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Regarding New Year’s Resolutions

by on January 5, 2011
in Musings, Self, Work

It’s 2011.

So what?

The reality is that you are no different than you were yesterday.  You haven’t changed who you are.  You haven’t lost the weight you wanted to lose.  You are not different from the person you were at the end of 2010.

Yet somehow, we have convinced ourselves that the start of a new year, necessitates some sort of change; as if time passing show how changes us.  Sure, we get older; we make new friends; we win; we lose.  But the fact remains, you not too much different.

Time means nothing unless we do something with it.  We are creatures of habit.  Think about the very first cigarette you ever smoked, the first super jelly donut that you ate, or any other habit that you currently want to break.  What were the circumstances that led you to take that action?  Not that doing those things are necessarily bad, but you did go and do it a second time, and a third, and a fourth.  Why?

What I’m getting at is that to achieve a habit-forming goal, you need repeated action.  You may not have set out to be a chain smoker, but you certainly put in the time, and perform all of the actions to get you there.

If you’ve set a new year’s resolution for yourself, remember that your focus should not be on the losing of weight, the quitting of the smoking, or the trying of becoming a better person.  Focusing on that will inevitably force you to quit, because your energy directed at the goal, not the activities that will get you to the goal.  To form a habit, you have to perform an activity once, then twice, then a third time, so on and so forth.

If you want to lose weight, direct your energy toward being at the gym and performing a very specific set of exercises, a specific number of times per week, for an indefinite period of time.  If you want to quit smoking, direct your focus toward providing distractions for yourself when you feel a craving, carrying enough nicotine gum with you throughout the day, or finding some alternative habit.

Put simply, do the things that people who have already achieved your goal do.   Emulate successful people, then find your own groove.

I leave you with an improved version of Nike’s famous slogan:  Just do it, over, and over, and over again.

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3 Responses to “Regarding New Year’s Resolutions”
  1. Csbjork says:

    As an echo to your comments (which already resound with truth), I add this:

    Some people say, “Keep your eye on the prize,” but I prefer this less poetic variation, “Keep the prize in the back of your head.” Not in the closet, where it gets lost for years (as many new years resolutions do). In the back of your head, where you always know that it’s there, but it’s not the focus of your every move.

    Goals are wise things to have (and it’s difficult to achieve much without first setting that goal), but the most important part, as Koby has so clearly articulated, is focusing on the step that you are taking TODAY.

    Create a plan, focus on each day’s task, and work at it assiduously.

    But I think you also should have some way of finding JOY in each day’s task. Because of a lack of time, I won’t elaborate on this final comment. I’ll just leave it as something for the reader to ponder…

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