Saturday, January 7, 2012

Something Something 2012

I once made a statement that I didn't believe in New Years' Resolutions. I still don't; why pick an arbitrary point on the space-time continuum to make new rules about your life? But I can't deny that the start of a new year does provide a semantically convenient context to take stock of one's life. And so I decided to make some new rules for myself (not resolutions!) to follow in 2012.

But, I heard on NPR (I can't seem to find the link to the story, sorry) an interview with a psychologist on the topic of New Years' Resolutions. One of the main takeaways was that telling people your resolutions actually reduces your chances on completing them. This idea is counter-intuitive to me; I always felt that by telling people my goals, I was adding their expectations of me to my internal motivation*. But the interviewee stated that by telling people your goals, you actually alleviate some of the need you have to actually complete the goal; you've already shown that you're a good person with goals.

* Of course, if you are a reader of Joel Spolsky's work, you'll be aware of his ideas (not sure if they are originally his, but I learned them from him) on internal vs. external motivation. He posits that you can't really "add" external motivation to internal motivation. The external replaces the internal. So I was doing it wrong, anyway.

I made three new "rules" for myself for 2012, but I can't tell you what they are. But I will give you a hint.

7. 3. 30. *

That's all you'll get. Enjoy 2012!

* The numbers, Mason! What do they mean?!
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