Tag Archives: newyearresolutions

It’s the second week of January. You’ve broken your resolutions. Here’s some better ones for a pandemic


You’ve made resolutions to improve and already you’ve broken some of them. I get it: it’s hard to keep resolutions at the best of times, never mind during a pandemic.  It’s worse if you were hoping those resolutions were what you were going to get you through the rest of the pandemic. You may feel adrift.

Fortunately help is at hand. Here is a good article that will provide you with some gentle resolutions and how you can keep them: I teach a course on happiness at Yale: this is how to make the most of your resolutions | Health & wellbeing | The Guardian.

In a nutshell, be more compassionate with yourself. By doing that, over time you may find you build up enough inner resources to go back and tackle those failed resolutions. Did I say failed? I meant, paused resolutions. 🙂

(Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash)

 

On recording (why you should think about it differently, why you should resolve to do it)

Recording. Record. To me those words bring up images of black vinyl disks to play music. Records are great, but there is so much more to making a recording.

A recording can be anything, on any media. All the photos you take on your phone and store on Instagram are a recording. All the receipts you collect in a box are a recording too: a recording of what you spent and where you spent it. Last year I wrote down all the dinners I had since the start of the pandemic: it too is a recording.

For 2021, a good resolution is to record some part of your life. Do it in a way that is easy to do regularly. Do it such that there is enough information to look at it later. Some of my recordings this year were terrible: books I read, runs I went on. Others were strong: things I enjoyed despite the pandemic, politicians I wrote, friends I kept in contact with.

Some people like to use paper for this. Austin Kleon, a master of recording, outlines his process here: The year in notebooks. As he says

If you’re looking for a New Year’s Resolution, keeping a daily notebook is a pretty solid one.

On the other hand, if you are a digital person like me, use a simple tool like SimpleNote or Evernote or just your smartphone camera to record that part of your life. Whatever tool works best for you is the best tool.

It doesn’t have to be a diary or journal format. It can be a log of the best thing that happened each day. Or the funniest thing that happened that week.  Or the weather. Just record something, even if it is a few words.

There’s a number of benefits to making these recordings. If you do it well, at the end of your year you may be able to build up a list like this: 100 things that made my year (2020) – Austin Kleon. Even if your list is smaller, what you may get out of such a list is a recording of what makes your life worth living and what made things worthwhile during times when perhaps things weren’t that great.

Later, as you go through it again, your memory will fire up and you may recall other good moments not captured on paper or computer but still there. That’s another great thing about recording things: it helps you remember so much more.

Your life has value and meaning. Recordings help show that. So get making them.

(Photos by Photo by Samantha Lam  (top) and  by Markus Winkler  (bottom) on Unsplash)

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February is the best month to make resolutions


Why? Because as Austin Kleon points out, it is the shortest month. Even this year, when we have a leap year.

It’s also a better month to go to the gym, because all the people who made resolutions have dropped off.

In the northern hemisphere it’s cold and dark, which makes it a perfect time to resolve to read more.

If you want to diet or not drink or not smoke for a month, why not pick the shortest month.

And hey, if you need a calendar to keep track of how well you are doing, go here: 29-day challenge – Austin Kleon.

Good luck!

P.S. You get an extra day  this year, and it falls on a weekend! Use it to do something you don’t normally have time for!

A good new year’s resolution: unsubscribing to mailing lists

Unsubscribing to mailing lists you no longer read or want is a good resolution to make and keep. Here’s why it’s a good idea:

  1. It doesn’t take long.
  2. It’s not something you have to do every day.
  3. It let’s you put off getting deep into work on your first day/week back from vacation. (Assuming this is you.)
  4. It will save you much more time than you think over the next month, season, year. If you spend 5 minutes a day deleting such email, over the year, that’s over 2 days of meaningless activity.
  5. It will help you get your inbox under control. It won’t get you to Inbox Zero, but it helps.

By the way, if you’ve been wanting to do a New Year’s resolution but haven’t come up with any, this one is easy.

Whatever resolutions you have made, consider these guidelines from Tony Schwartz (via @99u)

If you’ve made resolutions and plan to stick to them, that’s good. What may help you stick with them is this article: A Master Plan for Taking Back Control of Your Life – 99U. Essentially it is a list of general guidelines that can help you on your way as you tackle things like….resolutions. You will find it useful in other ways too.

I think it’s worth a read.  I’d also recommend Tony Schwartz in general: I’ve read a number of other pieces by him on the 99U and on other sites and I have found them to be valuable.

Happy New Year!