New Years Resolutions

Avery Lychee

For several years now, I’ve believed that ✨ New Years Resolutions ✨ are often a waste of time. It’s too easy to create resolutions that are too difficult to actually achieve: they require long term habit changes, and have a failure point which is easy to use as an excuse to stop.

“I will exercise more” is a bad resolution because it’s too vague to actually do. “I will go to the gym 3 times a week” is a bad resolution because (unless you already do go to the gym that often) it requires a significant change to your habits, and as soon as you miss one gym session you can easily say to yourself “ah I already missed one… missing another won’t be that bad.”

So this year, I am making New Years Resolutions. But they have to fit these criteria:

  1. Something I’m already working towards. It can’t be something new.
  2. Flexible. Don’t give me an excuse to stop.
  3. Actionable. Nothing vague.

My resolution is “I want to spend more time working on things I want to work on.” This goal is something I’ve already been working towards, so that’s the first step done.

The second step is Flexibility: “more time” is too vague on its own, so I’m using Tetris Grand Master’s Cool rules1:

The number of hours I worked this month has to be at least ⅔ of the number of hours I worked last month. So if I worked for 10 hours last month, then I must work for at least 6 hours, 40 minutes this month.

This system is actually going to be calculated per category, so I need to be improving in all of the categories, rather than focusing on one to the detriment of everything else2.

This means that I should gradually improve, but if I have a super productive month, I’m not forced to have equally productive months forever.

The third step is to make it Actionable. Here’s the list of things I want to spend more time on, organised from “easiest” to “hardest”:

In order to kick this off, I need to make sure that in January I do at least 30 minutes of each of the categories. I’ll be using this log to keep track of my progress – at the end of each week, I’ll post an update that lets you know how much I’ve done so far this month.

  1. The actual rule in TGM is not the same, but it’s what inspired this. The original rule: “In each segment (100 levels), the player must be no more than 2 seconds slower than the previous segment”. The key inspiration was that I should encourage improvment, but give some leeway for circumstances and mistakes.

  2. I will be switching this back to “per everything” instead of “per category”, if this turns out to be unfeasable.