Common Mistakes When Turning Over A New Leaf

Tis the Season for New Leaves, right? (I’m guessing nobody is reading this on the Friday I posted it, because even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, there’s no reason you can’t take advantage of the seasonal slack and get the hell out of Dodge early, right?)

So, it’s Boxing Day, at least, and your thoughts have started to turn to New Year’s Resolutions.

That, or you’re hungover and having trouble buttoning your jeans and you’re thinking, “I am never going to do that again.”

Lots of people are going to give you advice on how to set your goals. It’s been done to death. I am just going to remind you of the common ways you can screw those goals up, so you can mitigate those tendencies early.

The Stupid Things We Do When Turning Over a New Leaf

  • Mistaking Novelty-Driven Immersion for a new habit. Like buying a gym membership and going every day for a week (Ahem.) Most recently I’ve taken up (and given up) morning pages, cooking meals from scratch, baking regularly, strength-training and reading every night before bed. And these are all things I enjoy.
  • or the flipside, Tossing aside my routine to do my New Thing, rather than building it into my existing routine. The things I don’t want to do? They seem to stick, because I make a much stronger effort to plan them into my schedule at a time where it will actually get done.
  • Changing too many things at once. I’m never really too attached to my routine, so I’ll chuck it with very little encouragement, reasoning that there are a million ways of doing something, and that starting from scratch might be the best way to achieve and optimal arrangement. No matter how many times I disprove this in real life, it remains so gloriously plausible and logical.
  • Expecting it to go smoothly. It won’t. Come on. Take off those rose colored glasses already and plan for life in the real world.
  • Beating up on yourself when the learning curve gets steep. I recently spent an entire week trying to get some new hardware and software to work together. The only thing that kept me going is that I refuse to believe that I’m too dumb to do a task that other people have apparently accomplished without trouble.
  • Giving up too soon. It’s one thing to try something new just to see if you like it. But when you decide to do something, something that you decided was such a good thing to do that you made a resolution about it, don’t allow the little setbacks to discourage you. It doesn’t matter how many times you slipped up on your new diet as long as you treat every decision as a new chance to do right by yourself.

Did I miss any? Answer in the comments!


6 thoughts on “Common Mistakes When Turning Over A New Leaf”

  1. The one I always brag about is to never set a date on when you will start something. If it popped into your head an hour ago, start now! Literally now. Stop what you’re doing, and start thinking about this new thing. As soon as you can, make a decision as to whether you will pursue it further or not and if so, go full throttle. The homeostasis that manifests itself every time you want to change is like HIV. If you go at it half planned and easy, it will adapt and win. If you give it everything you got, it will be crushed and you will change.

    1. Words right out of my mouth. Waiting until some future date only works if that’s when the absolutely required equipment arrives, or your cast comes off, or something you have no control over.But “I’ll start on the 1st” also means “It’s not important enough to start <strong>now</strong> which is piffle.

    2. You guys! I never even thought of that. Mainly because it never occurs to me to wait on something. I’ve always heard that advice on quitting smoking… Which, you know, probably works about as well as other stop smoking tips…

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