far as meeting your goals is concerned. I mean, suppose you decide to stay off sweets, then take it a day at a time and keep aside a day when you can cheat on your plan. Have a chocolate, or your favourite dessert–for the sake of your taste buds–and, then workout a bit extra the following day. But, then again, don’t overdo it. Bottom line is, care for your body, be considerate towards its limits.

3. If you wish to cut down on your smartphone use, set an alarm for 9 pm when you will switch off the WIFI and put the phone away. Do not switch it on as soon as you wake up. And, once you do switch on, time yourself. No more than 10 minutes to check whatever you wish to and as soon as your 10 minutes are up, switch it off again. Stay away from it for at least a couple of hours between every 10 minutes phone break you take.

4. If you have decided to exercise/workout everyday, do it in the morning beginning with just 15 minutes. After a week, increase it by 10 minutes. 25 – 30 minutes of exercise is more than enough. And, take a break on Sundays. Your body requires the rest.

5. Prepare a journal in which you note down your goals and how you manage to achieve them everyday. Be true to yourself. No cheating!

6. At the end of a week/ fortnight, if you find that you have been pretty consistent with working on your goals, reward yourself.

7. Remember to take life ONE DAY AT A TIME–this includes working on your goals, too!

8. And, finally, remember that you are NOT competing with anyone except yourself–your old self. So, don’t be a tyrant and drive yourself crazy over your goals. It will affect your mental health. And, if your mental health suffers, believe me, there’s no point working on any other aspect of your life.

So, what goals have you made for the new year? If you haven’t yet, I would suggest you give it a good thought, take everything into consideration and then decide what it is that you need to change. I am sure you will have a higher chance at succeeding at it!

Wish you the very best!

May you all have a happy, healthy and a peaceful New Year!

God bless!

Take care, coz I care…

Love,

SHILPA…

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EFFECTIVE WAYS TO FULFIL YOUR RESOLUTIONS

Little things that matter most!

Little things that matter most!

Someday, when I have all the money in the world, I will be happy!”

“Someday, when I will have achieved _________, I will be the happiest soul on earth!”

How often we promise ourselves that “someday” happiness will be ours!   When we will have accumulated all the wealth we need, or our dream job, or that perfect partner of our dreams, we will be happy.

But, what about until then?

Will we remain friends with sorrow and discontent until the “perfect” time comes along? Will we rue over how hopeless our circumstances are and keep brooding over Life’s injustice?

Has Life ever been “perfect”?

Of course, the grass always appears greener on the other side, so, of course people do live perfect lives – the kind we haven’t been blessed with!

And, with this attitude, we keep living sad, pathetic lives, blind to the countless joys we have actually been gifted!

In our hunger for the bigger things in Life, we ignore the little things that matter a lot more than we give them credit for.

I, too, yearn for a few things that will make me very happy.  Loads of money,  a few blogging awards, perfect health, no worries.  Ah! Life would, indeed, be perfect!

Sadly, though, that’s not how things will turn out. There will always be something missing. Some discontent. Some disillusionment. Loads of worries. So, why not look at that which I already have,  and count my blessings?

I made a list of 20 ‘little joys’ in my Life that make my world perfect. Little things that lie in plain view, but to which, at times,  I am blind. Things that actually matter a lot, and which would drastically change my world with their absence.

20 little things that make me happy –

1  Chatting with mom late into the night

2  Visiting my parents.

3  Chatting with hubby.

4  Getting pampered by Cookie (my pet parakeet) with all her love and attention. And, hearing her say, “Shippa!”

5   Playing, and getting into mock fights, with my  nephews

6   Knowing that my closest friends  know precisely when I need a shoulder to cry on, and when I deserve a kick on my backside.

7   Working on my written as well as art posts and receiving beautiful comments by bloggers I admire.

8  Enjoying my loneliness. Yes, loneliness, and not ‘solitude’, considering it was once the most dreaded part of my life!

