New Years Habits

Rather than resolutions, I’m going to try a Ben Franklin-esque approach, adding new habits over the year. He built himself a list of 13 virtues, and then a cycle in which he concentrated on one per week. He kept a log which then let him hold himself accountable: each day in which he didn’t accomplish his virtue habit, he put in an X mark.  The goal, of course, was to have a week clear of X’s.  On week 1, he worked on habit 1.  On week 2, he logged how he did on habit 1, but really focused on habit 2.  The idea was that by concentrating on a particular habit and logging previous, you’d do well at your focused habit, and at least better than you were doing previously on your previous habits.  Rinse and repeat 4 times (4*13=52) during the year, and you’re making some real progress..

Not being _quite_ so formal here, in terms of keeping a log, but definitely trying an additive approach for habits on for size.  Thinking here the advantage, as opposed to New Year’s resolutions, is you’re adding targets iteratively, rather than having a really large set that you’re bound to fall over on early on.  Previous attempts to set New Year’s resolutions end up with 10 out of 13 failing within the first two months or so.  This, instead, lets me succeed a bit at a time, and also then know I get three more cycles.

– Eating more healthfully: Vegetables, consumption of alcohol
– Spend time with God: Bible-reading, prayer, …
– Organization – day timer system,…
– Spend more time with family – consistent in/out time for work

You’ll see we’re in the first week of the new year: I “cheated” and started early on eating more fruits and vegetables – started the week before.  With the minor scariness of having an apparent allergic reaction to a vegetarian pizza, things have gone swimmingly.  I’m in week 2, working on reading the Bible each night.  Chronological Bible in hand, doing a bit each evening.  So far, success – this one has proved challenging for me before to sustain, though – previous attempts to read through the Bible in a year have take 2 1/2 years or more.  I’m also trying out a new organization system in my Day Timer – counting this as a week 3 thing, as I’m not yet sure what the mechanics for my system are…  Uh, not doing so well on getting out of work on time lately – let’s make that a habit to tackle in week 4 or so..  :-)

Advantage here: I haven’t yet determined all 13 habits.  Observations on the way the year’s going can influence what habits get added in later weeks.  Agile self-improvement.

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