Thursday, January 5, 2012

I need habits, not resolutions

Every year, the arbitrary "Buy a new calendar day" strews the internet with Resolutions, and Tips for a Better Year, and other unhelpful hope-raising-subsequently-guilt-deepening ephemera.  I've tried making resolutions.  It doesn't work for me.

The last four years, I've carefully sat down and planned out how I can exercise more, and eat six small meals instead of two large, and will shop for local produce, and write every day, along with possibly starting a small side business, becoming a better heavy combat fighter, as well as fixing up the house.  It all seems reasonable on paper.  And then, like Hyperbole & A Half so eloquently/visually puts it, the wheels come off about a week later, because I am exhausted.

So I've decided to avoid the congratulations part of this cycle.  I'm just going to take each day at a time.  There will be no yesterday.  There is no tomorrow.  I will decide each day what I'm going to try to do.  Maybe I'll succeed at all.  Maybe I'll succeed at some.  Maybe I'll fail at all.

But if I fail, the really hard part to implement will be no castigation for failure.  No guilt.  No spending the evening feeling horrible about all the things I didn't do.  No patting myself on the back either for abnormal bursts of productivity. 

What I'm going to be proud of, is trends, and building habits.  If I manage to go to the gym 3 times a week, for an entire month, then I can pat myself on the back.  If I manage to write my words every day, I can be proud of myself. 

I need to build habits.  Habits are hard to build, but they're a lot harder to break.   By the end of 2012, I hope to have at least two new habits.

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