From New Year’s Resolutions To New Day’s Resolutions

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.

2 Replies to “From New Year’s Resolutions To New Day’s Resolutions”

  1. […] As dis­cussed around the same time last year, New Year’s res­o­lu­tions are not for every­body. Some stick to that con­ven­tion, oth­ers dis­tance them­selves for var­i­ous rea­sons. I’ll share my per­son­al res­o­lu­tion with you and invite you to try it for your­selves, no mat­ter if you are a believ­er or not. […]

  2. […] As dis­cussed around the same time last year, New Year’s res­o­lu­tions are not for every­body. Some stick to that con­ven­tion, oth­ers dis­tance them­selves for var­i­ous rea­sons. I’ll share my per­son­al res­o­lu­tion with you and invite you to try it for your­selves, no mat­ter if you are a believ­er or not. […]

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GOOD READS

The Mind­ful Rev­o­lu­tion, Michael Reuter

Die Acht­same Rev­o­lu­tion, Michael Reuter

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The Great Men­tal Mod­els I, Shane Parrish

The Great Men­tal Mod­els II, Shane Parrish

Neu­ro­science for Lead­er­ship, Tara Swart, et al.

The Secret Lan­guage of Cells, Jon Lieff

The Biggest Bluff, Maria Konnikova

Grasp: The Sci­ence Trans­form­ing How We Learn, San­jay Sarma

Essen Ändert Alles, Hol­ger Stromberg

Essen für den Kopf, Christof Kessler

The Oxy­gen Advan­tage, Patrick McKeown

Rewire Your Brain , John B. Arden

The Way of the Ice­man, Koen de Jong

Soft Wired — How The New Sci­ence of Brain Plas­tic­i­ty Can Change Your Life, Michael Merzenich

The Brain That Changes Itself, Nor­man Doidge

Lifes­pan, David Sinclair

What Does­n’t Kill Us, Scott Carney

Suc­cess­ful Aging, Daniel Levithin

The Body Builders, Adam Piore

Der Ernährungskom­pass, Bas Kast

The Way We Eat Now, Bee Wilson

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Denken: Wie das Gehirn Bewusst­sein schafft, Stanis­las Dehaene

Mind­ful­ness, Ellen J. Langer

Full Cat­a­stro­phe Liv­ing, Jon Kabat-Zinn

100 Plus: How The Com­ing Age of Longevi­ty Will Change Every­thing, Sonia Arrison

Think­ing Like A Plant, Craig Holdredge

Die Glück­shy­pothese, Jonathan Haidt

Mind Over Med­i­cine, Lissa Rankin

Das Geheime Wis­sen unser­er Zellen, Son­dra Barret

The Code of the Extra­or­di­nary Mind, Vishen Lakhiani

Alt wer­den ohne alt zu sein, Rudi Westendorp

Altered Traits, Daniel Cole­man, Richard Davidson

The Brain’s Way Of Heal­ing, Nor­man Doidge

The Last Best Cure, Donna Jack­son Nakazawa

The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk-taking, Gut Feel­ings and the Biol­o­gy of Boom and Bust, John Coates

The Inner Game of Ten­nis, W. Tim­o­thy Gallway

Run­ning Lean, Ash Maurya

Schlaf wirkt Wun­der, Hans-Günther Weeß

Sleep — Schlafen wie die Profis, Nick Littlehales

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