9  Reading. “My books transport me to a place when I have nowhere to go!” (Love this quote!)

10  Evenings,  when I am with myself and my thoughts, enjoying every moment of my walk in the beautiful outdoors.

11   Listening to (loud) music that fills the silence, which at times, feels deafening.

12   Working out.

13  Enjoying a mugful of chilled coffee in the quiet  afternoons.

14  Baking cakes and cookies.

15  Watching my favourite programs on Netflix, uninterrupted.

16  Star-gazing. Yes, even if it’s looking up at that lone star twinkling in our purple, urban sky.

17  Spotting a rainbow on a gloomy rainy day.

18  Enjoying the chirps of the sparrows as they come to visit me in the early mornings.

19  The peace and quiet of early mornings.

20  My reflection in the mirror on (some) days when I feel I look gorgeous!

 

Hmm…now that I reread this list, I realise how truly blessed I really am, so, why do I grumble?

Ought to work on that attitude, right?

Also, ought to work on developing some narcissism… I mean, I ALWAYS look gorgeous!  In fact, I am gorgeousness personified!!

Okay, that’s enough.

 

How about you? Do you, too, have a list of the little somethings that make you happy? Could you share a few with me?

 

Love always,

SHILPA…

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Happiness lies in the little things!

 

 

The silent cry for help.

The silent cry for help.

Lately, an alarming trend seems to have taken over the social media.  Calling it a trend in itself is disturbing, but these incidents that  I came across make me wonder if we can call it by any other name!

You may have heard/read about the young lawyer who tried capturing her suicide on camera before being persuaded to safety. You may also have read about the 24 year old man who live-streamed his suicide on social media before jumping off the 19th floor of a Mumbai hotel, and, most recently, the news of a marathi film producer posting a suicide note on Facebook before ending his life. He mentioned his inability to endure the mental and physical torture by his wife and in-laws after his film failed to rake in any moolah (read flopped).

Horrendous is the word I will use to describe these incidents, and pitiful the stories of the victims. For in a world where everybody is in a rat race, vying to outdo the other by showing off what a perfect life one leads on the social media, people are now using the very same platform to share their wretched real life stories before pulling the plug! It gives us a fair idea about the life we actually lead irrespective of what we brag about on camera! It also gives us a clear picture of how lonely life is fast becoming, despite the thousands of friends we may boast about.

It’s a scary metamorphosis our life is going through.   There was a time, not long ago, when we guarded our private lives like a treasure. The story of our life  – good, bad, ugly – was shared  only with our closest friends/family members. These were the people who knew the wonderful as well as the unpleasant stories of our lives. But, today, all we do, is put on display the seemingly picture-perfect lives we live, hide the scars that life gives us, and give the world a peep into our sorrowful lives only before we jump off the ledge.

There are some questions that bother me as I look at these woeful scenarios. Firstly, why are we becoming this pretentious bunch of show-offs and what are we gaining from this exhibitionism? What do we achieve by sharing these picture-perfect moments of our private lives with a world which actually doesn’t even care after clicking the ‘Like’ button? And, if we are so obsessed with showing off the perfect lives we lead, then why are we, on the other hand, sharing the equally wretched moments of our lives that push us to the brink,  instead of asking for help?

What is it that we fear? Are we afraid to expose our miseries to our people?  Or, are we too scared to be turned down because each one is fighting a battle of his own to even extend  their hands in support? The ones, who live-streamed their suicides on social media, were they so tired of fighting  a lonely battle that they yearned for attention,  but were too scared to ask for it?  What did their feeble cry for help really mean? That we have become too busy to care what our people go through, or that we, for all our ostentatiousness, are beyond caring for those who are going through some pathetic times in their lives?

Is life only about the goody-goody stuff that earns us a million likes? Isn’t life also about unhappiness, heartbreak and hardships – times when we need to stand by each other’s side, supporting one another, no judgements passed?  Isn’t it also about being able to voice our deepest fears to people who care?

