February 3, 2022•277 words
Reading time: 2 min
Very often when we set goals, start a habit, or come up with a New Year’s Resolution, we plan to add something to our lives. Whether a commitment to regularly do some sort of behaviour, spend more time doing something or do/learn something new, it’s more, forevermore.
It’s rarely less.
Yet, we only have so much time and energy we can expend each day.
We can stack commitments and habits together to increase the enjoyment of some goals and minimise the new time input necessary, but adding more commitments always drain our energy. (Unless the commitment is to rest or sleep more.)
This is likely a reason why we drop New Year’s resolutions- we simply do not have the time and cognitive or physical energy to maintain them for long periods.
Consider giving yourself an overarching direction of doing “less” sometimes. Decrease your unnecessary commitments, remove what is unimportant to you, and prioritise your life. This gives you more time to think, rest, and if desired, refocus your time and effort on an existing or new commitment.
Other interesting things:
Modern obsession with (or value of) busyness
Value of busyness differs among different countries and cultures, even after taking into account the economic development stage
One source cited on Wikipedia notes that New Year’s resolutions are more powerful than normal goal setting, but I could not find a copy of the source to view
Fresh-start effect - we’re more likely to take action after dates that we consider special, where we open a “new chapter” in our life (such as with major life changes or a new season)