I replaced my New Year’s resolution with this

I used to make New Year’s Resolutions. It’s just so tempting. It’s a new year, a blank slate, a new beginning, and we can improve. But, like most, my resolutions didn’t last long as my habits conquered my intentions. And, like most, I fell back into my normal rhythms and figured next year might be better.

This year, I opted for something different. I knew going into this year I wanted to do three things:

  • Read more than ever before.
  • Write a short book on podcasting.
  • Get serious about learning Mandarin (for like the 18th time).

In the past, I would have set goals for page counts, words written, or courses completed, but this year, I skipped all of that.

This year I set up timed goals for each day that will ultimately lead to my overall goals. I want to read more than ever before this year, so I set a goal for how much time I will read each day. I want to get through writing that book that has been going nowhere for six months, so I set a goal for how much time I will write each day (note, it’s not long, but once I start, I can keep going). The same is true for the Mandarin app on my phone; I’m not worried about lessons, just time logged.

I use an app on my phone to keep my time for each activity. The app allows me to have widgets on my phone’s screen, so every time I look at my phone throughout the day, I see how much time I have logged and mentally calculate how much more time I’ll need to log that day.

I set up a Google Sheet to keep up with my progress, and at the end of each day, I log my time in the spreadsheet. I also set it up so that if I hit my goals, the cell in the spreadsheet turns green, which is always nice for someone that loves to check a box and see things as complete. The spreadsheet also tallies my total time in each activity, and I love seeing that number climb daily.

Since I’m already tracking my time, I also decided to track my time playing video games to keep it within a reasonable amount. So, on that same spreadsheet, each day I log any time I’ve played games, and if it goes over a time limit, the cell turns orange, reminding me that I’ve missed my goal for that day.

I’m admittedly only 14 days into this process, but so far, I love the approach, and it’s already gone better than past approaches to New Year’s. I’ll keep it up and report back in 3 months. Until then, what are your resolutions, and how are they going for you?

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