Random Access Memory
Have you ever walked through a door into a new area and completely forgotten why you wanted to go there in the first place? You've chalked it up to not-enough-coffee or too-much-coffee or age or "senior moment" or senility. The fact is that there is a reason your memory dumps you like that. This article from Scientific American talks about a study done where researchers propose that "event models" in your memory are purged when entering a new area (such as walking through a door). Think of event models as surprise To-Dos. Short term actions to remember because you hadn't planned for them. Example: on your way home, you are told to pick up milk. You finish the drive home, enter your house, open the fridge, and remember that you forgot to get milk.
Why does everyone wait until New Years to start making life changes? Because it's a significant date. It's an easy place to purge your old self and start on your new "life model". You want to lose weight? January 1st you'll start that diet/exercise plan. You want to be a writer? January 1st, you'll write 30 minutes every day. New years, new life, new you... it's a great and natural marketing opportunity. Gym memberships soar in January.
Here's the thing: you can make any non-normal instance a "life model" purge.
Three years ago I changed my life around because I refused to use a CPAP machine in March.
Two years ago I changed my life again because I got engaged in February.
Last year my life changed in May, August, and September. Whirlwind year, and going to be hard to top.
My point is: if you've made a resolution for New Years, I hope you stick with it. Like I said in You Can Kaizen, it's all about small sustainable changes.
If you made a resolution for New Years and you fail, then I hope you find another event that kick-starts that life model purge.
Most importantly, I hope you don't give up entirely and just wait for another New Year to roll around. The book I linked above has 365 ways you can make each day a little "non-normal". Every day try to get back to what you really wanted on January 1st. You don't need the calendar to tell you when to change.
Stephanie Cansian is a rebelliously positive Central Jersey citizen with her husband and their dog.