Happy New Year, everyone!
It is January 1st, time for many of us to be pledging new year resolutions. But why must we be making resolutions for the entire year, is my question?
Life can be rather unpredictable, and we are generally bad enough at new year resolutions that the term has a negative connotation to it. Sure, I get the grandeur of the infrequent occasion for signaling in a fresh start, but I think that contributes to many of us getting caught up in the moment rather than being more realistic. Then soon after, we find ourselves paving our share of the road to hell with our good intentions.
Now, before you call me a depressing cynic and abandon my blog on its first post, let me confess I have been, and still is, an obsessive resolution list maker. For the last dozen years, I’ve produced my personal Kaizen List of 30-60 annual resolutions for personal self-improvement. The list is called that as my favourite word, kaizen, is Japanese for the art of constant self-improvement.So what’s a guy making 30-60 annual resolutions doing questioning people about not making new year’s resolutions?
That’s because I think in terms of monthly resolutions, for the most part, to help determine what’s feasible for me short-term. Then I multiply it by 10-12, or some other factor, pending how much I think I can keep it up throughout the year, to get my annual resolution. With things that are just “do or don’t”, I just have to decided to do it or not, but there is often even a plan towards getting there that I can plan out monthly.
Having achievable goals each month also means I have indicators by which I can at least semi-quantitatively gauge myself 10-12 times a year towards achieving my targets. This, I find, helps a lot, even if they were very touchy feely, gut instinct, sort of indicators. An example could be 12 yes or no answers to was I nice to my siblings this month? I can watch my tally to help me attain my goal throughout the year, though I should state this was not a real example for I am always nice to my siblings.
Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman
If you don’t like indicators because you have to keep track, you need not worry. The indicators are not necessarily meant to be dead serious, unless you really want to achieve something quantitative. Just having indicators to gauge means the issue is on your mind, and your constant awareness is more than half the battle to making changes you need in life.
Finally, having the monthly plans means you can also make annual resolutions starting any time or month of the year, not just January 1st. There aren’t enough of January “firsts” in a life time to wait for it to come around before committing to changes in life, not if you were going to get more out of life. It’s a good planning and management approach I am proposing, not ditching the new year’s resolution idea all together. A little long-term vision in your life planning is a good thing, so long as you can be flexible to adapt to changes due to factors beyond your control, especially those you cannot easily or feasibly overcome.
As for my resolutions in 2009, I’m making a small adjustment with my approach from previous years. I read Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman, very self-analytically last year, after testing in the top 0.6 percentile from the free Queendom online EI test (among over 84,000 subjects at the time). Among my “advice to self” comments that appeared in my copy of the book, the most frequent one was just shut up and do it!
Queendom.com Emotional Intelligence Test
In the past, my self-motivational technique was to make my intentions publicly known so I would have to face them in shame if I failed. However, reviewing various events in my life with characteristics discussed in the book, and recalling my states of mind through them, I realized I was more effective keeping things to myself and doing them. I don’t know why I didn’t “get that” despite self-proclaiming and believing I am by far my own toughest critic. I “get it” now, though, and will keep my mouth shut to carry through my resolutions unless I need help. In that case, I will ask for it. I will still use the same management approach towards my resolutions, and make others throughout the year as well. They’ll just mostly be my little secrets!
But that’s enough about me. What are your new month resolution/s?
You can leave the new year version if you haven’t had the time to change them, but please do share!
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 10.1