The Problem With New Year’s Resolutions

Every year, we’re inundated with people telling us what their resolutions are. “I’m going to get up at 7am every day.” “I’m going to drink 6 liters of water every day.” “I’m going to exercise 6 days a week.”

First, I don’t fucking buy it. You’re not going to do those things; why even pretend that they’ll last a week? Why are you sharing with the world these ridiculous goals? If you wanted to get up earlier, just start doing it. Don’t wait until the 1st to start a new habit.

It’s tempting to join the crowd. “Hey, what are your New Year’s Resolutions going to be?” Everyone is doing it. Why not? The holidays are over, you’ve gained some weight, you’re reflecting on how much better you think your life should be.

It’s kind of honorable, in a naive optimistic sense. It’s the thought that counts, right?

No: the way we approach resolutions is totally wrong.

Don’t fill up your life with meaningless checkboxes.

People seem to want to build more habits. “Every day I’m going to meditate for 30 minutes.” Why are you doing this? Why have you decided to build the perfect morning, or make a certain amount of money, or whatever flavor of the week trick?

Here’s what you should really be doing:

Figure out your goals for the next year. Break those into meaningful chunks of a few weeks or months.

(or don’t. Continue to resolve to go to the gym for the first 2 weeks of every year.)

Here are my goals for this year, since you asked:

  • Write a book. I’ve wanted to; why not? If a book is 100000 words, I can get it done by writing about 275 words per day.
  • Make a major change in my life. Move away from Santa Barbara, get a different job, find a serious girlfriend, get a dog. I don’t know. Wheels are in motion; I’ve got to keep them in motion.
  • Learn enough about BioInformatics to either get a job in it next year, or decide to go back to school in it, or decide its not for me. Stop complaining once and for all about not being on the front lines of cool medical science work and either figure out how to get into it or give it up.
    • As part of this, learn Python
  • Get down to 10% body fat. Last year I got down to 13-14% before the holidays destroyed my progress; I can get down to 10%. Why? 10% is where the abs are visible.

But there you have it. Not a single meaningless resolution.

Roundup: Abstainers vs Moderators, False Realities, and Velocoraptors

Weekly Media Roundup (June 20 – 26)

On Dinosaurs

More like a bird than a terror-beast...

Real dinosaurs had feathers.

Fun

Articles:

Career/Financial

Podcasts:

Articles:

Personal Improvement

Podcasts:

Articles:

Roundup: Meddling with Our Genes, Fecal Transplants, and Being More Confident

Weekly Media Roundup (June 13 – 19)

I love a good long drive – lots of time to listen to podcasts! I got sucked in this week – hope you find something interesting.

Fun

Books:

Podcasts:

Health

Books:

  • David D Burns – Feeling Good
    • I’ve mentioned this one before, but this is a great one for overcoming depression using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I read chapters on overcoming depression due to tragedy and sickness, as well as getting to the root of the depression.

Podcasts:

Career/Financial

Articles:

Relationships

Articles:

  • The New York Times (Aziz Ansari) – How to Make Online Dating Work
    • Actually go out on dates!
    • The 3 questions that matter (according to OkCupid): “Do you like horror movies?” “Have you ever traveled around another country alone?” and “Wouldn’t it be fun to chuck it all and go live on a sailboat?”

Personal Improvement

Books:

  • Napoleon Hill – Think and Grow Rich
    • I finished this book this week, and was highly impressed. Really interesting stuff about the power of mastermind groups and overcoming fear. It falters a bit when the author starts to describe his belief in telepathy, but this is one to come back to again. Definitely pick up the physical book, because there are a lot of lists.

Podcasts:

Articles:

Roundup: Meta-learning, Burnout, and Fake Armies

Weekly Media Roundup (April 29 – May 6)

I think my mind exploded this week. I drove for hours, backpacked for days, and commuted by bicycle. I hope you find something in here inspires you. I’ve grouped this list into several categories: Health, Financial/Career, Personal Development, and Fun. Here’s what I’ve listened to and read in the last week and recommend:

Personal Development

Books:

  • Tony Robbins – Awaken The Giant Within
    • I’ve held out for a while, but I finally read a Tony Robbins book. Highly recommended. Take massive action and buy it now!
  • Don Miguel Ruiz – The Four Agreements
    • Achieve personal freedom by following these four super simple rules. Highly recommended.

