Random Observation/Comment #541: Motivation only gets you so far. Create long term habits that effectively build you to become a better person without even thinking about it.
Why this list?
90% of New Year’s Resolutions fail within the first 2 months – why? Because we set our standards too high and phrase our changes too broad. People focus too much on BEING a certain type of person instead of DOING different actions to slowly transform them to this person. After listening to a talk from Caroline Arnold and reading her book “Small Move, Big Change“, I’ve decided to implement her recommended micro-changes.
Before jumping in, I thought her explanation of willpower and autopilot to be important to point out. You only have a limited amount of willpower throughout the day and it gets spent when you actively initiate a task and make decisions (decision fatigue). Whenever you decide to go to the gym, you use up that willpower, however if you ingrain going to the gym as an autopilot habit, then you don’t need to use that extra power. Rewiring existing autopilot habits are very difficult, but not impossible – you just need repetition to make that change stick.
In essence, large resolutions declare war on autopilot and will always lose because they spend too much willpower to make those large changes. Instead, take on 2-3 micro-resolutions every 30 days and make those big changes in the long term.
As with all resolutions and challenges, the planning and initial few days of getting into the groove is the most difficult part. Caroline’s suggestion is to really analyze your existing habits and break down the bottlenecks that are stopping you from reaching your goals. The book is filled with lots of examples on how people have made these micro-resolutions, but it’s only effective if it is personal to your own changes. For me, I wanted to first outline categories for improvement and then dive deeper into each area to make small changes to the habit that can be sustainable for a longer period of time.
How to write this list?
Pay attention to your routines and consider all areas of improvement in your life. It might not be a bad idea to review your Most Important Things List and seeing if you’re doing anything specifically to block them. Also consider the broader category of changes in Mind, Love, Food, and Move. Break these down into specific categories as you see fit. For example, Health may be too general, and you can dissect it into Diet, Exercise, Mindful eating, etc.
- Productivity – set aside more time to get things done
- Verbal Communication – speaking eloquence, summarizing, and idea transfer
- Simplified Written Communication – simple and clear requirements
- Visualized Communication – utilizing diagrams and infographics effectively
- Kinder Communication – awareness of other’s feelings when writing emails or speaking
- In-person Communication – awareness of body language
- Leadership – take initiative and ownership of items
- Mental Growth – learn something new in breadth and depth
- Stretch – physical limber
- Exercise Cardio – improved heart and overall health
- Mindful Eating – being more aware of what we put in our body
- Reduced toxins – moderation of alcohol, meat, caffeine, nicotine, etc
- Strengthen Physical – with activities improve performance
- Strengthen Emotional – having fewer things bother you
- Return to life – take time away from technology and hone in on what matters
- Connect – foster relationships and maintain connections
- Integrate – realize your own and others’ strengths, build something from it
- Mental health – meditate and relax
- Saving money for… – little costs add up and so do little savings
- Empower Others – inspiring and providing the resources needed for innovation/growth
- Creativity – thinking of more ideas in a practical approach
- Organization – storing and retrieving items efficiently
- Minimization – reducing our overall footprint of material goods
- Online Branding – filtering through your top 10 google searches of your name to ensure your preferred representation
- Career Reputation – honing what you’re known for at work through actions
- Hygiene – improvement of general cleanliness
- Physical Image – improvement of fashion, style, and personal view of yourself
- Happiness – general elation and the foundation of providing continuous elation
- Sleep – refill that willpower
- Patience – wait for it…
Now that you have some areas for improvement, think through how you can personally change 1 habit that will make this category better. Next post, My 30 Micro-resolutions.
~See Lemons Prepped for Resolve