Some Simple Rules For A New Year's Resolution

Some Simple Rules For A New Year’s Resolution

The New Year is approaching which means people will decide that January 1st is the day to make an important change in their lifestyle. Some people make fun of those who make New Year’s Resolutions. The thinking behind the mockery is that if it was actually important, why wait until some arbitrary day to do it.

I get where the criticism is coming from. After all, I could have just as easily drank the holidays away 3 years ago before I decided to give up booze. Instead, I put down the bottle on December 23rd. It was so important to me that that waiting one more week didn’t make sense.

On the other hand, I get using January 1st as a rallying point for change. It’s symbolic, it’s easy to track and there is a social element. If all of your friends are making some change—even if they don’t stick with it—then you should make a change too. It’ll at least give you a convenient excuse why you can’t do something or go somewhere.

I don’t care why someone makes a change—any reason is a good reason if it makes you do what needs to be done.  I don’t care when you make the change—better late than never. I am more concerned with giving you the tools to have success with your resolution because the reality is that most people don’t stick with them.

It’s not really a problem specific to New Year’s Resolution. All resolutions have the same problem. Resolutions are an attempt to change a thing about yourself. Like all change, there is resistance. This property of resisting change is known as inertia.

Inertia is the first problem you have to overcome to make your New Year’s Resolution stick. From physics, we know the greater mass an object has the greater it’s inertia. Your resolution is the object. The bigger the resolution, the greater the inertia and the more resistance you’ll encounter when you try to accomplish it. The solution to this is to make your goals smaller.

It’s a lot easier to lose 10 lbs. than 20. It’s a lot easier to write a short story than a whole novel. You’re more likely to work your way up to a 5k than a marathon. You may feel that shortening the resolution this way is shortchanging yourself and your goal, but making this progress will allow you to take advantage of another property of nature.

You’ll gain momentum as you make progress. Losing 3 lbs. makes it easier to lose 7 makes it easier to lose 10 or 20. A blog post becomes a collect of posts that becomes a short book that leads to a full fledge novel. Small successes carry over to big success, but you have to get the small success first.

Too many people pick a resolution that is too big or will take too long.  This is a guaranteed to path to failure. Instead, focus on the quick wins and small gains. These snowball, gain momentum, and take you further with less effort.

Most resolutions are made as emotional response to a reasonable problem. However, just because the problem is reasonable does not mean that it’s your most pressing problem. If you’re overweight but living paycheck to paycheck, you’ll be too interested in working to alleviate the stress of paying bills to hit the gym or purchase the right food. If you have a great book in mind, but are so lonely it hurts, you’re going to have trouble getting the words done when you’re busy checking your dating profile.

It’s important to pick resolutions that attack the most pressing issues of your existence before anything else. Only once your foundation for life is solid can you build more impressive structures upon it. However, if you lack a solid foundation you will never be able to start creating anything worthwhile.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Most people don’t take the time to plot out a simple plan or schedule for how they’ll achieve their resolution. This need not be extremely detailed, but you should have a rough idea of what you need to do and how you need to work so that you grab small success and gather momentum on your resolution. Simply declaring that you’ll do something because it makes you feel better about your shitty year is emotional appeasement. You’ll fail without a plan.

Don’t be afraid to take stock of the previous year and build upon it. Unless you were a total sack of shit for the past year you’ve likely made some gains, even if they’re small. Maybe you paid down some debt, lost 5 lbs. of water weight, or got a girl to actually smile at you. If you’re in a bad position in many areas of your life, look at the one you’ve regressed the least in over the past year and use it to build momentum towards to a worthwhile resolution for the New Year.

Your greatest motivation should be that 365 days from now, you are in the exact same spot doing the exact same things. The aim is always general reinvention and leveling up, but do not beat yourself up if aren’t a completely new person. Even an infinitesimally small improvement is better than doing nothing.

Quitting old habits is easier than making new ones. If you want to stop smoking, drinking or watching porn, it’s easy to replace with a more productive habit. Creating a new habit often requires a greater expenditure of energy because you are adding something.

If you absolutely must make a change or resolution, aim to eliminate bad habits via replacement with good ones. This covers many angles of the self-improvement and resolution achievement process.

Lastly, remember that a resolution is merely a tool. If used correctly, it can get you to act on something that will make a significant difference in your life. If abused, it leads to frustration over failed plans and a mediocre lifestyle. There is nothing inherently special about Jan 1st or even the concept of resolutions. You are free to make changes to your life whenever you want to and the information here will help.

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