It happened again. And I bet this has happened to you before, too. I’m talking of New Year’s resolutions. Every year we make them and tell ourselves that this time, yes, this time it is going to work, for sure. But then, suddenly, it is February, and nothing has changed. (Except for climate policy and basic decency being back in the White House. 🙌)
Unless we are really disciplined and somehow made it work before, we already know upfront about how hard it is to change our habits and to approach something new. It doesn’t even have to be something scary or insurmountable. To the contrary: The easier our goal sounds, the easier it is to trick ourselves into thinking that this time, because it is such a minor thing to start with or to stop doing, it will actually be easier to make a change. Far from it. The easier something seems to be, the less serious we take it. And so we end up prioritizing other things instead.
There are two ways to solve this. And if you know another one, please let me know.
For one, we can stop making New Year’s resolutions. I believe it was Derek Sivers who once mentioned that he even stopped celebrating New Years altogether. For him, the turn of the year is just an arbitrary date that even differs depending on which calendar you adhere to. So there is also no reason to believe that just by making a resolution on this random date will be any different than changing your diet on September 13th. Yet there is something to be said for certain dates having a bit more weight, both culturally and emotionally. For many of us, the turn of years is also a time of reflection. A rare opportunity to look at what you did and where you want to go next. It is a break that is set arbitrarily. But at least it is a break and an opportunity for change. And many families and especially children love it, too. So I’d rather keep it and do something else to change my habits.
Which brings us to the second, and maybe more effective step you can take, instead of just making the next vague resolution: Whatever you want to achieve, put it in your calendar. Don’t promise yourself that you will make it whenever you “find the time”. You won’t. Debbie Millman once said that if we come up with an excuse like “I did not find the time”, it really just means that something wasn’t important enough for us to give it a higher priority. So you want to write more regularly or start exercising again? Put a dedicated day and time for it into your calendar. If you can’t do it now, why would you be able to do it next week or next month? Make sure that when Wednesday evening comes, you know that this is your time to write. Or, three days a week, the first thing you do in the morning is some exercise. If you skip it from time to time, that’s okay, too. But if you do, make sure to get back on track the other day.
So guess who promised to write two articles a week and start exercising again in his year in review post and a post about his typical day…? Exactly. 😉 So I will now practice what I preach an add two things to my calendar: A dedicated time to write. And two morning workouts, let’s say on Tuesdays and Fridays. Let’s see how it goes.
But maybe, I should not tell you about this.