resolutions

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

12 Links to Help You Make Great New Year Resolutions

Happy New Year to you!

Yes, it’s that time of year when people start setting New Year Resolutions. Losing weight, learning a language, developing a new skill…It’s all to play for. Just as it was last year!  And it’s just as likely to fail for most of us.

To Do 2010 (photo by Gavin Luhrs)

To Do 2010 (photo by Gavin Luhrs)

I may be posting this on January 1 2010, so there may be a few aching heads out there. But it’s time to shake off that hangover and start thinking about the future!

Don’t let your goals fail. Here are 12 great posts around the Interweb on making your resolutions stick in 2010:

1. Penelope Trunk – How to keep a New Year’s resolution
Tips on how to make that change, whatever time of year. These from Penelope Trunk who, like me, isn’t a fan of New Year’s Resolutions.
2. Study Hacks – Resolve to Make 2010 a Year of Radical Simplicity
“Take back control of your life,” says Cal Newport. It’s time to cut out the burn out.
3. MakeUseOf – 5 Online Tools To Help You Keep Your New Year Resolutions
Since we do so much online now, there should be no harm in using the Net to hold down those resolutions.
4. Dan Pink – A Simple Idea for 2010
Dan suggests we give ourselves DIY performance reviews.
5. Zen Habits – The Definitive Guide to Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions
Not only does Leo Babauta produce a great guide here, he also introduces his new site dedicated to making changes in 2010, which is my next link.
6. 6changes.com
Leo keeps it simple, just like with Zen Habits.  He says, “Choose 6 habits for 2010.  I’ll help you form them.”  Why 6 habits? Because that makes it 2 months per habit.  So it’s fine if you have fewer habits to form!
7. Dumb Little Man – How to Make 2010 the Year That Your Diet Succeeds
Ali Hale tackles a resolution that features on so many people’s resolution list: Weight Loss.
8. Brazen Careerist – 5 New Year’s Resolutions For Young PR Pros
Perhaps you don’t consider yourself a “Young PR Pro” yet. No matter, this’ll help you get started!
9. Management Craft – Ready for a Great New Year? Try SMART Resolutions
“SMART goals have a higher chance of getting implemented,” according to this piece. Are you happy to be SMART?
10. Positively Present – New Year, Same Me: 6 Stay-The-Same Resolutions
What about considering those things in life you *don’t* want to change? Resolve to stay the same this year!
11. Self Confidence – Forget New Year Resolutions
Develop a dream, introduce a life plan.  Succeed through a much bigger picture than a simple New Year Resolution.
12. Scott Young – Why New Years Resolutions Suck
And oldie, but a goodie. Scott explains why there’s a problem in the process of setting resolutions.

It’s that time of year again when peoplestart thinking about New YearResolutions.  Losing weight, learning a

language, developing a new skill…It’s

all to play for.  Just as it was last

year!

I may be posting this on January 1 2010,

so there may be a few aching heads out

there. But that’s all the more reason to

shake off that hangover and start

thinking about the future!

Here are 12 great posts from the

Interwebs on making your resolutions

stick in 2010:

Penelope Trunk – How to keep a New Year’s

resolution
http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2009/12/29/

how-to-keep-a-new-years-resolution/
Tips on how to make that change, whatever

time of year. These from Penelope Trunk

who, like me, isn’t a fan of New Year’s

Resolutions.
Study Hacks – Resolve to Make 2010 a Year

of Radical Simplicity
http://calnewport.com/blog/2009/12/31/res

olve-to-make-2010-a-year-of-radical-

simplicity/
“Take back control of your life,” says

Cal Newport.  It’s time to cut out the

burn out.
MakeUseOf – 5 Online Tools To Help You

Keep Your New Year Resolutions
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/6-online-

tools-to-help-you-keep-your-new-year-

resolutions/
Since we do so much online now, there

should be no harm in using the Net to

hold down those resolutions.
Dan Pink – A Simple Idea for 2010
http://www.danpink.com/archives/2009/12/a

-simple-idea-for-2010
Dan suggests we give ourselves DIY

performance reviews.
Zen Habits – The Definitive Guide to

Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions
http://zenhabits.net/2009/12/the-

definitive-guide-to-sticking-to-your-new

-years-resolutions/
Not only does Leo produce a great guide

here, he also introduces his new site

dedicated to making changes in 2010,

6changes.com [http://6changes.com/].
Dumb Little Man – How to Make 2010 the

Year That Your Diet Succeeds
http://www.dumblittleman.com/2009/12/how

-to-make-2010-year-that-your-diet.html
Ali Hale tackles a resolution that

features on so many people’s resolution

list: Weight Loss.
Brazen Careerist – 5 New Year’s

Resolutions For Young PR Pros
http://www.brazencareerist.com/2009/12/19

/5-new-year-s-resolutions-for-young-pr-

pros
Perhaps you don’t consider yourself a

“Young PR Pro” yet.  No matter, this’ll

help you get started!
Management Craft – Ready for a Great New

Year? Try SMART Resolutions
http://www.managementcraft.com/2009/12/re

ady-for-a-great-new-year-try-smart-

resolutions.html
“SMART goals have a higher chance of

getting implemented,” according to this

piece. Are you happy to be SMART?
Positively Present – New Year, Same Me: 6

Stay-The-Same Resolutions
http://www.positivelypresent.com/2010/01/

a-new-year-the-same-me.html
What about considering those things in

life you *don’t* want to change? Resolve

to stay the same this year!
Self Confidence – Forget New Year

Resolutions
http://confident1.com/forget-year-

resolutions
Develop a dream, introduce a life plan.

Succeed through a much bigger picture

than a simple New Year Resolution.
Scott Young – Why New Years Resolutions

Suck
http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2006/12/2

1/why-new-years-resolutions-suck/
And oldie, but a goodie.  Scott explains

why there’s a problem in the process of

setting resolutions.