I prefer to start new year resolutions on my birthday, rather than in January. In this way, I always have a 22 day lead on anyone else. While it is a myth that performing a new task for 21 days makes the habit automatic, research suggests 66 days is sufficient on average (range 18 to 254) – putting myself 1/3 of the down the path before anyone else starts. This also provides me with a buffer to see whether the goals I am pursuing are starting to pay off. Nevertheless, I am a bit late to post these this time. In recent years, I have been overambitious, attempting too much at once, being unrealistic about the amount of time I am willing to devote to my goals. I phrase it this way, because there are always ways I can achieve my goals, but doing one thing always means sacrificing another.
Goal setting is all about priorities, which is where one should begin. Most people choose their resolutions based on their aspirations: to lose weight, to speak another language, to drink less alcohol. Looking over a list of common resolutions, they all seem to fall into two categories: health and knowledge. If my priority is to be a healthier person, I need to determine what I am willing to sacrifice in order to be healthier. Say, I want to go running for 20 minutes each morning. Am I willing to give up 30 minutes of sleep or doing something else? Am I willing to be uncomfortably cold while running in winter? In many cases, I may want to he healthier, but the solution I come up with does not fit with my priorities or my level of discipline.
This year is going to be a year of recovery. Recovery from burnout and bad habits. It is going to be a year of rebuilding. Rebuilding my personal discipline and ambition. It is going to be a year of quiet. Quiet reflection and consideration.
With this theme in mind, here are some of the details of my Year of Quiet.
- Develop a daily meditation practice. The benefits of meditation are numerous, but the main idea is that this practice will improve my ability to complete my goals. While I have meditated in the past, consistency has not been my forte. At some point in the year, I plan to participate in a silent meditation retreat.
- Learn to enjoy the quiet. This may go hand in hand with the above, but I have a habit of always consuming some content while doing the things I dislike. If I am running or doing the dishes, I always have a podcast or audiobook on. I worry being always engaged in some new content gives me little time to formulate my own thoughts and make connections.
I will keep my resolutions to habits, rather than goals. Goals may go into another post, but perhaps these two habits are enough for now. There is much that I want to do, and I hope the above assist me in them. Simple examples include: More coding, reading, and exercise. Less television, rumination, and sugars.
Next year will be a big year, one way or another.