These are so contradictory  – these two facets of human nature that are evolving by the day. Despite having a hundred friends, we are gradually becoming a ‘lonely’ species.  Or, are we too reluctant to call out for help? The other day, as I sat in my darkened room, clutching my dead pet’s picture in my hands,  feeling desperate and lonely, I found myself hesitant to call up my friend for a heart-to-heart talk. I feared I might be burdening her with my sorrows, which may be minuscule as compared to hers. I also wondered if she even cared/was too concerned about her life to even call up and find out why I hadn’t gotten in touch with her in a long time, except sharing inane jokes on Whatsapp! It was only later, after I spoke with her, that I realised that she does care about me a lot, and that I had been only feeding my worst fears – something that we all do during the loneliest moments in our life.

The dreadful thoughts that crossed my mind that day make me wonder – what are we turning into? Couple days ago, I shared a happy picture of myself and my spouse on Instagram, and now, here I was, reluctant to share the dark, scary moments that actually needed to be talked about!

We really need help. But, are we going to ask for it?

I hope we do.


Back to blogging.

Back to blogging.

The days, they pass by in the blink of an eye. Life changes in the blink of an eye; people move away – some part with us for reasons unknown, and some part with us in keeping with the fundamentals of the universe. Death snatches from us our beloved people, leaving us to mourn and strive to fill up the void their departure creates. It’s tough, this thing called life. 

 We  grieve for the ones who loved and left and then slowly begin living a life without them around. We assure ourselves we will get over it all – the sorrow, not the person lost – but, alas, we don’t. We only get used to looking at our world differently. We adapt ourselves to the glaring absence of that one soul around whom our world once revolved.

We cry our hearts out remembering the minutest details of their last moments with us. But then, after the tears have all dried up, there comes this phase when everything feels strange. The deafening silence in the house, the sudden change in our everyday lives, the words that used to be on our lips every minute but which now stop short on realising that the person they were meant for isn’t around anymore.  Everything feels unnatural. And, that’s when we learn the gory reality of life: nothing is constant.. change is constant.

It’s a week today since Chikoo’s passing. The initial two days were scary. Hubby and I  dreaded staying at home – it felt so quiet, so…alien. I would get panicky by the mere thought of returning home each time we stepped out. But, I know Chikoo would never have approved of this sissiness.  So, I have been keeping myself occupied to a great extent.  And, funny though it may sound, but I carry Chikoo’s photo frame everywhere I go – to the bedroom at night, or place it on the dining table in such a way that he is in my line of vision whenever I peep out of the kitchen. I need this solace till the time  my heart grows accustomed to that achy feeling we experience when we lose our most precious possession.

My mind often wanders to the times when my boy would drive me crazy with his incessant barking, and his arguments and counter-questions. Yes, he did that! His bark would tell me if he was complaining, arguing or throwing a tantrum. Then, I would really lose my mind, but now, when I reminisce about those moments, I smile. Thankfully, for Chikoo, there aren’t any more waterworks! He lived a wonderful life and, like everything else in this world, his heart had to cease beating, too,  someday. Accepting such facts of life makes living easier, isn’t it? Well, sort of.

Today’s post is my first in a really long time. Earlier, when he was too ill, I did not have the heart to type a word. Then, since a week now, I have been having a tug-of-war with myself – to write or not to write. Finally, I decided to write this post to celebrate the gentle soul, who was my son.  There isn’t much about him here. But, my future posts  will have Chikoo featuring in his own special way. Hopefully, this will awaken the writing bug in me and propel me to achieve what I have been dreaming of since a long time, now.

This morning, during my heart to heart chat with Chikoo, I pleaded with him to send me a sign that he was there, somewhere, around me. I think the fact, that after a lot of debating with myself I wrote this post, is a sign that he is very much there, by my side, watching over me with his big, brown eyes, like he always did!

