Saturday, January 01, 2011

Diversified New Year's Resolutions Redux

Last year I attempted five different New Year's Resolutions and pretty much failed on all of them. Even though knowing when to quit is important, I'm not yet convinced to give up. The main reason I've decided to give it another go is because my goals haven't really changed much. If I still think they are a good idea, then they must be. Just to remind you, here are the goals:
1) Moderate exercise for 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week. From what I have read this is the minimum time needed to remain nominally healthy. Hopefully I will work my way up from here, but it's good to start small.

2) Drink 0-1/2 soft drink daily in my home. Again, the plan is to work down to zero, but there's a good chance I'm addicted to caffeine.

3) Read the Bible every weekday. Not many exact parameters on this one yet, but I would like to open and read a portion of the Bible 5 days a week. I claim to believe it's valuable, but my actions say otherwise. (update)

4) Pray regularly. Same details as the previous one.

5) Allow my wife to pick one for me. She knows my flaws better than anyone and I trust her more than anyone. Who better to help me improve? (update)
The only difference is this year I'm going to put my economics skills to work. This year I'm going to try a very specific commitment device. I hope to put in place a future incentive to keep my future self just as motivated as my current self. Last year a reader recommended that I put money on the line using the website The only problem with that is my wife is cheaper than me, so she would be punished more for my failure. Not a recipe for a happy household. Instead, I've made her my commitment device. One of our big financial debates is whether I got out with friends after improv practices and shows. So here's what we've agreed to:
For each of the five goals completed, I will earn $1 to go out with friends every week.
It's not much, but maybe it will be that little nudge I need.


  1. Kristen11:58 PM

    Kings is a great place to start reading the bible, it has the best stories.

  2. Loved the post Harrison.

    I just heard this great quote.
    "Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness."Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby (1826-93), British statesman.

    I'm a big fan of exercising, but I thought his was hilarious.

  3. Kristen,

    I'll work my way there. Thanks.

    S & C,

    Hmmm. I really torn on the value of exercise. 200 years ago if you told people you lifted weights for fun they wouldn't know what to make of it. Then again they were also getting more regular exercise from backbreaking farming.

  4. Oh, that last comment was a typo. It was supposed to say, "I'm NOT big on exercising." I never exercise, but I do live in a city where we walk to everything. I probably walk over 2 miles a day just because we live in a city that was built when cars didn't exist. It's interesting that a "market" for exercising was created because of the efficiency in transportation. I probably didn't walk more than 100 yards in a day before we moved here, not necessarily because I was lazy, but just fitting into cultural norms.

    I think the only way to exercise is to either discover that you enjoy it through a disciplined regimen, or become a part of a community where it is normal.

  5. Oh gotcha. I think you're right, exercise/health depends on who you spend your time with.

    That explain why obesity spreads like the flu, through socialization.


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