Adjusting Those Variables for the New Year

This week at the SFF Seven, we’re sharing thoughts about the changing of the year.

I like the reflection the end of one year and the beginning of a new one brings. You all know I’m into metrics, so the end of a year – however arbitrary a measure – provides me with a milestone to group data. I can look back at the past year, compare it to previous years, and make plans for the one ahead.

Am I a maker of resolutions? Some years more than others, yes, but mostly I look on the process as adjusting my variables for the year ahead. Life is an ongoing experiment this way. We try stuff, see how it works out, then make changes accordingly. This is how all experimentation works: make a hypothesis, test it by gradually adjusting variables, and keep track of the resulting data.

I know a lot of people react negatively to the concept of new year’s resolutions, especially given the daunting statistics about them. For example, from this article, after 6 months, only 46% of people who make a resolution are still successful in keeping it, and by the end of the year only 9% feel they are successful in keeping it.

Interesting to me, a third of the people who failed to keep their resolutions didn’t keep track of their progress and another quarter of them forgot about their resolutions. This may sound funny – I laughed! – but it’s actually super easy to forget those aspirations in the tumult of daily life.

One year I tried writing down goals for the coming year and sealing them in envelopes to be opened on New Year’s Eve, so I could see how I did. People, I’m telling you: if I hadn’t made myself a reminder to open the envelopes, I’d have forgotten they existed! Reading my goals from Past Jeffe of only a year before was truly eye-opening. It almost didn’t matter which goals I’d met, exceeded, or fallen short of – simply comparing the reality with my aspirations taught me a great deal.

This is partly why I’m a believer in tracking all kinds of metrics about myself. Remember, a third of the people who failed to keep their resolutions didn’t track their progress while another quarter forgot about them! That’s 60% of the failures that might have been successes if they’d had daily tracking and reminders.

So, I’m doing a series on my podcast this week about the metrics I keep – particularly regarding my writing process – along with the how’s and why’s. Feel free to ask questions!

And Happy New Year to all!!

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