A New Type of New Year’s Resolution

It’s New Year’s Day. And once again the time has come for resolutions.

I don’t remember ever really making resolutions until a couple of years ago. Since then, each year I type up my resolutions, hang them on the wall, and then promptly go about breaking them.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t intentionally break them. It just happens. But everyone breaks their resolutions, right?

Not this year. This year I’m trying something different. This year I’m going to make the resolutions work.

Looking back over my resolutions from the past couple years, I notice I tend to setup resolutions as goals, things to achieve during the year. I try to set the goals as fairly realistic, not trying to push myself too hard, but not making it too easy either.

And I think through the goals. One year my resolution list included a schedule of steps on how to achieve each goal. Another had general resolutions and then specific measurable resolutions.

This year I’m taking a different tack. Rather than focus on the destination, I’m going to focus on the journey. Little steps I can take throughout the year that lead me in the direction I want to go, but without hard set timelines or milestones toward some distant goal.

But I’m also taking it one step further. Rather than try to set “realistic” resolutions, I’m setting each resolution so it should be trivial to achieve. So, instead of “Exercise more” or “Exercise 30 minutes a day, three times a week”, I’m going to set “Exercise 10 minutes a day”.

My purpose is to set up resolutions that play into my own personal psychology, which is a) wanting to see continuous progress and b) wanting an unblemished record.

See, with my resolutions from previous years, once I broke them, I often felt there was no point in trying to recapture the spirit of them again. They were broken, my record was blemished, might as well forget about them and move on.

By setting resolutions with a very low bar, it makes it easier to keep the resolutions for longer and to work on them regularly. And the longer I keep them and the more frequently I work on them, the more chance I have of making it through the entire year.

My resolutions this year play into my tendency to keep doing things once I get started. So while I only have to exercise 10 minutes a day to meet my resolution, it’s extremely likely I’ll exercise more on any given day. But if I’m rushed or busy or sick, I can meet my resolution just by snatching 10 minutes away to exercise.

It essentially becomes a snowball effect. By giving myself little pushes, I’ll develop the habits I want to develop to push me to achieve far beyond my resolutions.

Okay, so you’re probably wondering, what are my resolutions. Well, here’s the list for 2009:

1. Eat no more than 1,800 calories a day twice a week.
2. Exercise 10 minutes a day.
3. Write one article every other month.
4. Learn three new German words a week.
5. Play 15 minutes of drums a week.

Wish me luck, and Happy New Year!




1 comment

  1. Bow of Eros says:

    Sounds like a great plan Trevor. I love seeing your goals on the wall. It reminds me that I need to get more organized and disciplined.

    So good luck and happy new year!

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