No really, I don’t. Actually, I vehemently oppose the practice.
To understand why, we need to go back a bit. When I was a kid, every New Year’s Eve I’d be asked about my resolutions, and I’d loudly proclaim them, having thought about them in preparation.
By the time I was 10 or 12, I was completely disillusioned with the whole thing. Each year started with such promise, such optimism, yet a few months in, I’d feel like I was letting myself and people around me down.
So I stopped.
And here’s the thing – many years later, after being suspended from university and having to essentially start building from scratch, I came to two conclusions.
- We are made up of habits.
- I suck at lofty but well-intended, noble goals.
This wasn’t a sudden realisation. Oh no, not at all. It came from a dark time, the biggest failure I had faced, a shattered ego and sense of self, unforgiving intense inquiry into my self, my actions, the causes and reasons for getting where I was.
But that first point – that was a major lightbulb moment when I put it together. We get used to acting the way we act, reacting the way we do, living the way we live. We don’t even think about these things on a daily basis. Setting one huge goal for the sake of it blinds us from all the little tiny changes we need to make in order to get there. We set a result without mapping the route. In startup terms – we talk about exit strategies without having done the gruelling product and customer grind.
What works for me is having a vague goal coupled with piecemeal chipping away and constant vigilance. And experimentation. Oh, the glorious data collection! Touching up and tweaking as we go along. Knowing that the 31st of Dec isn’t a deadline. The fun ends when I die dammit!
I’ve been reflecting on and investigating the past year a lot (more on that soon…ish) and have been making use of these ‘processes’ a lot. Processes are consistent slow-release happy pills. That’s much much more than resolutions have ever been for me.