Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Resolution wrap-up

I'm not a big resolution-maker. I love the idea of self-improvement, and I particularly like the idea of mentally surveying the previous year and looking for areas that need some help, but annual resolutions just seem like a poor way to do it. The gym is always crowded in January and even into February, but a New Year's resolution is rarely enough to have a lasting effect on someone's behavior. Try to remember in June to ask some friends or neighbors how their New Year's resolutions are going. See how many even remember what they resolved.

If you are going to make a resolution this year, may I make a couple of suggestions:
1) Make it specific. How many miles a day do you want to walk? How many pounds do you want to lose? How much $$ are you going to save each month? Vague ideas ("exercise more" "save some money") won't last and are easier to cheat.
2) Make it small. Focus on something that can reasonably be accomplished in 1-2 months, or something that is only a slight step beyond your normal routine.
3) Involve a friend or family member, or keep track on a calendar or journal.

For 2006 I resolved to floss every day. Yea, I received many a raised-eyebrow "Are you serious?" kind of look when I told people last year. But being a mostly non-flosser this was quite a commitment for me, and I figured that unlike the typical resolutions of weight loss and other elements of personal improvement, this was one that if I failed to maintain, it would still have benefit.
Score: 20% . I was great through February which was a record for me, both in terms of flossing and resolution maintenance. After that it slowly tapered off as the year wore on, though I still did it more often than I would have otherwise with the nagging, 'I did make a resolution...' in the back of my head.

Here's the list of resolutions I'm kicking around for this year:
Go to the gym at least twice a week. This one is a little weak and too predictable. It's definitely something I want to do, but making it a resolution is sure to backfire. I'll feel even worse than usual on the weeks I cop out.

Eat fresh fruit every day. I've used this one before. I like it, as it reminds me to keep fresh produce in the house. I like to think I eat fairly well, but I rely heavily on canned/frozen foods.

Start and maintain knitting journal. I have scraps of ideas and projects kicking around the house, and I'm tired of looking at the piles. Also, when something works I'd like to have record so I can reproduce it, and when something doesn't work I'd like to have record so I can improve it for the next time.


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