New Year's Resolutions

by orthonormal1 min read1st Jan 201125 comments


Personal Blog

It's perhaps a bit late to kick this off, but:

What are your resolutions for 2011, if you choose to make use of that Schelling point for self-improvement?

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I worry that new year's resolutions are a Schelling point for failed self-improvement that, by using a fundamentally flawed approach, tend to fail and then discourage people from future attempts at positive change.

Can we try to switch to the meme of "Annual retreat & reflect about one's life, goals, and habits", rather than these so frequently failed "resolutions", whose very name implies that the solution is more "resolve", and thus the problem is insufficient "resolve", rather than insufficient experimentation, knowledge about habit formation, realism about achievable change, or any of the other numerous actual reasons?

I mean, it's 2010, and we know we lose weight through hacks, not the application of more willpower - same goes for anything else.

I'm using the same one I've made since 2007/8:

Make new mistakes.

It's served me well thus far!

What do you suppose Einstein would say about doing different things over and over and expecting the same result? :p

[-][anonymous]10y 0

If the same result is "learned something about the world", where's the problem?

Fair enough, but it worked out OK for the scientific method too...

Take opportunities for joy when I notice them.

Check my math homework in the back of the book when I'm done with it.

This is a simple one that you wouldn't think would be hard, but I did badly at it this past year. I tend not to want to face the possibility that I have to do several problems over.

Maybe the litary of Tarski could help with that motivation:

"If the answer is O(x log(x)), then I desire to believe that the answer is O(x log(x));

If the answer is not O(x log(x)), then I desire to believe that the answer is not O(x log(x));

Let me not become attached to answers I may not want."

That's a good way of thinking about it. I hope it works.

exercise: just got a set of gym rings for my pull up bar. between the two I can do pullups and dips, the two most important exercises for the upper body. I'm using a simplefit program because I realized that activation costs associated with planning my workouts to be perfect were actively preventing me from actually doing them. a less efficient workout you actually do is infinitely better than the perfect one you dont do.

diet: already awesome. I put on 25 pounds last year, almost all muscle and I'm nearing my "fighting weight" again.

sleep: I will be quitting my night shift job this year and returning to a healthier schedule.

productivity: working on this. my main innovation in this area was buying a kindle which lets me get rid of all my paperbacks and have a much smaller library devoted towards real skill building. I will be working through several CS and business skills books this year.

I resolve to make more paperclips in 2011.

I resolve to make less paperclips in 2011?

Downvoted for responding to karma-conditioning rather than justifying your opinions

I found this distasteful. Justifying your opinions? In response to a resolution that has no impact on you? That such presumption is encouraged is a discouraging sign.

You don't see anything wrong with posting two mutually-contradictory resolutions, one of which is an obvious reaction to downvoting? I downvoted Clippy on the metric of 'I would prefer to see less of this'. I don't actually care whether he justifies his opinions, but I do care whether people in the future are likely to reverse their opinion for the sole purpose of gaining forum approval.

Just to state the obvious: to the extent that your conditioning paradigm has an effect, it will cause someone primarily motivated by gaining forum approval, if they state an opinion that garners disapproval, will reverse their stated opinion and claim some other motive.

Of course, if you don't actually care whether they are likely to reverse their opinion solely to gain approval, merely whether they are likely to say that that's what they're doing, then that should be OK.

I think people are more responsive to this kind of conditioning when they know they are signaling an agreement than when they actually have a disagreement, especially because downvoting makes the signaling appear useless to the signaler.

if you don't actually care whether they are likely to reverse their opinion solely to gain approval, merely whether they are likely to say that that's what they're doing, then that should be OK

I can live with that. Most justifications are post-hoc rationalisation anyway, and at least more interesting motives are more interesting to read and may even be somewhat insightful or useful to the original poster as a form of self-signalling.

Let's not pretend the second comment was anything but a question. An attempt to elicit just what the sentiment means. See the punctuation if you have any doubt.

I downvoted Clippy on the metric of 'I would prefer to see less of this'.

If that was all you had done I would not have been disgusted that your comment was not subzero.

In response to this downvoting, I will adapt my behavior in such a way as to justify my opinions rather than adapting my behavior to karma-conditioning.

Delaying gratification?

[-][anonymous]10y 0

Voted up grandparent and downvoted the parent. I do not like to discourage rational behavior and encourage self sabotage. (Seeing others do so is somewhat distasteful too, but with a slight discount due to ironic 'meta' considerations.)

Wash, or at least sweep, the kitchen/den floor once a week.

Exercise, at minimum 10 minutes of walking per day.

Get and stay below 290 lbs.

2011 Life focus: 1) Keep a gratitude journal (write down 3 things each day that I am thankful for)

2) Meditate for 30 minutes each week.

3) Focus on developing deeper friendships.

4) Keep living my life philosophy of learning new things, meeting new people, and doing awesome stuff.

[-][anonymous]10y 0

Well, survive. Then, survive well. Then, help others doing that, too.

The specifics amount to not drinking alcohol every other day, more sensible money-spending (think charity, not done anything yet), and starting to actually learn something again -- I think, it's already over three years ago that I did something in that direction. Embarrassing. At least the first two points (from this paragraph) are specific enough, and achievable.