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Apparently, the title was clickbaity enough, if not making sense. Read on to know why and how it does make sense.
We conducted a digital literature review about new year resolutions and how people make them. This, with the knowledge that they’re not going to follow it for a period longer than their new year hangovers, we found how writers got into the psyche of a resolutioner, through the type of blog titles that turned up:
These turned up on the first search engine result page, (SERP) and we assume these reflect the flow of our thoughts when we used to make New Year resolutions back in the season.
But why are we talking about new year resolutions when almost a quarter of the new year has passed already?🤷♀️
This is where we plug-in the history of April fool’s day which, apparently, has many theories that you can find on Wikipedia (along with traditions around the world, must read.) The theory that is relevant as of now is — this day came into being because, in European towns, the new year celebrations began on March 25, ending on the first of April. We (obviously) did not have the luxury of speedy communication at that time and those who celebrated new year’s in January made fun of the people who still were celebrating in April by calling them The April fools (wow) until January was not adopted officially until 1564. The important fact is, the first day of April once used to be new year’s day.
Let’s know why resolutions are something we commemorate new years with. Well, there is a Wikipedia page dedicated to the origins and history of this trend too, but let’s lead our curious cat to something that is more significant and ask ourselves why we show such aspirational behavior during such dates? This is where we tap into psychology. When behavioral scientists got curious about why people made promises to themselves during new years and only 8% went through, they found that a human brain registers momentous dates like the beginning of a new season (most festivals), a holiday, birthdays, or even Mondays and encourages purposeful behavior. These temporal landmarks, as they say, disrupt the regular flow of the everyday routine and gives a perspective to think about things. It is called the fresh start effect. (This is why you see a lot of gym membership advertisements and offers given to you around such dates.)
The Babylonians might have started the trend of making resolutions during the new year but it were the American trends that actually made the world make resolutions while being hungover🍻. This peer pressure had added aspects when social media came into being and people were pretending left right and center, trying to show that they’re one of the 8% who completed their resolutions- this either promoted more people to lie about theirs, or just give up.
The concept of making resolutions can be compared to branding, or, more precisely, rebranding. Just like a rebrand is not something that happens every year, #NewYearNewMe is not something that comes from the need for a new date, but from the need of change.
But how, o wise one, how?
Well, this is where we will let you peep into the work culture at Slangbusters Studio. Here, we will look at some practices that could help with efficiency in personal goals.
That being said, you must know that the difference between vision and targets is the same as the one between resolutions and goals. All the targets of a company are ultimately towards the brand vision. Similarly, goals must aim at resolutions.
For example, if your resolution is losing weight, the goals would be eating healthier, exercising regularly, etc. Hence, try planning a path to the resolution with pit-stops that validate achievement as you go. This not only allows you to create achievable goals but also to check and look back every now and then- giving flexibility of feedback and correction if need be.
Take up all resolutions as personal projects and that is where you might need a project management methodology to get them done without falling prey to procrastination. With work, there are many gratifications like job satisfaction, salary, increments, etc but when you are working on personal resolutions, you have to build mechanisms for yourself in order to experience gratification. This might seem weird, but it works. Our content strategist uses reward mechanisms like, if he completes 100 pages of a book today, then he will let himself watch an episode of his favorite series on Netflix.
That way, you would get gratification at each step towards the goal rather than being in a pre-success-failure state all the time till you reach the final goal.
To understand work methodologies, we have to know the meaning of a few jargons. Like backlog, which is a brain dump for all uncategorized, unprioritized tasks that you have to do. This backlog doesn’t have to be in your brain. You have to dump it all on a piece of paper. From buying basic grocery to your due cover letter for a college you applied to. JUST FILL THE LIST.
When we talk of methodologies, there are some industry established ones that have been designed and perfected over time of their usage in various workplaces. At Slangbusters, we follow the Agile method, which includes the following types:
Scrum Methodology: A method used for single-goal creative projects, where you need a lot of ideation. At our branding studio, we conduct a lot of scrum meets (meetings where, even the most bizarre ideas are put on the table) to not only ignite a creative spark but to also channelize it collectively in one project through sprints (a short spell of tasks run at maximum speed ranging from one week to four weeks). Well, that got all jargonized, no? Read on to understand better.
To apply this methodology in resolutions, if your new year resolution is to write a book this year, you can divide the project in various sprints- ideation, character development, research, reading for stimulation, and finally writing the draft. A typical day in the sprint would be spending at least 15 minutes on writing the draft, 15 minutes of reading other work and some 10 minutes for review and introspection.
Kanban Methodology: This is the method for repetitive goals. It is used for long term projects where a collaborative self-managing team is built by the project manager. Since these are designed for professional project management, it might seem like it will not fit the resolution bill. The only difference is that it does. If your resolution is a long term goal that might be successful once you get habituated to it, Kanban is your way to go.
If your resolution is to become more environment-friendly by using minimal plastic, you will have to undertake many tasks under this resolution. Like, always carrying a cloth bag, avoiding packaged food, carrying a reusable steel straw, saying no to plastic spoons, and further getting involved in your local beach cleaning volunteer group, etc. This becomes your backlog. You start completing each task as and when it comes.
The second methodology might sound Japanese to you, and in fact, it is. These have been adapted from the efficiency that the Japanese have been showing in their work through such methodologies that culturally become a given.
But how do you go about selecting which methodology sets best for you? Well, after creating the backlog, you try and figure out whether your goal is a single achievement one or a repetitive one and lo! You are on your way to success.👏
We need to stop waiting for the first of the months and years and Mondays and even extremities like oh! it’s 10:52, I’ll start at 11:00, let me just scroll through Instagram and without us knowing, it will be 3:00 before we lose interest in working on our resolutions. We have all been there, done that.
There are only so many first days of anything in the calendar, but unlimited personal goals that we want to achieve in this lifetime. You could remove the cognitive bias now that you are aware of it and begin immediately. At this very moment, just take a pen and paper or go to your notes app and jot down your backlog.
You could also use a project management software that we use at work. The best ones we have used are Atlassian Jira, Trello and Asana.