Saturday, January 30, 2010

Keeping Resolutions, and an update

Making resolutions/setting intentions is easy at New Year's. Especially if you've had enough bubbly and are feeling really good about the world. But the follow-through is harder. The most common resolutions revolve around diets and getting fit. J.D. Johannes and Nita Marquez did a series of posts about just this, but with good advice for all "resolutioneers," starting with this:

It is better to set a lower, attainable and more realistic goal. When you reach it, you can set a new goal or easily maintain it.

Nita, over the years, has found that people who set an un-realistic goal are actually sabotaging themselves. When they ‘discover’ they cannot reach the goal they have a justification to quit.

She has also found that people will work harder to achieve a lesser goal and usually surpass it.

Looking at my intentions and jump-off points, if I simply listen to CDs 8 hours a month for four months, I'll be well over half-way through the jump-off points. I did this on purpose: I wanted easy ways to make a strong start where I could pat myself on the back.

But what if you fall of the wagon? Again from Johannes and Marquez, but here:

“I think the one thing that people have realize is that small changes can lead to big results,” says Dr. Helen Smith, a Knoxville, TN psychologist and exercise enthusiast. “A person should set goals having to do with action.”

Smith says it is better to break it down into individual actions. Small steps, small daily decisions like eating a grilled chicken breast instead of a breaded, fried chicken breast, as noted above, can make a significant difference.

“It is better to break it down and then check off that you did it,” Smith says.
And if you slip once, do not let it snowball. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t throw it all away. A few hours later you will have another decision and try to get it right that time.

Diets don’t work because people make one mistake and decide to quit. Diets don’t work because some people keep making the wrong decisions.
So if you look up and realize you didn't study yesterday, what can you do? Study now! And if you look up and realize you didn't do anything all last week? Do something now! Even if you're doing a really intense self-study program, say 4 hours a day, that's still 20 hours a day that you're not studying. So don't focus on what you're not doing or when you're not doing it. Focus on the things you actually do, and pat yourself on the back for them. A day of studying missed can be followed by another day of not studying because you'll never find time to learn anyway. Or it can be followed by a day when you do study and pat yourself on the back for having the good sense to get back on track.

(By the way, if you want to be a toned, trim, fantastic looking polyglot, check out JD Johannes' site and get the book.)

* * *


Now that I've looked at resolutions in general, how am I doing so far this year?

My intentions and jump-off points, again, are here.

For the month of January, I ran through Michel Thomas Spanish again. So that's one thing I can check off. And I did the first 18 lessons of Assimil Latin. That's not exactly a lesson a day, but it's a start.

And a final update: The other day, I mentioned stumbling into a different approach to using link-learning for vocabulary with a more traditionally formatted textbook. As I've played with this, I've found some new ideas for what you might call "Assimil-ating" an old-style book. My next post will include some ideas on this and a progress update on how that's going.


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