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Nikhil
Nikhil

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at unsungnovelty.org

New year resolutions can be a useful & necessary first step

I see a lot of dislike towards new year resolutions. There is a assumption that new year resolutions is bad and ineffective. At least some people think new year resolutions as a finalised plan. Which is probably why they feel so strong against it when it isn't working. It is not a finalised plan. It is just a rough script for how you want your new year to go. You need to be working on it everyday. Trim it down or expand as necessary. You don’t have to hit it all. In fact, most people won’t hit it all. And that is fine. It is definitely better to start your year with a script than go unscripted and blind. Especially for people who didn’t have a script until now. New year resolutions can also be a first step towards setting up your own productivity system. A productivity system which you never had.

But but... if they were serious about it they wouldn’t wait till new year you might say. Yeah, sure! That is just wishful thinking. Humans are complex and different in so many ways. New year resolutions are not for people who already have their stuff together. Or for people who have a productivity system already. It is for people who don’t have it figured out. Or for people who don’t have a productivity system. It is for people who go unscripted all year.

New year resolutions are not any different from how people find excuses to procrastinate on something either. New year for many is just an excuse to start fresh and do something better. Especially when they have had a bad year. Same reason why you move to a better company to work after working at a horrible workplace. The new company gives you hope and a fresh beginning. We also do this for major birthdays like when you reach 30 or 40. Will Smith did some crazy stuff at his 50th birthday. Like all of this, new year is just a new beginning for many. The problem is that many don’t stick with it. For those who do, it will have positive effects on their life.

As someone who started off the productivity push with new year resolutions, here is my story…

It was the last week of 2016. I was working on my 2017 new year resolutions like every other year. I wrote all the goals – my new year resolutions I have for work was in a github ticket. It was public to other colleagues as well. This was encouraged by my manager at the time. It was the best thing I have done until then. Definitely scary to go public with my goals. But it was nice to have them somewhere.

A couple of months passed and like the majority I started falling behind my resolutions. It was still public and my to-do lists remained majoritively unchecked. And I would see some of my colleagues updating their yearly goals and I was in the majority who didn’t. My new year resolutions became untouched all through Q1 2016 in case I remember correctly. I realised only a few people from the office were updating it regularly.

It was the peer pressure that got to me eventually. I started working on my resolutions/goals more often. But I realised it was hard to remind myself about my goals. It was never in my focus point. To tackle this I set my browser to open the github ticket every time I launched the browser for the day. This means every morning I open my browser, I will see my resolutions. This had a profound effect on me.

Seeing your to-do list regularly will have a positive effect on you. It will put the goals back into your focus point. Soon, I started sticking with the plan regularly. I ended the year by hitting all the main priorities. I didn’t finish all my goals. But I finished all the main goals I wanted to hit. Now I didn’t have to start from scratch anymore. I added new items and copied the backlog to the next year.

New year resolutions that year was the first exposure for me to work on my productivity system. I didn’t want to go unscripted anymore. It was possible only because of the enforcement of the circumstances. But the reality is that it all started only because I wanted to change things during new year with new year resolutions. I could’ve written anything and never updated that ticket. But I tried to stick with it. And it worked out for me.

New year resolutions might not be the most popular and effective way to kick off your life into a new direction. But it definitely one of the most common way people try out every year. It is just another way. Like everything else, just writing things down isn’t enough, you need to work on it.

As a kid I was taught to dream thanks to Dr. Abdul Kalam. New year resolutions can be our dreams. Dreams that we can all work towards to.

”Dream, dream, dream. Dreams transform into thoughts and thoughts result in action.”


This post was first published at https://www.unsungnovelty.org under the title "New year resolutions can be a useful & necessary first step".

Have thoughts or feedback regarding my post/writing? DM me on Twitter @unsungNovelty.

Oldest comments (4)

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nicholascostadev profile image
Nicholas

I've never done a new year resolution, but I know from my friends that it helps a lot to mark down your thoughts for the next year. I'm the type of person that goes unscripted all year, rarely creating my own to-do lists, I'm not proud of it I can say. Surely making your to-dos public leads to imaginary pressure and can become a great mental push, probably a great idea for me as a lazy person haha. All being said, I'm going to start making my own new year resolutions, do more to-do lists and check how my productivity improves, guess it's a great idea, your post was really helpful, I'm probably going to share the results in a post soon.

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unsungnovelty profile image
Nikhil Author

Let me know how it goes. Since productivity is new to you, let me try and make your life a little bit easier.

  • Do not have restrictive goals or rules while you try to increase productivity. You will stop following them if it's too hard.
  • You productivity system with your rules and structure (Example: I will work 5 hours a day, publish 4 blog posts a month) will fail a lot initially. Use trial and error approach and tweak it until you have a satisfying system. Like I said, if the system becomes restrictive, you will stop following them.
  • Don't focus on only the numbers. Let things go organic. This is a common mistake we do. Our goals like 50 books to read a year. 4 blog post a month can force us to do things and forget why we started in the first place. I would read books so fast to try and catch up with my goals that I was not thoroughly reading the book. The whole point was to read books and learn new knowledge. Not to just finish number of pages.
  • If your productivity system work, don't change them. Maximum utilization is the key to maximum productivity. There are so many new productivity tools getting released that you will want to try them out. Don't! Stick with your note app for example. As long as it tends to your needs, don't change it.
  • Consistency is key. Do small amount of things regularly than big amount of things once in a while. Consistency will give you dividends in the longer run.

I have wrote about it a couple of years ago in 9 Productivity & personal growth rules made from my 2019 . Maybe this will have something you are looking for.

All the best! :)

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nicholascostadev profile image
Nicholas

Do not have restrictive goals or rules while you try to increase productivity. You will stop following them if it's too hard.

I truly agree with you, that maybe was one of the reasons I stopped doing my to-do lists, I used to set up many goals that weren't even possible to do in one day and not even in a week, and that made me think I was the problem, but looking back at it, I reckon the problem was how far away the goals were when I stipulated the time limit.

Don't focus on only the numbers. Let things go organic.

I guess it also was a problem for me, with the example you gave of reading a book, I used to forget the real reason I was doing it, that was for learning, and not for completing goals.

I'm going to start small, by doing simple to-do lists and seeing what can I accomplish with them, and like I've said in the previous reply, I'm probably going to share the results in a post soon.

Thanks again.

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unsungnovelty profile image
Nikhil Author

Glad you found this helpful. Can't wait to read your post!

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