How To Make An Expat New Year’s Resolution

2 January 2014



With a New Year comes new beginnings and along with this is a great chance to re-invent yourself by attempting to accomplish things that you’ve struggled with before. That in mind, most people turn to New Year’s resolutions to set them straight and have better lives for the future, however, it is common knowledge that while it’s optimistic to have this list to guide yourself for the rest of the year, it is also one of the most difficult tasks to complete. For someone living abroad, the challenges that come with keeping your New Year’s resolutions can get a little more complicated.


Instead of giving some tips to keep your resolution, why don’t we go for a more realistic and more effective way to complete these challenges; here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re making a New Year’s resolution while living abroad.


Be A Realist


This goes without saying, when you compile a list of things you must push yourself to accomplish for the year, one must be realistic about these goals. Optimism is a good thing, as long as you don’t confuse it with overshooting your abilities or situation. Keep things grounded and know your limitations. You should consider your current situation as an expat including the country you are currently living in, the cultural and environmental factors that might add up in your situation. For example, it might not be easy to try out being a vegetarian in a place where meat is abundant and vegetarian food is scarce. Don’t set yourself up for disaster by ignoring these simple but vital factors.


Identify Your Needs


Make sure that the things you put on your list are absolutely important to you. This way, following it wouldn’t be too difficult to fulfil. The motivation is easy if you are trying to accomplish something that you really want to achieve. Don’t make a list of things that you know you can do without but are just nice to think about. If you set a goal that you don’t really expect yourself to achieve then you are wasting your time and effort.


Think Ahead


The first thing that makes keeping a resolution is the time frame. It’s easy to think that you have a whole year to complete this list, but a year is never as long as one expects. Set up a time frame in which you need to complete a certain goal throughout the year and make sure that these goals are productive and realistic in your own schedule. Align your resolution with your plans for the future. If you do not see yourself as an expat for years to come then there is no sense in making plans or goals that only benefit your life as an expat. Think at least 3-5 years ahead and set your goals accordingly to that time period to make sure that you are not setting up something long term if you only have short term arrangements and vice versa. Your time and situation as an expat is a major factor when it comes to setting up your goals for the future.


Employ Self-Discipline


When it comes to any kind of commitment, this is an absolute must. Before you start writing your goals down, make sure that you factor self-discipline; evaluate yourself and  your ability to carry-out goals otherwise, making a resolution for the year will only be a waste of time. Self Discipline is one of the hardest things to achieve since most of the time it is like going against your very nature. This is where helpful things like reminders, apps, calendars or even friendly reminders from your close friends or family can be very handy. Don’t beat yourself up if you are unable to do it yourself. When you are training yourself to do something new, the first few steps are always the hardest so there’s no harm in asking for a little help to get you started. If you are living alone, set up alarms on your phone or email calendar to remind yourself of your resolution.


Discuss Your Goals With Someone


When you are serious about making things happen or challenging yourself to reach a goal, it’s always best to step out of your own head. Talk to someone about your goals or your tentative list and go over your plans to keep them. You might also need them to remind you about it from time to time. You may not realize that some goals are too idealistic for your own good unless you start hearing it from someone else. Pick out someone you can trust and someone you think is better than you when it comes to planning and discipline, someone who can set you straight in case you forget or discard your goals. When it comes to planning and setting goals, it is always better to consult friends and family instead of technology, this way, the personal connection and the fact that the people you are closest to will know you on a personal level is a major factor when it comes to achieving your goals.