New Year's Antilutions

This year, I'm resolving to not make resolutions. You might wonder whether I've just decided to give up on everything and live in a box. The answer, of course, is no (people who live in boxes don't generally write about why they decided to do that). I've decided not to make resolutions because when I look back on last year's resolutions I realize that:

  1. I didn't really accomplish any of them AND
  2. It doesn't matter because I actually feel like I made a lot of progress last year

The thing about these resolutions is that we tend to resolve to do the things that we frankly just can't do. To many of us, a year feels like a long and sort of intangible amount of time. But that time actually gets filled up pretty quickly and most of the time when you resolve to take a whole year to do something it means that you really don't know what you're doing. If you did know what you were doing then chances are that you would already be pretty confident that you'd get the thing done so you probably wouldn't resolve to do it in the first place.

Resolve To Learn

So, this leads me to this conclusion: If you're tempted to make a New Year's resolution to do something, resolve instead to figure out how to do the thing you want to do. For example, if you're thinking about resolving to lose weight for the new year then you probably don't know how to manage a healthy diet right now. So figure out how to do that instead. Once you've got that gem in place losing the weight is probably actually going to be pretty straightforward. What's more, learning about the diet is a better solution in the long term, since, what you want really is to keep the weight off and not just lose it. "But that's still a resolution!" you say. Well, yes, technically, but no, not really, at least not in the traditional sense. Usually learning about the thing is going to take far less than a year to accomplish and at that point you can decide what really needs to be done. Often you end up dropping the initial thing you wanted to do because you find a better, more focused solution that you can wrap your hands around in less than a year. Sometimes, the opposite thing happens and you realize that what you want will take years of dedicated study. The point is that nothing really takes a year and if you resolve to do something in a year then you're fooling yourself.

This Year's Antilutions (Anti Resolutions)

  1. Learn about diet and exercise and start practicing those principles
  2. Keep digging into different techniques for motivating myself (see "Gaming Your Motivation"). I know it sounds like bullshit but this actually works for me.