Friday, December 27, 2013

12 in 2014

New Year's Eve is almost upon us. It's the time of the year where, in the afterglow of the holidays, anything seems possible! And since, everything is possible, why not pick something it? A resolution is born, ready to be honored through 12 months of hard work! Right?

See? Gaudy, boastful success could be just around the corner! 

Well, maybe. If you're lucky. 

Probably, though, you're just like me. Filled with good intentions, I carefully (or not so carefully) craft a resolution or three, and get off on a good start come January 1st. I might succeed for a week, sometimes even two.

Then it happens. Life.

Life really gets in the way of living sometimes. One day full of exhausting errands, an overwhelming bout of laziness, or the start of a new semester, and those resolutions are out the window. And so another year of similar-ness goes by.

I say, enough is enough! 2014 will be a year of success. How? With a clever plan, inspired by the lovely photographers of Flickr. Photographers love to take on One Photo A Day challenges for the new year. I myself have failed at this no less than three times. Some people, though, do complete a challenge, by using a simple psychological trick. Instead of staring down 365 days ripe with the potential to fail, they divide up their challenges by month. Some of them even use monthly challenge lists, which give a theme for each day of the month. 365 photos later, they've succeeded in keeping a New Year's Resolution!

This technique may sound familiar. Studies have shown that it takes humans around 21 days to form a habit. Conveniently, this is a little less than a month's worth of time. So here's the plan: every month this year I will work on accomplishing one resolution or goal. By the end of each month, my resolution should be second-nature, so that I can keep it up effortlessly while working on the next month's goal. In December, I will be 12 habits better.

I admit, this plan is already frustrating to me. The promise of a fresh start makes me eager to change, so having to hold off on 11 of those changes is a little frustrating. However, by spacing the changes out, I believe I can keep that feeling of capability and excitement going strong for the whole year.

I'll be spending the last days of 2013 drafting my list. Next week, I'll be back to share it with you. Want to join me? Share your list, and we can hold each other accountable...or at least marvel at each other's determination! Alternatively, if you think I'm crazy, I want to hear about that too! See you in the comments.

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