How to Actually Improve This Year

Over four thousand years ago, which is a number of years that’s hard for me to grasp my imagination around, a normal, everyday farmer in living in the country of Akkad, an ancient region we call Babylonia, decided to greet the New Year, with the resolve to return borrowed objects, and to pay off their debts. Or perhaps it was someone within the political landscape of the time that decided to return borrowed objects and pay of their debts. Whatever the case, the idea of resolving the brand new year, and making promises to keep with themselves, resolutions, has been around for quite a while. (Perhaps as old as debt itself, If I was a guessing man.)

From Babylonians, to Egyptians, to Romans to Gregorian calendars, up to modern day resolution listicals, the idea of resolutions have stuck with us.

To honor new beginnings of the unwritten year with the hopes of change and the improvement of our lives.

But, while the idea of resolutions have stuck around, actually making them happen is a whole other matter.

In short, resolutions suck.

Doing them is much harder than setting them. The idea of a fresh start is an uplifting breath of fresh air. I’m not catholic, so consider this a poor oversimplification, but I tend to see the modern version of resolutions as a yearly confessions. After spending the past year not exercising, not eating well, not working on dreams, business ideas, relationships, and doing pretty much everything except what I wish I was doing, a list of resolutions is a big reset button, and a new chance of living a life true to ourselves.

I think the problem can be boiled down to size.

We want big bombastic life-altering change but when Jan 1. Rolls around, we are faced with anything but. Big goals are slippery. They are hard to contain all of their, bigness in your head.

What we need is a change of perspective:

Resolutions are focused on the big picture, yearly goals. What we need are daily resolutions. Small incremental habitual actions we can do each day.

So what’s overachieving mult-potentialite’s like you and I to do?

Start with a daily habit.

DAILY HABITS

Resolutions are made in the day. A daily habit gives you a chance to improve each day. 1% vegan doesn’t really add up to much for you. But what if you were to improve 1% every day? Now that ramps up quickly. A daily habit is the puzzle pieces that make up the BIG change we seek. One piece at a time, one day at a time, the picture we build gets clearer and clearer.

LOOSELY HELD EXPECTATIONS

I’m not just going to give up if I miss a day, or emotionally eat a whole pie on a particularly stressful evening. I’ll start fresh immediately. Resolutions are lived in the day. Every day is a chance to improve your life, but expecting every day to go my way and be peach keen is silly. When unexpected things happen, go easy on yourself.

REMEMBER THE FUN

A habit is only useful if you actually enjoy it AND find a positive benefit from it.

ONE AND DONE

Trying to do everything, is trying to do nothing. This is the biggest barrier for most people looking for big change in their lives, year after year. TOO MANY THINGS. Forget your list of 15 ways you want to improve your life, start with one. Start with the one that has the most priority, or choose one at random. Build up one habit first, then add another.

CHALLENGE YOUR LIMITATIONS

If you want to learn how to swim and your 70 years old, by all means go for it. Especially if swimming is a limiting fear. Anything that you think you can’t do, because of realistic reasons (too old, too young, unfit, unmotivated, underpaid etc) is a great place to start. Challenging your limitations of what you can or can’t do, not only proves that you can do that thing (or at least try that thing) but also improves your capable and belief in yourself across the board.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

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