Podcasts:

Articles:

Health

Podcasts:

Fun

Podcasts:

Short Reads:

Financial/Career

Podcasts:

Note: there’s a lot of meat in here, especially in The Four Agreements and Awaken The Giant Within, as well as Recovering From a Burnout and Distraction is an Obesity of the Mind. My brain is ready to explode. I’m going to try (as hard as I can – hopefully I don’t forget) to go on an information diet. I’ll only read fiction, and only listen to books I’ve read before (including The Success Principles), with the exception of research for this blog or work. Check in with me next week to see if I succeeded!

Roundup: Superhumans, Life Priorities, and Microservices

Weekly Media Roundup (April 22 – 28)

I listen to and read a ton of great stuff, mostly during exercise. I hope someone out there finds something that inspires them. I’ve grouped this list into several categories: Health, Financial/Career, Personal Development, and Fun. Here’s a list of what I’ve consumed in the last week and recommend:

Financial/Career:

Podcasts:

Articles:

Health

Fun

Podcasts:

Articles:

Personal Development

Notice: I didn’t have anything on here about relationships! I’m in a relationship, so the normal “improve your dating” podcasts don’t interest me. What do you suggest?

Taking Action: In Action

A few weeks ago I encouraged you to take action. If you haven’t read that, read it now.

Seriously, now.

Here are some things I’ve taken action on in my life, in order to live the life I want:

Health:

  • Stick to a rigorous schedule of 3 days a week lifting, 3 days a week running
  • Adhere to IF (no food before 12 or 1pm daily, stop eating at 8 or 9pm)
  • Prepare most of my food. Eat a salad or oatmeal/fruit for lunch at work every day, regardless if food is provided for me
  • Stop drinking soda completely
  • Take a cold shower daily
  • Meditate on days that I run
  • See a psychologist for mental health
  • Make my bed daily

Financial/Career:

  • Stop getting tea first thing when I walk in at the office, and start working immediately
  • Stop taking my cell phone to meetings — it’s just a recipe to screw around
  • Roll over any raises into my 401k and savings
  • Get up at 5 am and use the first hour of my day to be productive
  • Work on a startup idea with several friends

Relationships:

  • Attend 1 Meetup per week, in order to make friends outside of work
  • Have a goal of 1 date per month with someone new
    • (fortunately, this no longer applies 🙂
  • Actively develop my social skills by enrolling in courses like those offered by Social Pro
  • Eat dinner with my friends every Friday

Personal Development:

  • Read and listen to success oriented books, podcasts, and blogs on a daily basis
  • Join a men’s group (The Lion’s Den) oriented towards self improvement
  • Constantly take action on developing new habits and trying new ideas
  • Meet weekly with a coach to discuss progress in my life and at work
  • Write 2 blog posts per week
  • Track my habits daily using Way of Life

Fun:

  • Go scuba diving once every 3 months, at least
  • Take a backpacking class and backpack 3 times per year
  • Visit the rock climbing gym 2 times per week

Now that I’ve written it down, it seems like a killer list. But I’m not done. I’m exponentially improving. What’s next?

  • Eat Soylent for 2 weeks
  • Start running using the Tibata method (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, 8 rounds total)
  • Stop using an alarm clock to wake up early; instead, go to bed early and give my body the sleep it asks for
  • Re-read The Success Principles one chapter at a time, and implement the principles

Naturally, I won’t do it all at the same time. Habits should be introduced slowly, and I want to see whether something is effective (which is difficult if you change too many variables).

Am I missing anything important? What can I start doing to advance myself at work or improve my relationship? What do you think I should try? What should I stop doing?

Roundup: Shipping It, Finding a Coach, and Becoming Part Machine

Weekly Media Roundup (3/18-3/24)

This week I listened to and read a ton of great stuff. I hope someone out there finds something that inspires them. I’ve grouped this list into several categories: Health, Financial/Career, Relationships, Personal Development, and Fun. Here’s a list of what I’ve consumed in the last week and recommend:

Health

Articles/Blogs

Financial/Career

Books:

Podcasts:

Relationships

Podcasts:

Personal Development

Books:

Articles/Blogs:

Podcasts:

Fun

Articles/Blogs:

Podcasts:

Videos:

I’d love to hear what you find interesting as well – leave a comment!