It’s that time when we look back at what we’ve achieved this year, sigh deeply, feel sorry for ourselves, come up with another list of things to do in the next year and call that the new year’s resolution.
I know I haven’t achieved what I had set out to do this time last year, and there’s a good chance that you didn’t either. So, instead of trying it again, why not change what the resolution is in the first place?
To get the point, let me first tell you where I got the idea first.
Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is the largest and most anticipated show for video game enthusiasts. All the big names in the industry such as Microsoft, Sony, EA, Ubisoft, etc. come together under one roof and give the gamers a glimpse into the future.
One of the most anticipated games at that time was God of War. Sony managed to keep it under wraps until the unveiling and opened its press event with a bang. It showed a live demo of the upcoming God of War (now one of the highest rated games of all time) and won hearts.
In the demo, the protagonist Kratos is seen as a father who tests his son Atreus’ ability to hunt a deer.
At the first sight of the deer, Atreus gets excited, runs after it, and shoots his arrow unprepared. He misses and scares the deer away.
This angers Kratos and he takes the bow away from his son. Atreus, now shameful for his carelessness, says sorry to his father to which Kratos replies rather angrily, “Do not be sorry; be better!”
Fans couldn’t get enough of that dialogue for the rest of the E3 season that year.
While ‘which company is the best in gaming’ is up for debates, in 2016, Sony won the hearts of the gamers at the E3. The frequency and depth in which fans were wowed by Sony that year put competing companies like Microsoft and Ubisoft to shame.
The phrase “Do not be sorry; be better’ was being thrown at Microsoft and EA by fans. And frankly, they deserved it. But let’s not get into that conversation here because we’ve got our star of the show.
When you look at the grand scheme of things, you’ll find that a lot can be achieved just by being better. These two little words can mean the whole world of difference in anybody’s life.
Being better at something, either new or existing, can lead to a satisfying experience or result, and that can mean that you finally achieve something, instead of focusing solely on planning.
Take these common new year’s resolutions for example.
Instead of “I’ll travel more this year,” how about “I’ll be a better traveler this year?” Traveling doesn’t really mean landing in a new city, going to hotel, taking a few selfies in iconic places, and heading back home.
While that may be your piece of cake*, for most people, traveling better would mean slowing down and taking more things in wherever you go. Take trips to the places that aren’t necessarily Instagram-friendly. Talk to the locals. Learn a word or two. People generally love a traveler who makes an effort to learn a few local words to converse.
If you can master ‘traveling better,’ I’m positive that you’ll have a more satisfying experience by the end of the year. You’ll be able to tell yourself that you traveled, not just went, to places, and that the experience was fulfilling.
I shouldn’t talk about this because I’m not good at this, but I can’t deny the fact that losing weight is one of the most common goals in the world. How about this year, instead of just opting to lose weight, choose to do weight loss activities in a better way.
Little things like taking a walk in the morning and exercising for a few minutes in the afternoon can make a big change over a period of time. That means, simply, you won’t just be planning and doing nothing, you will be better at doing things that eventually result in losing weight.
“I will read 25 books this year.”
See, that is a great goal to have. But reading 5 books in the first week of January in a grand marathon of reading and then constantly forgetting to continue reading for the rest of the year doesn’t help achieve that goal.
What you can do is read better. Read every day for an hour or 30 minutes, whatever suits your schedule. Read more during the weekends. Take a book with you while commuting or have digital books ready on your phone or tablet. I use Apple Books, but if phone’s screen is too small for you, consider investing in a Kindle.
By spicing up the reading habit, you will eventually be better at reading. That will undoubtedly increase your chances of actually hitting that goal of reading 25 books in the next year.
A lot of people start new blogs during the end-of-year Holidays or in January to finally start blogging and promise themselves that they’ll be doing it for real this time.
We all know how most of those turn out.
The goal itself is not enough. You have to also have a habit that will help you achieve, and possibly overachieve, that goal.
In terms of blogging or writing, what you need to do is set a schedule and follow that routinely. Create a grand list of topics that you want to write about. You can use Trello to do this. Keep a notebook to write down inspirations as they strike. You can use note-taking apps like Simplenote to jot down ideas so that you can get to them later when you’re in a writing mood.
Also, understand that writing doesn’t flow until you start it. In my experience, procrastination is strongest around writing. Unless you force yourself to start, you won’t actually write anything.
See, becoming better at writing is only possible by writing regularly. The same goes with blogging. So, instead of just planning to start yet another blog in 2019, plan to actually blog better. If you need a platform, WordPress.com is a great place to get started. You can also look for more inspirations and ideas on blogging better at Blogging University.**
How to be better?
Broken new year’s resolution
My colleague Chait left a comment on my last year’s New Year’s Resolution post where he linked to this article titled Habit vs. Goal. It is a fantastic read that I think everyone who wishes to change their life needs to read and understand. It will help you not only achieve your goal but continue to be better at various things in life.
I haven’t been able to achieve what I had set out to do last year. But this time, I’ve got the power of “be better” in the back of my mind! With this great power, the great responsibility I’m choosing to have is to be better at reading, writing, and possibly doing some video work.
Not all hope is lost
In closing, I just want to say, if you’re like me and you’re looking back at 2018 thinking all the things you haven’t done and you’re feeling sorry for yourself, my advice to you is, don’t be. Strengthen up your mind, look in the mirror, deepen your voice (like Kratos) and tell yourself:
“Do not be sorry; be better!”
* I’m actually a lazy traveler. I don’t like being outdoors that much (except when driving a car). So my idea of traveling actually is going to another city and spending most of the time exploring hotels and other indoor areas. 😉
** Some would say that I’m biased to make these recommendations as WordPress.com and Simplenote are made by Automattic, a company I work for. The reason I started using WordPress.com in 2008, 5 years before I joined the company, and continue to use today is simple: I love it.