A woman walking on Jakarta sidewalk
Instead of placing a resolution for yourself, why not go into the new year with intentions? Photos by Raditya Fadhilla/NOWJAKARTA

Entering a new year has a way of provoking all kinds of emotions, from anxiety and stress to euphoria and a sense of renewed life and everything in between. Most people get this idea, an insistence, really, that you must spend New Year’s Eve doing something incredibly special and different, because the way you bid farewell to this year and welcomes the next will somehow define how the next 365 days will turn out for you. And so, it is absolutely imperative that you have the best time of your life that night, right?

Those happen to not be in a relationship in this special time of the year have the added pressure of making sure that, when everyone else around is kissing at midnight, they can act like they couldn’t possibly be happier. This is the kind of pressure that prompts many to get into bed at 10pm on December 31. Brush your teeth, bury your head in a pillow and hope for the best as you bid yourself good night. If you experienced this just weeks ago as you enter 2020, I can honestly tell you that I feel your pain.

This worrying tradition stems from many factors, but one of the most prominent might be resolutions—another widely celebrated New Year tradition. The idea is to set a commitment to yourself for the whole coming year, usually resolving to change an undesired trait or behaviour or to accomplish a personal goal or improve their life.

Most of the time, however, this doesn’t come out as upbuilding as it is supposed to. What was supposed to be a cause for change often turn out to be nothing more than half-thought-plans that seem motivating when you make them, but nag at you unpleasantly for most of the year? How many times do we hear people around us succeed at ‘getting a sixpack’ in one year? Or ‘keep a daily journal’ for 365 days? Or maybe even ‘reach financial independence’ within a year? Unfortunately, when realism is thrown out the window for the sake of seemingly epic resolutions, the result is often completely opposite.

Instead of placing a resolution for yourself, why not go into the new year with intentions? With intentions, you can take actions toward greater self-care without the sense of pressure that resolutions impose on us. My new year’s intention for 2020 is the same as it was for the last few years since 2018—to simply pay more attention to my personal fitness, which seems to get easier with each passing year.

This intention has done a lot more to me than my shallow resolution in 2016 of ‘getting a sixpack’. That year, not only did I fail to achieve washboard abs I can be proud of, but I had to deal with the stress of hit-n-run fitness, such as forcing gym time in less-than-ideal moments (in-between work, too late in the evening, etc.) I also had to resort to several questionable ‘supplements’ I wasn’t proud of from around mid-year just because I felt I was running out of time.

Instead, intending to simply ‘pay more attention to my fitness’ encompasses more than just results. It has allowed me to consciously take time and be aware of my macros. Cheat days don’t seem to be all that destructive when mindfully done. Gym time feels more relaxed but focused—I don’t shy away from helping friends, even strangers, with questions as they improve their own fitness. And then the positive association fuels my motivation further. It is all about what we can give to others after all.

I pray you have been more fortunate with your new year transitions than me, but in case you haven’t, 2020 might just be the time for you to forget about stressful, narrow, often-too-specific resolutions and start the new year with positive intention instead. If you’re reading this in January, it is not too late! Let me know if you agree with this, or if you’d like to share how well you’ve welcomed 2020, kindly write me at refa@phoenix.co.id.

Welcome to 2020!

Onward to what we have in store for you this issue. In December we spoke to our friends and asked for the hopes and expectations in 2020. These Ambassadors, Principals of leading global schools, five-star hotel General Managers, Directors of Chambers of Commerce and other key figures of society happily chipped in their thoughts. While it was difficult to pick only 20 among such admirable friends and supporters of the magazine—some of which have been with us since the very beginning—the resulting 20 wishes were all filled with positive vibes, hopeful expectations and a lot of welcome encouragement for all of us. Flip ahead to read the full article, 20 Wishes for 2020.

In the spirit of celebrating the new, we take this opportunity to introduce, for the first time, H.E. Lambert Grijns, Ambassador of The Netherlands to Indonesia and Mme. Margot Kokke. Welcome to Indonesia, and we hope you have a fruitful diplomatic tenure ahead.

We take the time to honour the National Pedestrian Day on 22 January by going out to the streets and talking to pedestrians about Jakarta’s new and improved trottoirs, a prominent project that the city government has been heavily developing since 2019. Now you get to see what actual Jakartans think about the new sidewalks.

And with that, I leave you, as always, with many positive vibes and a profound wish, on behalf of NOW! Jakarta editorial team, to have a blasting 2020 ahead. Stay well, stay awesome!

This article is originally from paper. Read NOW!Jakarta Magazine January 2020 issue “In with the New”. Available at selected bookstores or SUBSCRIBE here.

Refa Koetin

Refa Koetin

A full-time, dream-powered writer, Refa handles NOW! Jakarta publication and other editorial projects in the company. When not writing at his second home (the office), he can be found roaming the city hunting happy hours or exploring its diverse culinary scene. He is also a sci-fi addict, ex-gamer, fitness junkie, beer lover and burger fan. Hit up +62 856 188 0336 for nerd talk or happy hour info.