I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. They never work. You get all excited for a few weeks about the big changes you’re going to make, and then the initial motivation wears down, you veer off track, and you only remember those resolutions when you’re getting ready to make new ones a year later.
I do, however, believe in new habits. And I can harness the freshness of the new year to start some new habits. I just have to reel myself in, because otherwise I’ll try to start 5 or 10 new habits all at once … and it’s the same as making resolutions. So instead, I am making two new habits: one subtraction and one addition.
The subtraction: Television. I have taken lately to watching television online. It’s a way for me to escape into a world of English-language media, which is relaxing but not terribly productive as I try to improve my German skills. It’s also a way that I can zone out or distract myself when I need a break from my work. But then I end up staying in my office chair, in front of my computer, not getting any sort of real break at all. All in all, it’s a pretty unhealthy habit. So I’m getting rid of it. No television for the next month. (And then we’ll see what happens.)
The addition: Yoga/walking. I used to be a fairly regular yoga practitioner. I taught a contemporary ballet class, and right after my class was an incredible Iyengar yoga class. There’s nothing easier than wandering from one studio to another for class. But since the move to Germany, I haven’t done much yoga at all. (I admit it: I’m a bit apprehensive about taking classes in German, even dance and yoga classes, where you can just copy what everyone else is doing.) So I’m starting with a low-friction approach: Yoga Today. Once I build up the habit, I might try exploring the yoga studios around my neighborhood. And when I don’t feel like doing yoga, I’m going to go take a walk. (I love taking walks, but sometimes in the dreary winter it takes an extra push to get me out and about.)
So there we go. Instead of watching television, I’m going to be active. And to track my progress, I’m using Lift, a very simple iPhone app for tracking daily habits. I’ll let you know at the end of the month how things are going.