Barkha Bisht’s approach to New Year and Resolutions
By Khushi Mohunta
New Year Is About Being A New You
Barkha believes that resolutions are what keep us going and before the start of a year is the perfect time to take any resolution as they become the guiding principles throughout your year. There should be something that motivates us and pushes us to bring out the best in us. Adhering to a similar belief, Barkha shares how not only she believes in but also encourages her children to believe in and set realistic new year resolutions. Goals are measurable, discrete and realistic. They help one achieve targets and define consistency and clarity in their life as an individual. Such realistic ideology is what Barkha wishes to instil in her kids. When asked Barkha to reflect on what the concept of a New Year resolution means to her and how would it affect her relationship with her children if asked. She expressed, “the concept of a New Year resolution for me to explain to my kid would be that I would want her to introspect about the year that has gone by, understand and realize the things that she did right and wrong, and what is it that she can do to make her next year better and for that if there is any resolution or anything that she needs to make or do and stick and say this is what I need to do to make my next year better.” Just like a cocoon shed into a beautiful butterfly. Similarly, to bring out the best version of oneself, one needs to let go of the protective layer one is cocooned in… because, after all, what is a New Year if not being ‘new you?’
Do Resolutions Always Work?
What is a fruit, if not once futile?
Well, questioning if resolutions always work or not is akin to making assumptions if it is a probability and not a possibility. But what is a possibility if not a probability? Even though resolutions always work or not, there is a thinking process that goes into their making. This thinking process is the prerequisite to the cognitive development of a child.
Barkha says, “For the child to understand what I could have done better and to try and achieve that in the coming year and if we fail, we will try it again the next year. But the thought process is to never give up on trying to be a better version of yourself.” These resolutions are a product of intrinsic motivation and extrinsic environmental factors. For Barkha, these resolutions revolve around trying to be a better version of herself, and see what didn’t work in terms of behaviours, thought processes, and reactions to certain things. For her, just being a better version of herself gives her more peace and happiness. Failure is a fortune. During the process, you will fail. You will fail once, twice, or even multiple times, but eventually through all the failures each time you will rise stronger than before. Each failure is a stepping stone, a step closer to fortune.
Certainly, kids are young and can get demotivated by repeated failures. That’s when parents come into the picture. Don’t let them give up. Encourage them. Adopt Positive Psychology to play. Try positively reinforcing your children, mediate, but don’t influence their resolutions.
In her interview, Barkha says:
“I don’t think parents should influence the decisions but can help to mediate and/or try to help them understand and probably try to make sense of what they are saying because a lot of times children think of a lot of things but are not able to put them in words so, as parents, we need to understand their thought and help them put it in words. So that definitely, is what parents should do but no, they shouldn’t influence the decisions as that’s a very individual goal for kids as well as adults.”
Resolutions are about reinforcement and not enforcement. With forced decisions, parents try to snap away the creative freedom to design a reinforcing strategy that their child may design for himself or herself to help them attain life’s goals. Don’t be hard on your parenting. It’s when you let your child loose off the shackles, they will grow closer to you and not when caged behind the rules. Nothing works when forced, but miracles turn when reinforced.
Secrets, Stories and (re) Solutions
Sometimes the darkest secrets to unlock the prisons of an isolated mind lie in stories unkempt from the sagas.
Stories help find solutions and with new year resolutions, stories are certainly coming up as effective (re) solutions. Barkha gets open about her parenting style and tells how she shares stories of her childhood resolutions with her daughter.
Transparency and communication lie at the core of any relationship. “Even though most of which I never fulfilled but I do tell her that I always used to have resolutions and that I used to try and do them to the best of my abilities.” Barkha believes it is crucial to be open to your kids about things you choose to tell them and not tell them partially as this will create a disparity in the parenting style and ultimately prove to create a rift, distancing you from your creation.
Even though she believes in transparency and open communication. She also propagates the right approach in resolution-making with kids. Well, while there is nothing right or wrong. By right, Barkha believes the approach should not be exaggerated. The child should know if their resolution is doable and practical or fairy-tale and ambitious. While there is no harm in having ‘fairy-tale resolutions’, they get too unrealistic in the long-term and if not as children, they will face repercussions of making such resolutions in the future, as adults. The difference and clarity of mind should be there, instilled right from the preliminary years.
Barkha says, “for instance, a child at 11, like my daughter, is in this world between fairy tales and reality. I think a lot of her life is about dreams and visions and imaginary, idealistic life and I think I must keep that intact, you always have to keep the child in them intact and yet help them do something doable. So of course, if she comes up with something that I know isn’t doable for her, I don’t think that I am going to deny it completely, but I will try to at least lower her expectation and be like, ‘beta see, okay this is where you want to reach eventually but can we start at step 1 which is more doable’. So, this is what you can do because the moment their expectations are high and you are not able to match up with that there is disappointment and I don’t want my child to be disappointed and so I think, one step at a time is more a more doable thing and I guess eventually they will reach where they want to.”
A well-said saying says, “Aim for the stars if you fall, you’ll land on the moon.” But if you aim for the moon, you’ll land in space, hanging like a cliff with no pull to bring you back.
Getting Realistic, Finding Solutions, Setting Resolutions
Reflecting on when she was a kid, Barkha says:
“I think the whole concept of New Year resolution is a relatively new thing as I don’t think it was a thing when we were young or at least when I was my daughter’s age, it wasn’t a thing. The whole thing of Christmas and New Year resolution has come very recently in India, so yeah, it’s definitely very different from how it used to be before when I was a kid.”
She talked about the times when people, in their generation, unlike today, were realistic in problem-solving and solutions seeking, unlike today, where people try to be realistic with resolutions. While she believes it is a good practice considering it pushes one to be a better version of oneself. She also opposes the fan drum and hype around setting competitive and unrealistic goals in the pursuit of outdoing one’s competitive mates.
As far as guiding kids through making resolutions and helping pursue them is concerned, Barkha believes, that the kids are already so excited about New Year resolutions and their excitement must not be dampened.
“It has started as a fad amongst their friends, they already discussed what each of their resolutions is going to be and as parents what we can do is understand what it is that they are trying to get at and help them through it if we feel that they are deviating from it, we can just try and help them get back on track.”
She believes it’s a child’s willpower and commitment to the resolution that will take them through. As parents, we should support them, as that is the best we have to offer.