Use this three-step guide to making resolutions
- Decide on broad goals and include a WHY.
- Highlight a small thing to do to help you get to your goal and establish timing. Don’t worry about ‘completion’ or even results at this point, just focus on behaviors!
- Check in regularly to evaluate your progress, determine whether your actions are leading to positive results, and — if not — refine stuff 🙂
Start with goals + why’s
- I want to learn to speak and read some Japanese so I can enjoy my trips to Japan more.
- I want to sleep better so I feel more refreshed in the morning and at the top of my game during the day.
- I want to learn more tricks & tools associated with music composition so I can enjoy the satisfaction of composing pieces without so much hassle and frustration.
Pick the ‘small thing’ + timing
- … and I will spend an average of 15 minutes a night learning hiragana and katakana.
- … and I will not eat anything or drink alcohol after 9pm and I will lay in bed, without my phone, by midnight each night.
- … and I will spend an hour every week watching videos or reading material pertaining to music composition and spend another hour composing or arranging music.
Notice I didn’t write stuff like “I will sleep 8 hours a night” or “I will write 4 songs.” Of course, if I end up still feeling tired, or fail to write any pieces in the first month or so, then I’ll retool my plans :). I know that conventional wisdom says to focus on the results, but I firmly believe that focusing on improving behaviors is more effective and sustainable.
In the past, I’ve actually used a Google spreadsheet to track how well I’ve done each behavior, and I think I’ll try that again this year :). In part, it’s a reminder that good is better than perfect, and past failure is no excuse for subsequent failure; seeing lots of checkmarks is inspiring even if it’s not 100% in a set! (for some, “Don’t break the streak!” is motivating!)
Lastly, consider NOT entirely avoiding something that you enjoy… but rather just bound it to a more positive behavior or by timing. “I can eat a serving of chocolate after I’ve already eaten a serving of fruit” rather than “No more chocolate!” Or “I can browse Reddit for 30 minutes a day on my desktop, but no mindless scrolling on my phone, so I’m removing the app!”
Do you tend to make New Years’ resolutions? If so, do you follow a process like the geeky one I’ve outlined above? 🙂
[Pictured: a totally-unrelated photo of my backyard. Yay, Meyer lemons, which should be ready in another month or so!]