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New Year's Resolutions

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I've decided that in a year, I'll be doing my first live performance of a song I've written with a band I'm going to put together.

I haven't been proactive enough about finding fellow musicians, and since I spent my New Years driving down old country roads and singing my lungs out I figured it was appropriate.

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Hunterrose, I figure the "1/21" in your signature needs updating! :D (j/k)

After not doing so for decades, I finally did make a list of things I wanted to acheive this year. Not just that, I even made a sub-list for Q1 and for Jan. I figured that that was the only way to track progress.

In essence my list consisted of three types of things:

  • simple fun stuff (e.g. see 40 movies this year)
  • projects I want to do and enjoy doing, but don't "get" the time for
  • stuff I don't enjoy doing, but think I ought to do (e.g. exercise more than I do)

I've been really bad on the last category; which tells me that I need a completely different approach.

On the other hand, the good news is that I've done pretty well on the other two.

So, I've concluded that New Year's resolutions do work, just like project-plans do: as long as you track them and tweak them, you can do better with them than without them, even if you don't end the year the way you planned it when you started.

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:D Yeah, I've been slipping a bit. I'm about to freshen it up, though. Can't let you get too far ahead of me :P Keep up the good work.

One thing you might want to do with the hard goals is set a sub-goal that is ridiculously easy to attain, and make a goal of improving on it, however slightly, each week. Starting low makes maintaining performance of the unpleasant goals easier, and IMO, on the difficult resolutions, making regular improvements is much more important than whether the improvements are on a pace to ace the resolution by year's end.

So, I've concluded that New Year's resolutions do work, just like project-plans do: as long as you track them and tweak them, you can do better with them than without them, even if you don't end the year the way you planned it when you started.
Well said. Anyone else still working/progressing on resolutions?

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Except for the lose weight one, I'm not doing too badly. (That one got badly sidetracked when I broke my arm.) I've found a local indoor pool and I'm planning on getting a seasonal pass and swimming daily, so that should help. I've also been cutting back on my food intake quite successfully.

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I'm currently in the process writing my list (most of which I'll probably post here eventually) but here's the beginning I wanted to share, and hear comments (Note that this was written for my sake, so there may be things you don't understand, if so, just ask):

Shea's Resolutions New Years '06-'07

In order to achieve the ultimate goal of a happy, fulfilling life, you must:

I. General Goals

I1. Prerequisite for all goals: Learn how to set a good goal, how to schedule yourself to meet it, and actually do it. No more saying "I have to do X" and leaving it at that, expecting it to happen. First, explicitly define what X is. Don't leave any room for later vacillation on the issue; make it so you are either definitely working towards the goal or definitely working against the goal(in all contexts relating to the goal, if the goal has to do with something relating school it is possible you are neither working towards or against the goal when you are at the mall). Even if you're sure you'll know what you mean by a simply stated goal, there's no reason not to lay out explicitly what you mean. Then, lay out a plan to get there, a plan that forces you to be constantly acting towards your goal until the process is no longer forced, but is natural. This means: setting out, at regular intervals(weekly? daily? start with weekly), a schedule for the upcoming interval that lays out what you will do in that interval to approach that goal, a schedule that, if necessary(and it often will be), lays out a specific time to perform specific actions relating to the goal. Since you will be working towards many goals at the same time, this will mean a pretty full schedule; this is a good thing. Keeping yourself busy for keeping yourself busy's sake is a bad thing, which is why you have been averse to such schedules as laid out by your parents or teachers in the past; don't let that aversion carry over to keeping yourself busy for your sake. This may mean less free time, but free time is not what you want (stop associating free time with social time; that is what others consider free time, but social time can and should be scheduled. Free time is the time you spend with no plans, nothing to do except sit there thinking of what you should or want to be doing, essentially killing time). There are certain goals that are all-encompassing, that can't be divided into "at this time, do this", goals such as "don't lie" or "avoid getting into senseless arguments with irrational people", goals that, to steal a not-entirely applicable concept, are מצות לא תעש�” [note: a concept in Judaism referring to negative commandments, i.e. "Don't Kill"]; for those goals, set aside a time at the end of the day to ask yourself "did I hold myself up to this goal? if not, how did I fail? What can I do in the future to fix it?". The final step is the toughest: Following through. This is where the schedules will be particularly helpful, since you won't be able to say "I'll do it tomorrow". But in the end, it requires full thought and focus, avoiding at all costs the rationalizations that allow you to think in the present and only the present. Here, the fully explicit description of the goal will help, since the description will not only describe exactly what you need to achieve but also why.

