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How to Salvage Any Blown New Year Resolutions

How to Salvage Any Blown New Year Resolutions

    We are approaching the time of year when many people have already blown their New Year resolutions. For example, according to the fitness industry, a ton of gym memberships are sold from December to February but attendance significantly drops from March and on when people who were hoping to get fit as a New Year resolution will give up.

    This happens year after year for not only health-related resolutions but for pretty well all types including saving money and quitting smoking. If this has already happened to you or if you are on the verge of giving up some of your New Year resolutions, here are some steps you can take to hopefully salvage them.

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    Reconsider the Reasons for Each Resolution

    First, reconsider the reasons behind each of your resolutions just to better understand why you came up with them in the first place. Are they still valid or important?

    Sometimes a New Year resolution might be just a sudden urge that is not really all that important to your life after some time passes. If this is the case, drop the resolution altogether. If the reasons are still solid, then keep the resolutions for the next step.

    Turn Each Resolution into a Defined Goal

    Now for the resolutions that are still important to you, turn them into defined goals. Losing weight or getting in shape is far too general. Instead, set such a resolution as a realistic goal you can measure. For example, lose ten pounds during each remaining month in 2012 is something you can measure. Make sure that your defined goals are realistic by seeing what other people have done who have been successful with similar goals.

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    Plan What You Have to Do Each Week

    Now that you have the end results in mind, plan out what you actually have to do each week in order to achieve those goals you set. This can be setting definite time periods during the week to work out at the gym as well as getting the training from qualified trainers if you need it.

    Physically enter the things you must do each week into your calendar or appointment book just like any other important appointments that you may have each week. This must be on something that you will be referring to each day whether it is a physical calendar or electronic one.

    Monitor Your Progress Over Time

    Most goals that were previously New Year resolutions take time and effort to achieve.  They cannot be done overnight. But accepting the fact that many of your goals will take continued work over the entire year doing a step at a time, you will then be able to monitor your progress over time.

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    If you stray a bit, take immediate action to make up for lost opportunities to work on your goals. Track your progress and adjust the targets as required if they were not originally set very realistically. Don’t forget that for many goals, active participation with other like-minded people rather than attempting everything on your own will help you stay on track.

    (Photo credit: Lifebuoy white against the blue sky and bright sun via Shutterstock)

    By turning your New Year resolutions into longer term, measurable goals over the entire course of the year with actual steps and time allocated for them, you will be able to salvage abandoned resolutions.

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    If you feel brave and honest enough to reveal any already blown resolutions, feel free to share them below and what you might do to salvage them.

    Good luck!

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    Last Updated on May 22, 2019

    The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

    The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

    If you spend any time at all researching life hacks, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pomodoro Technique.

    Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular time management life hacks used today. But this method isn’t for everyone, and for every person who is a passionate adherent of the system, there is another person who is critical of the results.

    Is the Pomodoro Technique right for you? It’s a matter of personal preference. But if you are curious about the benefits of using the technique, this article will break down the basic information you will need to decide if this technique is worth trying out.

    What is the Pomodoro Technique?

    The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

    The process is simple:

    For every project throughout the day, you budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically.

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    You work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes.

    Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name.

    After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

    Every time you finish a pomodoro, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.

    How the Pomodoro Technique boosts your productivity

    Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. According to the official Pomodoro website, the system is easy to use and you will see results very quickly:

    “You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.”

    If you have a large and varied to-do list, using the Pomodoro Technique can help you crank through projects faster by forcing you to adhere to strict timing.

    Watching the timer wind down can spur you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from getting frustrated.

    The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating.

    You’ll grow to “respect the tomato”, and that can help you to better handle your workload.

    Successful people who love it

    Steven Sande of The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a fan of the system, and has compiled a great list of Apple-compatible Pomodoro tools.

    Before he started using the technique, he said,

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    “Sometimes I couldn’t figure out how to organize a single day in my calendar, simply because I would jump around to all sorts of projects and never get even one of them accomplished.”

    Another proponent of the Pomodoro Technique is Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Shellenbarger tried out this system along with several other similar methods for time management, and said,

    “It eased my anxiety over the passing of time and also made me more efficient; refreshed by breaks, for example, I halved the total time required to fact-check a column.”

    Any cons for the Pomodoro Technique?

    Despite the number of Pomodoro-heads out there, the system isn’t without its critics. Colin T. Miller, a Yahoo! employee and blogger, tried using the Pomodoro Technique and had some issues:[1]

    “Pomodoros are an all or nothing affair. Either you work for 25 minutes straight to mark your X or you don’t complete a pomodoro. Since marking that X is the measurable sign of progress, you start to shy away from engaging in an activity if it won’t result in an X. For instance…meetings get in the way of pomodoros. Say I have a meeting set for 4:30pm. It is currently 4:10pm, meaning I only have 20 minutes between now and the meeting…In these instances I tend to not start a pomodoro because I won’t have enough time to complete it anyway.”

    Another critic is Mario Fusco, who argues that the Pomodoro Technique is…well…sort of ridiculous:[2]

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    “Aren’t we really able to keep ourselves concentrated without a timer ticketing on our desk?… Have you ever seen a civil engineer using a timer to keep his concentration while working on his projects?… I think that, like any other serious professional, I can stay concentrated on what I am doing for hours… Bring back your timer to your kitchen and start working in a more professional and effective way.”

    Conclusion

    One of the best things about the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s free. Yeah, you can fork over some bills to get a tomato-shaped timer if you want… or you can use any timer program on your computer or phone. So even if you try it and hate it, you haven’t lost any cash.

    The process isn’t ideal for every person, or in any line of work. But if you need a systematic way to tackle your daily to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.

    If you want to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique, check out this article: How to Make the Pomodoro Technique More Productive

    Reference

    [1] Aspirations of a Software Developer: A Month of the Pomodoro Technique
    [2] InfoQ: A Critique of the Pomodoro Technique

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