Take a Different Approach to New Year Resolutions

I’m not a fan of New Year Resolutions. I don’t make them.

The start of another year doesn’t automatically make for a great starting point to change your life. I’ve heard countless people say they want to start the new year as they mean to go on. Unfortunately, they usually start the year with a sore head and a desire to ignore the world around them until their hangover has disappeared…

photo by Charlie P Barker

photo by Charlie P Barker

Instead of a New Year Resolution that you’re more likely than not to break, would you be willing to try something new and/or limiting to push you further and help you discover things you may not have found otherwise?

This year, I’m trying out something that’s more a cross between a resolution and an information diet.

While an information diet is usually about reassessing the content you read and view, I want to do something similar that focuses on the music I listen to.

Music is one of my weaknesses. I listen so much of the stuff that I don’t have enough time to listen to it all. My Spotify playlists grow, I continue to go oldskool and buy CDs, and I even buy high-quality FLAC files for some classical music.

If I didn’t listen to so many different genres, the situation may not be so difficult. But my range is too eclectic for my own good and I’m always on the lookout for more, not less. In terms of keeping an open mind, musical diversity is great. In terms of my attention and my time, it’s not so wonderful.

So I’m going to try something new with my listening this year. Like an information diet, I’ll limit and prioritise my intake of music to assess where I can save time while appreciating the music even more.

The big difference is that I’ll listen only to music that is released in 2012. That way, I intend to get more out of my listening rather than face an overwhelming mass of stuff that I can’t properly appreciate.

There will still be plenty of time for older music, because music is everywhere. My friends and family listen to all sorts when I’m around, I hear it on the radio, it’s played at pubs and clubs, people send me recommendations (old and new) that I’ll still happily spend time on.

And the variation of older music needn’t stop there. What about bands releasing ‘best of’ albums in 2012? That counts. And there’s no end to the classical music releases every month. Take Beethoven, for instance. When I searched Spotify on January 4th 2012 for Beethoven CDs released in the first few days of the new year, I wasn’t left wanting. Already available are recordings of most of Beethoven’s symphonies, his late piano works, some earlier piano sonatas, a violin concerto, and a selection of cello works. That’s around 10 hours of Beethoven in the first few days of the new year. I’m unlikely to get bored through lack of choice…

I’ve already earmarked over 30 hours of music on Spotify to check out. Some, perhaps most of it, will get removed from my Spotify playlists. But there will be some keepers. And as the year moves on, I should have a more reasonable stock to work from, yet still not feel any type of overwhelm.

More importantly, I won’t end up spending too much time working through gargantuan amounts of music instead of spending my time more fruitfully elsewhere.

Music is for enjoyment, but I don’t want to end up enjoying it too much and forget about my responsibilities and the rest of the world around me. Adapting the way I listen to music and limiting the content to music released in 2012 may well add to my enjoyment, rather than take enjoyment away.

And if I am desperate to listen to a specific track for sentimental reasons…well, I won’t deny myself. After all, I’m trying to enhance my experience, not punish myself and force unhappiness. Information diets and other limitation exercises are meant to free you and give you greater scope.

Like I say, this isn’t a New Year Resolution. I’m not pledging to ignore all other music outside the 2012 publication period. That would be nuts. However, it is a reasonable boundary to focus on.

I have no set date to finish the exercise. I may find it works amazingly well if I’m disciplined enough about it and I could continue indefinitely. Alternatively, I may learn a few time-saving tricks here and there, but quickly change plans to something more agreeable.

Have you made any resolutions for 2012? Or will you be taking a different approach? Have you found a better time to make particular resolutions?

photo by jaxxon

photo by jaxxon