I1a. Lay out your goals explicitly (for the why, see above)

I1b. Depending on how many goals you lay out, divide them up in such a way that you can lay out your long-term plan for accomplishing each of them while in Florida from Tuesday to Sunday[Note: I'll be in Florida from Tuesday to Sunday and won't be able to do much, so this will be a lot of "free" time]. Do this so that you know how to schedule your weeks and to remind yourself that, even though some of the goals may seem so large as to be impossible, each one can be broken down into smaller portions that you can accomplish (think of Dawkins's "cumulative selection"[note: a reference to Richard Dawkins's The Blind Watchmaker]).

I1c. On January 1st(and every seven days thereafter, barring a major change in approach), lay out plan for the upcoming week. You don't have to be to extremely strict, but make sure you have time to do all you need to do. For some of the goals you've had troubles with in the past, be more strict. Follow the guidelines set above, especially with respect to the time set aside at the end of each day for introspection.

I1d. Start journal again, to keep track of your progress. This is one of the easiest things to do, it takes maybe five minutes before you go to bed each night, yet forces you to keep your goals constantly in the forefront of your mind. Each night, review your schedule for that week and, if necessary, your overall goal list, and see how well you've progressed and what you can do better.

Thoughts?

[edit below]

P.S. I have 101 posts? Nifty

[edit again]

P.P.S. This is the first time I've ever had New Years resolutions... It's actually oddly invigorating writing this.

Edited by Cogito

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I've always been bad with achieving goals, your quintessential slacker. But Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill really helped me out. Some of his stuff is whacky (he discusses clairvoyance, for instance) but his words on constructing a "definite major purpose" for life really helped me focus on what I really wanted to do, which is what i was missing all along.

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I figured mine out this week: to find the root of all the bad premises that have kept me from achieving financial independence and self-esteem and to invalidate them and replace them with good premises. A major undertaking, especially since this has been a lifelong problem.

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practice my vocal skills more

finally try out for American Idol this summer

avoid procrastination and finish senior year with a bang

go to India in the summer

choose the right college to attend in the fall

surround myself with more people who i can really respect

submit an essay for the TF essay contest

exercise more

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Good looking out :thumbsup: I always like articles that actually present NYRs as a good thing, instead of something that is masochistic and doomed to failure.

So how did everyone do on their 2006 resolutions? I got 5 of mine done, and am aiming for more this year.

Thoughts?

Even if you're sure you'll know what you mean by a simply stated goal, there's no reason not to lay out explicitly what you mean.

Agreed, and make them well defined, with objective standards of success - "Lose 5 pounds" or "read 10 books" are much, much better goals than "look good in a bathing suit" or "read a lot of books".

setting out, at regular intervals, a schedule that lays out what you will do to approach that goal, a schedule that lays out a specific time to perform specific actions relating to the goal.

One thing that helps me is to have a (written) prioritization of resolutions. I don't set specific times, but I do have daily subgoals, and getting the subgoal for resolution #1 is treated as a higher priority than the other subgoals, and so on.

set aside a time at the end of the day to ask yourself "did I hold myself up to this goal? if not, how did I fail? What can I do in the future to fix it?"

