Okay, New Year’s Resolvers, here are links to some nice common-sense pieces about how to make successful changes as ’09 kicks off. Veteran Resolvers won’t be surprised to learn that the advice herein looks pretty familiar, because, after all, how many ways are there to say Set Reasonable Goals, Don’t Try to Do Too Much at Once, Start Small, and Stay With It? Anyway, here’s a short refresher course and a longer piece on the value of Moderation, pegging one key idea to each letter of the word: M, O, D, etc.
I stress again that most of us simply don’t stay with anything long enough to get past Pain and into Gain. Experts say it takes anywhere from 4-6 weeks to form a new habit of any kind; up until then, the effort may seem futile, but it isn’t if you stay with it.
Long-time consistent effort is so rare that I love to celebrate it when I can. That’s why last year I linked to Art Garfunkle’s 40-Year Reading List, an enviable accomplishment I will try to emulate this year, noting every book I read on the blog.
Today I celebrate another marvel of consistency as heard on NPR this morning. As 2007 began, a group of six young photographers resolved that every day of 2008, precisely at 7:15 PM, each would take a photograph. If you scan through some of the results, you’ll find some extraordinary work and some mundane point-and-snap, but I’m not focusing (no pun) on the artistry here. I’m talking about the sustained effort, the putting one foot in front of the other, the dailiness, the sticking with it.
I didn’t hear the whole NPR report, but I’ll bet these photogs found some unexpected and healthy changes in themselves as a result of pledging this effort and staying with it 365 times.
As Gail Sheehy noted years ago, the real missed appointments are with ourselves. These six people vowed to set a daily appointment with themselves and they kept it. Check some of the results here.
What do you want to become in 2009? Whatever the goal–better fitness, dropping bad habits, reading more, helping people, decluttering, taking photos–staying with it is the key. Happy New Year!