Halfway through 2023, UAE residents reflect on New Year’s resolutions

For many, resolutions go in one year and out the other. For others, they've become a mainstay of everyday life

July 2, the year's midpoint, is a good time to check in on resolutions
Powered by automated translation

As a reminder of just how quickly time flies, Sunday marks a significant juncture of the year – the halfway point.

July 2, while not as significant as January 1 when it comes to reflection and resolution, is an ideal time to muse upon the status of New Year’s resolutions.

For many, January goals are little more than a faded promise having swiftly fallen back into old habits. Studies suggest only 8 per cent see their resolutions through and 80 per cent give up by February.

However, the first half of this year has been a resounding success for some UAE residents, with newfound habits becoming a mainstay in everyday life, helping them to become that improved version of themselves they envisaged on New Year’s Day.

It was relocating to the UAE that inspired three-time British Olympian Sarah Lindsay to change her mindset and make a New Year’s challenge that would help her step out of her comfort zone.

“I’ve never made a resolution before but for 2023 I vowed to say yes to more social activities and trying new things,” she tells The National. “I’ve been taking up new sports that I’m not good at like wakesurfing and golf and even though I’m known for being sporty, I don’t like being a beginner so it’s been a challenge to keep pushing through.”

Lindsay, a celebrity fitness trainer and owner of Roar Fitness Dubai, sees her New Year’s resolution as a journey rather than a goal, which has helped her to stay motivated at the six-month mark. “I am very busy and focused on my business so that can be quite consuming but I want to enjoy the journey at the same time and don’t want to miss out on other experiences,” she says.

Ex-professional cricketer Azeem Rafiq also credits his move to the UAE for helping to stay on track with his resolution.

“Moving to Dubai has been really good for me and is helping to get my fitness levels back to an elite level," the British bowler says. “I’m determined to do this for the rest of my life so I need to get in optimum shape before 40 so I can sustain it.”

For others, old habits appear to be dying hard with some resolutions proving trickier than imagined – especially for those who outlined a number of targets.

“I set myself a lot,” says Dubai resident Arian Hasanyan, “some of which I’m nowhere near.

“What I find is if something triggers me to look at the resolutions I’ve written down, I’ll regain focus. For instance, I remembered that I’d set a challenge to do a 10km run, and so far I’ve done two this year, and a Spartan one. I also want to visit 10 new countries and I think that is still achievable.”

However, like many of us who get carried away with grand plans in January, Hasanyan concedes some resolutions won’t be achieved. “Bulking up hasn’t happened nor has learning another language," he says.

"Another one was renewing my footballing coaching licence, which I still need to do. Talking about it now is perhaps a good time for me to reassess.”

New Year’s resolutions can be a great way of holding ourselves accountable for expanding our horizons – whether that’s acquiring more knowledge, travelling more or learning a new skill.

Louise Dawe, marketing manager at DP World Tour, Middle East, pledged to complete her diploma in sustainability from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. It’s a resolution that remains firmly intact with the finish line in sight, but she admits it hasn’t been easy.

“Studying and working full time has been a challenge,” she says. “It’s been difficult to juggle both but luckily my employer has given me study days, which have been really helpful. It’s a distance-learning course, so I’ve also missed the camaraderie of working with other people.”

When giving advice to others, Dawe says the key is to pick something that you deeply care about, so you’re more inclined to see it through.

“Make sure it’s something that you feel motivated to do otherwise it just won’t happen," she adds. "I’m really passionate about sustainability, so researching and writing marketing strategies around this has never felt like a chore for me.”

It’s sound advice for those looking to resume their resolutions. Whether the goal is to live a healthier lifestyle, pursue a long-held dream or be more financially responsible, July 2 is the opportune time to evaluate progress – or lack thereof – and recommit to the promises we enthusiastically made to ourselves.

Time may not stand still but there’s enough left of the year to achieve those goals, according to Hasanyan.

“I’m determined to keep going,” he says. “What I’ve learned is that writing down steps to achieve your goals, not just the goal itself, will help stay on track in the future.”

Updated: July 02, 2023, 4:04 AM