Good. For me, 99% of the instances I don't attain a daily subgoal are a result of

  1. something unavoidable came up (e.g. having to work overtime)
  2. plain laziness (e.g. I had plenty of time, I just didn't do it when I had a chance)
  3. tried but failed at an attainable subgoal

You really can't worry about #1s and #2s are just a matter of doing it (usually the very next day). #3s are the only ones I really will spend time analyzing. Usually even a failed subgoal has some amount of progress that can be built upon next time, and sometimes I will work for an easier subgoal the next day, but one that is an improvement on whatever was obtained the previous day. Improvement is often more important than whether the resolution is 100% success at year's end.

Start journal again, to keep track of your progress. This is one of the easiest things to do

And IMO one of the best things to do. (Almost) every day I write (on computer) down my subgoals and strike those (that are attained at the end of the day) out. Gives a good sense of progress and makes looking back very, very easy. I also like to memorize some resolution-related things (e.g. top 3 or number of days I have left to beat resolutions) and use it as a sort of mantra. It's easy to keep focused when you can recite resolution-related factoids at moment's notice.

Anyway, since putting it in writing makes it official, my top 3:

  1. make a "legitimate" video game - design/program/probably artwork. I have a GP2X (bootleg video game system) that I am going to implement the game on
  2. know the material in my two Japanese textbooks - vocab, grammar, distinctions between similar words. Whad'dyamean this was a resolution last year?
  3. save up $10K - 'nuff said

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Without a doubt, I need to make one of my top priorities for the new year to lose 40-50 lbs. I need to be a 4/5ths of the person (physically speaking) than I am today.

Past that;

Improve some of my work habits.

Practice guitar more.

Improve my riding skills.

I'm betting by accomplishing the first one, the others will follow to some degree.

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...make them well defined, with objective standards of success ...One thing that helps me is to have a (written) prioritization of resolutions. I don't set specific times, but I do have daily subgoals, and getting the subgoal for resolution #1 is treated as a higher priority than the other subgoals, and so on....sense of progress..
The way I kept track in 2006 is by drawing out a little tabular grid and putting my resolutions in the first column. (I decided that the resolutions would be a single -- portrait oriented -- page). Then, I have a second column where I wrote down what I wanted to acheive in the first quarter of the year. That single page is all I needed. It worked pretty well, and I plan to do the same this year. This is what it looks like...post-1227-1167685972_thumb.jpgOn this, I would pencil in actual acheivements.

I didn't really prioritize among the resolutions, but I had a "theme" to my resolutions. Many of them fit into the themse of "taking time out of the day to day grind, to do fun stuff that keeps getting put off... whether it's reading, movies, cooking a special meal, etc".

So how did everyone do on their 2006 resolutions? I got 5 of mine done, and am aiming for more this year.
The ones that fit my theme went very well (I guess it's relatively easy to make the time do some fun stuff!) The other set (second theme) was what one might term "Central Purpose related"...things related to software-development. These went fine, but I suspect I'd have done many of them anyway, even with having written them down. The only one that fell flat is the one I was never really motivated to do: exercising. I made some progress, but it was so pathetic that I'd call it "zero".

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So now that it's 2007 everyone is coming up with their new year's resolutions. So what new goals will you be working toward in 2007?

As for me I have a bunch of projects that I keep putting off for various reasons. A MythTV box with a completely overkill amount of disk space (I want to get a 5-bay SATA drive array for it with 5 1TB drives). Probably way too overkill for home use but it will still be cool to have. :pimp:

The other project is a MAME arcade cabinet. My new roomate has already bought an old arcade cabinet so it looks like this is one that I might actually complete.

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Mine:

  • Start jogging on a regular basis.
  • Develop a more structured exercise routine.
  • Submit at least two of my in progress papers to journals.
  • Help railroad companies save millions in transportation costs.
  • Consider trying out for Jeopardy!

Since the last one is to consider, it is my easiest goal.

