My New Year’s resolution every year for the last five years has been to learn Georgian, and every year my progress has been woeful.
How can I make this time different?
What has stopped me before ?
- My laziness, learning a language is hard work, I like an easy life.
- My busy schedule…some days, I have too much to do, to fit in learning Georgian. But only some days. Khato, my wife, is far busier than me, but still finds time to fit in her prayers amidst all her tasks in the day. If I could spend the amount of time learning Georgian as she does praying I’d be making significant progress.
- Distractions (especially Facebook), I spend a lot of my spare time on Facebook (often uploading photos) or following obscure threads….that aren’t usually very important.
On January 1, we’re all in. I’m going to do it! A month, a week, or a day later, we’ve backed out.
Nowadays, the word “resolution” almost comes with the understanding that it will fizzle out by February. Better to re-frame the process and call it a goal.
Vague platitudes (“learn Georgian”) are less effective than specific directives (“I will do an exercise from Basic Georgian by Nana Danelia each day”).
Basic Georgian is currently what I am resting my laptop on.
Motivation research tells us that three things need to be present to sustain your fire over time: autonomy (you control what you do, rather than letting others dictate it); competence (you have some success the more you do it); relatedness (you share the experience with others). Which means: You can manufacture your own motivation by choosing an action that includes all three elements.
How’s this for a terrible irony: the more you want your goal, the less you’re likely to plan for it, according to a forthcoming paper in the journal Behavioral Science and Policy, that’s because we tend to think good intentions are enough, but an actual plan prevents procrastination. People with plans stick to their goals way more often than those who wing it.