December 30, 2017

Don’t Be Noble When Choosing a New Year’s Resolution

If the new year’s resolution you choose feels noble, that should be a red flag, a sign that you have almost surely made a mistake.

December 29, 2017

Getting Unstuck, Literally

I wrote about getting unstuck, and I thought I might lend extra emphasis to my point by providing a physical example. It often pays to consider the literal meaning of words when you’re trying to get at the true meaning. A vehicle is stuck when one or more of the tires is on a surface so slippery, whether by snow, ice, mud, or something else, that the ordinary mechanism of driving forward no longer suffices to get over the next small obstacle.

As long as you are stuck in this fashion, you can’t make any progress until you get unstuck. To get a vehicle unstuck, you may have to go backward or attempt some other alternate strategy just to move the next few inches forward, after which you may be able to proceed in a normal fashion.

December 28, 2017

Getting Unstuck

People usually don’t set new year’s resolutions because they have just completed big, momentous changes in their lives and they are on a roll.

I am sure that happens sometimes, but more often when people set new year’s resolutions it is because they feel stuck. Things have been the same for so long that they need a gimmick to get going again. The process of imagining a future that is different might do this. The hope is that resolving to change in specific areas will provide the fresh perspective that gets them unstuck.

This hope is one of the reasons people set so many new year’s resolutions. If one resolution can provide the jolt that you need, then maybe five resolutions, five separate, unrelated goals, will provide a bigger jolt that gives you a stronger chance of getting unstuck — or so you might imagine.

Yet if you try this, it doesn’t quite feel right. There is a problem with this approach. When you use a goal as a way to get unstuck, you might get unstuck or you might not, but you almost surely will not achieve the specific goal you had in mind.