The Anti-Resolution

It’s January 2. Made your resolutions yet? Maybe you’ve already broken a few? It happens. Old habits are hard to break.

Motivation seems a fickle thing, here one minute and gone the next. If you’re like most, you don’t get much done without it. Maybe you made a decision to commute to work by bike in 2014. And maybe all the reasons not to—cold weather, uncertainty about route or routine, the siren song of the snooze button on dark mornings—are already starting to usurp those motivations that you so readily identified in the heady resolution-making twilight of the old year.

This piece was a fortuitous discovery in my recent interwebs reading. I regularly fall prey to the paralyzing notion that motivation is the magic key to getting things done. Without it, I get grumpy. I feel guilty. I panic a little about falling behind on my mental to-do list. And all of these serve only to further sap my dwindling motivation reserves. In his piece, Mr. Burkeman makes it clear that he knows all about this death-spiral of productivity. His advice is simple, and spot-on:

As he writes, “Trying to ‘get motivated’ can often make matters worse.” So don’t. Don’t worry about getting motivated. Don’t make your emotional state—how motivated you do or don’t feel—one more daunting task you have to tackle.

Just get started.

There’s a reason a certain very famous sporting goods company chose something very similar for their motto. Slick ads aside, I’m not sure that the always-motivated person even exists. Sure, I’ve glimpsed her on gym billboards and in tennis shoe commercials, but everyone I know in real life fights the same fight against inertia.

So how about something different this year? Whatever you want to end up doing more of, be it bike riding, eating right, playing music, writing, or something else, skip the resolution. Just get going.

See you out there.

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