As 2017 ends and 2018 begins, I cannot help but notice how time flies. When I was younger my days were short and my years were long, but now my days are long and my years are short. Now it seems as if there is never enough time to get everything done, including New Year’s resolutions. If you’re like me, you probably have not had the greatest luck following through on your New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions are easy to make, but hard to keep.
So if you need some inspiration or ideas for how to keep your resolutions or goals, here are some TED Talks by great thinkers who have already done the hard work of thinking for you:
1. "How to Gain Control of Your Free Time" (Laura Vanderkam)
Imagine you are already writing your Christmas card for next year, what things were the highlights that you want to tell your friends and family about? Make a list of what made the year ‘amazing’ and make those your goals or resolutions to work on. Vanderkam suggests dividing these goals into 3 lists: career, relationships and self. She says that with 168 hours in a week, if you figure out where your priorities lie you can make room for what really matters.
2. “A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit” (Judson Brewer)
Ever meditated before? Brewer suggests that a combination of curiosity and mindfulness can help us because as we focus and “as we learn to see more and more clearly the results of our actions, we let go of old habits and form new ones.”
3. "Try Something New for 30 Days" (Matt Cutts)
If you want to subtract or add something to your life, Cutts says that you can do anything for 30 days if you really want something badly enough. Cutts claims that doing small, sustainable changes are more likely to stick and form a habit. There are 365 new days, so that’s 12 new habits you can try for 30 days each if you want!
4. "Keep Your Goals to Yourself" (Derek Sivers)
According to research, the good feeling you get from telling others about your goals will make you less motivated to then achieve them because you already feel some satisfaction. So Stivers suggests resisting the temptation to share your goals with others, or do so only in a way that won’t bring you satisfaction but will rather challenge you.
5. "Want to Get Great at Something? Get a Coach" (Atul Gawande)
Although you should keep your goals to yourself, you should have someone to coach you or at least hold you accountable according to Gawande. For Gawande, making it on your own can be difficult because you may not recognize some of the issues standing in your way or how to fix them. So if you want to keep improving or feel stagnant in your skills, getting a coach or a mentor can help by being “your external eyes and ears, providing a more accurate picture of your reality.”
6. "Why You Should Define Your Fears Instead of Your Goals" (Tim Ferriss)
Although most people set goals, Ferriss urges ‘fear-setting’ or laying out your fears or “What ifs” about any decisions. After defining your fears, identify ways you can then prevent them and then ways you can "repair" or fix them if your fear comes true. Just as important is to consider what are the possible benefits and the "cost of inaction" of your decision too.
7. "What I Learned From 100 Days of Rejection" (Jia Jiang)
As you do your ‘fear-setting’, you may find yourself like Jiang asking "What if I’m rejected?" Jiang decided to face his fear and embrace rejection by seeking experiences where he would be rejected. After 100 days of rejection, Jiang learned that your reaction to rejection is what matters because you can turn rejections into opportunities.
So there are 365 days worth of opportunities ahead of you - I hope these TED Talks will inspire you to make the most of them.