My favorite holidays are April Fool’s Day and New Year’s Day. It takes intelligence to be humorous or devise a well-thought-out prank, but it takes grit to improve yourself by setting New Year’s Resolutions. And who doesn’t have something about themselves they would like to improve on? If you aren’t growing, you are dying.
Many people I know fail to make resolutions at the beginning of the year. While it is true you could decide to change your life at any point; I think there is something special about the beginning of the year. It is easy to track your results by this same time next year and see how far you have come. For example, I have been doing Duolingo all year ( I missed lessons only three days since January 5th), and my Spanish has significantly improved.
The hang-up I most hear when people do not want to bother with a resolution is that they have failed at what they have set out to do in the past. But I am here to argue that resolutions are essential even when you forget them!
Think about a baby walking. They decide to get up. Hey, everyone else is doing it. They wobble on their chubby little legs, take a few steps, and crash on their butts. Boop!
What if a baby gave up after their first fall? Even after twenty falls? No, a baby keeps falling until they are shuffling around the house.
The mere act of walking is leaning forward, falling, and picking yourself up before you hit the ground. But most of us can do it without thought; it’s second nature, and habits can be made the same way.
Long ago, I read about the science behind habit forming. Without googling it again, it is roughly like in three weeks of doing the thing every day, it becomes a habit, and by ninety days, it becomes primarily unconscious.
Four stages of competence
|1. Unconsciously Incompetent
You don’t know what you don’t know. Life feels out of control, but you don’t understand why.
|2. Consciously Incompetent
You know what your problem is and that you must improve to achieve your goal.
|3. Consciously Competent
You are working towards your goal, but it takes tremendous effort. All you have to do is hang in there soon…
|4. Unconsciously competent
You effortlessly and without thought are doing what you set out to do. It has become habitual and instinctual.
You might have seen this conscious quadrant before, and I’m paraphrasing wildly, but I think it helps to understand how you learn so you can get the most out of it.
In my first year of junior college, the philosophy teacher laid that on me, and after embracing that idea, it’s been pretty smooth sailing.
If you have an overwhelming problem, break it up into more minor, manageable issues. Build awareness, take action, then form healthy habits.
If you are in debt, start by learning how much you are spending. To lose some weight, jot down your consumption and list your activities. If you want to be more positive, start writing down the good happening to you daily.
If you are in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging. From there, figure out the next step.
If anything was achievable, where would you choose to be at this time next year? What goals will you set for yourself? I urge you to make 2023 a year of progress! Let me know how you will below.