Happiness is…

Happiness is…

I stumbled across a Page on Facebook, Happiness is when…while surfing through one day.  It’s a cutesy page that depicts happy moments using sweet little  stick figures and sweeter tag lines. I often visit this page to look up for any new pictures they may have added to their repertoire and return with a handful few that tug at my heartstrings.

But, today, as I sifted through their pictures to save some for my album, I paused to ponder over how wonderful it would be to think about some real life moments that, despite their ordinariness, bring forth a smile that comes gushing from the deepest corner of my heart, especially when joy is the last emotion that anything could evoke.

So, I have  compiled a list of those ‘Happiness is when…‘ moments, which will come in handy during those times when looking for happiness is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack;  moments so loaded with joy and warmth, I would pray they last for all eternity. We all experience such moments, but sadly, tend to forget all about them no sooner they have passed us by. It’s really up to us to lovingly gather them all and place them gently within our heart, just like a jewel placed in silk gauze to be used occasionally to bedeck oneself,  and steal a few moments of unbridled euphoria!

So, here are some of my jewels!

Happiness is when…

I open my heart to mum, or she to me. Moments, when the label of ‘mother-daughter’ gets swapped with that of ‘best friends’ or ‘soul mates’. When she shares with me some of the chapters of her life’s story; chapters she has concealed from the world, but decides to share with me, because she knows that now I will be able to understand them better. Understand her better. 

Happiness is when…

  I talk with my closest friends. When I realise how they put aside their own troubles and offer me their shoulder to lean on as I pour out my feelings of anguish and voice my fears. Moments, when I know, deep down where my instinct resides,  that come what may, these couple of friends will always be by my side, whichever corner of the world they may be in. All I need to do, is just call out to them.

Happiness is when…

 The little boy, who was not born in my belly, but who means to me as much as my son, blows me a flying kiss through the elevator window before leaving for his play-time. The flying kiss may be just a one-off gesture of love, but the cloud of warmth that it leaves behind showers me with a sweet drizzle of the love that I had been bereft of for a long time in my life.
 Happiness is in knowing that the aunt in me must have done something right to receive the kind of love that’s generally reserved for a mother. 

Happiness is when…

  I spot the rising moon in all her golden splendour, and feel my heart explode with such ecstasy, I hurriedly call up my mother to rush outdoors and have a look at her namesake. Mum was named, ‘Indu’, after the same celestial beauty we both are in love with!

Happiness is when…

  I lay my hands on a book not knowing what a rare jewel I have landed. And, yes, happiness is also when, on reaching the denouement and learning about the sorrowful lives of the characters, I burst out sobbing. Sobbing for the people the story revolves around, for the life they should have lived but couldn’t, and for the way each of us have been destined to live. A life so far removed from the other and yet so alike with all of its ups and downs, its triumphs and tragedies, we all are almost living and breathing the very same story!

Happiness is in knowing…

  .. that apart from my closest friends, there are  some special people in my life, who, though miles away, have bonded with me so well, it feels like we have known each other in some other life time! Happiness is in knowing that trust, which may come with a heavy price-tag, can be bestowed on strangers for the simple reason that not every heart has evil residing within it. Wisdom is in knowing that there are angels around us all, who are only waiting to be noticed! Life becomes a beautiful journey, with these angels giving us some pleasurable company, isn’t it?


I intend to keep track of such moments of happiness; keep them safe in the treasure box of my heart, for I know that life is uncertain. And, that nothing lasts forever. The happiness that gives me the ability to breathe easy may get snatched from me in some unforeseen moment. Therefore, it would only be wise to enjoy such moments and be grateful for the exuberance that they fill my heart with. 

Do you save your happy moments in some special space, to savour and delight in when life and her idiosyncrasies get a bit too much to bear? Do share with me…I would love to know!

Love,

SHILPA…