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*** Merged reblogged post into an existing topic - sN ***

 

 

By Alex Epstein from The Ayn Rand Institute Media Releases,cross-posted by MetaBlog
 

What to Resolve This New Year

By Alex Epstein (January 1, 2009)

Given the devastated state of many Americans’ finances, our New Year’s resolutions will take on greater significance this year. To “get out of debt” was often a casually stated goal to be set as midnight approached and forgotten soon after; today it is rightly recognized as a fundamental necessity of life.

Unfortunately, the New Year’s commitment to self-improvement is widely viewed with cynicism--in part because New Year’s resolutions go so notoriously unmet. After years of watching others--or themselves--excitedly commit to a new goal, only to abandon the quest by March, many come to conclude that New Year’s resolutions are an exercise in futility that should not be taken seriously. “The silly season is upon us,” writes a columnist for the Washington Post, “when people feel compelled to remake themselves with New Year’s resolutions.”

But this attitude is false and self-destructive. Making New Year’s resolutions does not have to be futile--and to make them is not silly. Done seriously, it is an act of profound moral significance that embodies the essence of a life well-lived.

Consider what a New Year’s resolution consists of: we look at where we are in some area of life, think about where we want to be, and then set ourselves a goal to get there. We are tired of feeling chubby and lethargic, say, and want the improved appearance and greater energy level that comes with greater fitness. So we resolve to take up a fun athletic activity--like tennis or a martial art--and plan to do it three times a week.

Is this a laughable act of self-delusion? Hardly. If it were, then how would anyone ever achieve anything in life? In fact, to make a New Year’s resolution is to recognize the undeniable reality that successful goal-pursuit is possible--the reality that everyone at one time or another has set and achieved long-range goals, and profited from doing so. Indeed, not only is it possible to achieve long-range goals, it is necessary for success in life. To make a New Year’s resolution is also to recognize the undeniable reality that secure finances, rewarding careers, and romances do not just happen automatically--that to get what we want in our lives, we must consciously choose and achieve the right goals. We must be goal-directed.

Unfortunately, a goal-directed orientation is missing to a large extent in too many lives. It is all too easy to live life passively, acting without carefully deciding what one is doing with one’s life and why. How many people do you know who are in the career they fell into out of school, even if it is not very satisfying--or who have children at a certain age because that’s what is expected, even if it’s not what they really want--or who spend endless hours of “free time” in front of the TV, since that’s the most readily available form of relaxation--or who follow a life routine that they never really chose and don’t truly enjoy, but which has the force of habit?

Too often, the goal-directedness embodied by New Year’s resolutions is the exception in lives ruled by passively accepted forces--unexamined routine, short-range desires, or alleged duties. It is the passive approach to happiness that makes so many resolutions peter out, lost in the shuffle of life or abandoned due to lost motivation. More broadly than its impact on New Year’s resolutions, the passive approach to happiness is the reason that so many go through life without ever getting--or even knowing--what they really want.

It is a sad irony that those who write off New Year’s resolutions because so many fail reinforces the passive approach to life that causes so many resolutions--and so many other dreams--to fail. The solution to failed New Year’s resolutions is not to abandon the practice, but to supplement it with a broader resolution--a commitment to a goal-directed life.

This New Year’s, resolve to think about how to make your life better, not just once a year, but every day. Resolve to set goals, not just in one or two aspects of life, but in every important aspect and in your life as a whole. Resolve to pursue the goals that will make you successful and happy, not as the exception in a life of passivity, but as the rule that becomes second-nature.

If you do this, you will be resolving to do the most important thing of all: to take your happiness seriously.

 

Edited by softwareNerd

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10 miles, huh? I consider myself in good shape, but I can't imagine making it through that. Sounds tougher than a half triathlon. If you go, keep us posted please, maybe it inspires others to give it a shot too.

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I'm in awful shape. I went paintballing last weekend and my quads were still a little sore yesterday. For the record, I want to be ready for the first Mudder near Wisconsin in 2014 (basically, I want to be in shape by the end of next year). That makes me a, "mudderling." I have a friend who completed one this year; I can count on him to ridicule me throughout the training process. Consider that my first/baseline progress report.

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