When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, there generally are two fractions: most of us make their resolutions on December, 31, and stick to them at least for a few days or weeks. Others deny any positive aspects of these resolutions since people don’t stick to them, anyway. There are numerous scientific approaches of setting goals — even data-driven ones — and some of them even suggest that making resolutions could effect people negatively since it burdens them with unrealistic challenges and thus reduces itself to absurdity.
I have asked some friends of mine whether they make their New Year’s Resolutions and they are quite representative: some do and some don’t. But all of them, during the last days of this year, like to reflect about their achievements, ask themselves what went wrong and what were the success factors, if existing. That shows: we all tend to analyze our performance during a specific period of time.
I personally stopped making New Year’s Resolutions in the narrower sense: I prefer to make them rather
- on a daily basis and
- in a more implicit way, as a somewhat internalized behavior.
What do I mean with that?
My goals aren’t as specific or output driven as ‘lose weight’, ‘use smartphone less often’ or ‘spend more time with family’ (technically speaking these goals are quite unspecific since they don’t contain concrete numbers), but more input or conscious-driven, like ‘do what you do in the best possible way’, or more operational, like ‘move 15k steps a day’. I try to internalize both, input-driven and operational goals, as much as possible into my lifestyle — so I don’t really think about them anymore as goals but rather as habits.
If you own a dog you can compare it with walking it — it has to be done, it will be done, and mostly it’s fun. You do it every day and you realize its benefits soon. Moving a lot makes me fitter, happier and more efficient. Focusing on doing things very well brings me satisfaction in terms of doing a lot of work without being stressed, a very good working climate and satisfied customers.
To accomplish my more operational goals I use Quantified Self wearables and apps. After having set up a new goal it takes me a few days to internalize and soon I use my Jawbone Up or other QS tools like our explore app for reassurance that goals have been met. Immediate feedback shows me whether I’ve been successful on a given day or I have to add some steps, for instance.
Sounds (too) good, doesn’t it? Sure, there are days this internalization of goals fails. But overall, I think I’ve been pretty successful fragmenting big goals and making them parts of my daily life. Thus — no New Year’s, but rather New Day’s Resolutions for me.
What about you? Has anyone of you stuck to your resolutions and accomplished small or big goals in 2014? Anyway, I wish you a fantastic 2015 — with or without goals!
PS: You might find those famous resolution lists worth a read.