This is the time of year when we ritualistically set amazingly lofty goals, which we expect to achieve through sheer force of willpower. We pick the issue that nags at us the most and resolve to finally get it right this year despite our long-time, contradictory habits. It’s more likely than not that we’ll break these promises to ourselves and then end up feeling terrible about the whole endeavor… This cycle is unhealthy and unproductive!
Contrary to Collective Wisdom
Our collective wisdom tells us that we learn more from failure than from success and that change has to be hard. But, a recent study (from the Scientific American) indicates that this may be completely backwards. We focus on the failures, when we should be focusing on our previous successes. We also instinctively believe that we need more discipline to accomplish our goals, but this overlooks the fact that when we’re passionate about something, the motivation and discipline simply come and don’t have to be forced.
If getting something done takes such large amounts of willpower, maybe we’re not spending our time on the right things?
What Really Works?
My results from the 2009 year-end goals I set were imperfect, but still substantial enough to make a real difference in my life today… It turns out that the goals that I actually achieved were based on the things I really *wanted* to change, compared to the things I felt like I *should* change.
So I’ve decided to ease up and get real without all of this militaristic self improvement stuff, once and for all. I’ve put my internal drill sergeant to rest, and the only plans I’m making for 2010 are focused on bringing more fun and more of what I love back into my life.
What do you think? Am I taking the easy way out? What’s worked for you?