For anyone who is here, halfway through January, judging themselves for not having new year resolutions or for having failed at a resolution already – let it go! New year resolutions are a trap. Every day is an opportunity to turn over a new leaf. Here is a collection of things I found recently and took some inspiration from. You can use this list now or at any point in the year.
“Saying Yes to New Habits with Charles Duhigg” on The Tiffany Han Show
In the first 20 minutes of this interview, Charles walks Tiffany through creating her own SMART goal: writing a book. My favorite part of that conversation was the analogy of goal-setting like a scientist. A scientist would not form hypotheses they knew they could prove true every time. They use every experiment as a lesson. It’s not a failure when things don’t work out, but leads you to ask new questions. Goals can be the same way. Even when you have a plan it can be altered. Five one-hour work sessions didn’t allow you to do deep work? Try two 2.5 hour sessions. Or one five-hour session! Lots of helpful advice here.
“5 Steps and 27 Tools for a Super Energizing Mid Year Creative Reboot” on Creative Pep Talk
I wrote about this one on the blog before. It was one of the best podcast episodes I heard on 2021. In the episode, Andy explains SMART goals in a way that got through to me for the first time. Before, I have always been bored by writing them and have never stuck with one for a meaningful amount of time. Andy provides a lot of resources (mainly book recommendations) that one can use for inspiration. One of the meaningful bits he shares from personal experience is the tower story; it’s easier to run towards something tall and clear. Listen to hear more.
Flow by Mihaliy Csíkszentmihályi
I have wanted to read this book for some time. It was available at my local library shortly after I read the news that the author had passed, so I checked it out. The book is dense, but it has some outstanding sections about goal fulfillment within. As opposed to the two podcasts I recommended, which are about a singular goal that could be executed over a relatively short time span, Flow is more about working on something throughout many years or much of a lifetime. That means committing to something for the long haul, whether it be tennis, crossword puzzles, or baseball scorekeeping.
I have been stuck in a rut for a couple years, one where I dislike goals. I like the idea of them, but I have never set out on a big, meaningful goal and seen it through. I have accomplished small things like (1) I quit using paper coffee cups in favor of bringing a reusable mug to cafes, (2) going to the gym regularly for about a two-year period, and (3) starting this blog a year ago and maintaining it ’til now. I can see how my negative attitude is tinged by the zeitgeist that resolutions work and small changes don’t count. I will work on changing my mindset about this and celebrate those small wins.
Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado