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Starting Over

Tired of New Year's resolutions? Here are some meta-skills to help you keep them. This holiday cocktail of time management, stoicism, and goal setting may provide that last push to start over - just like we did this year.

Always begin again

It is never too late to start over, no matter how often you have failed. All your prior successes and failures are now in the past. And it may be tempting to speculate about some potential future, but the only certainty is the present. You can start fresh right now.

Define what you can control

Focus your efforts on the things that are within your power to change. You cannot control other people's behavior, but you can control how you respond to them. This will help you set realistic goals and avoid becoming overwhelmed by things outside of your reach.

Set "SMART" goals

Once you have identified what you can change, it's time to set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. These should be tailored towards achieving the desired outcome but also be realistic based on the resources available to you.

Get ready for tradeoffs

It is important to recognize ahead of time that there may be tradeoffs involved to reach your goal. This could mean sacrificing certain activities or habits that may have been enjoyable in the past but are no longer serving you well today.

Learn to say “No”

Saying no to yourself and others allows us to prioritize and avoid activities that could lead us away from our goal. Saying no doesn't necessarily mean being rude - it simply means understanding what matters most right now and making sure that those things get done first..

Resist the urge to multitask

Multitasking may seem like an efficient (and sometimes unavoidable) way of getting things done, but switching between tasks too frequently can slow down productivity levels due to cognitive overload. Try focusing on one task at a time and limit your list of work in progress.

Pause to reflect and frame

Take contemplative pauses throughout your day, week or year to consider your actions and project for the future. This reflection period should allow you the opportunity to make adjustments where needed while permitting you to celebrate the success achieved so far.

Avoid the "sunk cost fallacy"

Don't continue with something just because you have already invested time, money, or energy into it. Learning to let go of negative activities (even if they were beneficial at one point) is key to making long-lasting positive changes in your life.

Avoid "resulting"

Results alone don't tell us whether we're making good or bad decisions - we can win or lose due to circumstances beyond our control, regardless of the choices we made. Properly evaluating your process (and not just its outcome) can provide valuable insights for the future.

Don't be a single player

Finally, don't try to do everything alone. No matter how independent we think we are, there is always something to be gained by having a support system (family, friends, colleagues ...) in place. Embrace change, strive for success, but ultimately take care of each other.

Happy holidays!

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