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New Year's Resolutions – Nerdful Mind #51

January 3, 2021 by Simon Mannes

Do you have new year's resolutions?

Be it more physical activity, eating healthier, keeping a writing habit, or starting that side business. If you had resolutions before, be honest: did you keep the resolutions last year? The year before?

It's estimated that over 90% of new year's resolutions fail, many already in January.

If you ever wanted to start a new habit like flossing, running, reading, or getting up early, you will have noticed that starting and keeping at it is hard. (Until it isn't, that's when something became a habit.)

So why do we expect to change something overnight when we didn't do it before?

Instead of setting new year's resolutions, I'm doing three things that are much more effective.

  • Choose a one-word motto for the new year. My motto this year was “create”. It helped me start and keep at two writing projects. My next year's motto will be “interact”. Pick a word that resembles what you want to do. Verbs are best but pick what feels right.
  • Do a year's end retrospective. What went well this year? What didn't? What's coming up next year and what do you want to experience, learn, and build? What's really important to you? Where do you want your journey to go? This year I'm using this template by Ness Labs for my retrospective, just with a warmup question (“what good things happened this year?”), and sections about habits and gratitude.
  • Don't wait for new year's eve. If there's anything you want to change, start that change right now. Not “tomorrow” or “next year”. Why wait?
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

Reading Recommendations

How to Start a Mindful Journaling Practice - Mindful

“Writing can loosen the grip of emotions by bringing them out of the dark. With just a pen and paper, we can create the habit of being there for ourselves.”

The Science of Why New Year's Resolutions Don't Work

“If you've tried to make and keep New Year's resolutions in the past without success, maybe you need to learn the science behind behavior change before you try again.”

Lessons Learned in Software Development | Henrik Warne's blog

“Here is my list of heuristics and rules of thumb for software development that I have found useful over the years: Development 1. Start small, then extend. Whether creating a new system, or adding a feature to an existing system, I always start by making a very simple version with almost none of the required functionality.…”

Weekly Mindfulness Practice

This evening, take a piece of paper and note 3 things that made you happy today. Then write 3 things you are grateful for in your life. Enjoy this warm feeling you have now. If you like it, you can try tomorrow, too!

Research has shown that such a gratitude log boosts our long-term happiness.

End Note

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Have a great week


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