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jt-nisay-3It’s the first time since 2014 that the Chinese New Year celebration falls in January, giving the month two New Year observations, and the people double opportunities to start fresh in a span of four weeks, so to speak. But that’s nonsense.

In formulating (and pursuing) self-improvement methods, one should never limit himself to the changing of a calendar, or any event at that, clinical psychotherapist Dr. Angelo Subida says.

The author of healing books, such as Power Self-Esteem and Secrets of Your Self, Subida said cultivating this idea feeds a legalistic or superstitious mentality, one that undermines self-improvement through procrastination, performance-based demands, inconsistent discipline and misconception of reality, among others.

Therefore, it doesn’t matter if it’s a New Year, an old one, a Wednesday or past midnight to take the necessary steps in improving one’s character. “The best time to improve one’s self is now,” Subida said. “You have no guarantee of an unlimited supply of time or opportunity. Improve every time, avoid an unlived and unused life and potential.”

However, this shouldn’t be mistaken as a green light to adopt a ra-ra mentality and force change without preparation. Initiative should always be informed by a watchful eye and a clear mind.

Personal Coach Ryan Salvanera said resolutions shouldn’t be taken lightly. “Act only if you’re ready to.”

And when you finally are, the two experts said it’s vital to determine the right resolutions for you. Subida said start by thinking about what you want to accomplish in life, but keep plans manageable. He added it’s also helpful to make a list of your “Top Seven Blind Spots”, which are places where you constantly blame or displace your own responsibility onto other people or things. “Resolve to change your mind about each of them so you can start changing your life.”

Meanwhile, Coach Salvanera advises on writing down “SMART” goals, which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Also, listing down specific steps to achieve those goals is important.

Self-improvement may be a neverending process, but it’s one that won’t start until the proper courses of action have been taken during New Year celebrations or otherwise. Besides, as Subida puts it: “While alive, live.”


Image credits: Illustration: Andy Rash/The New York Times

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