I was starting to worry that the project updates were getting a little long in the tooth, when I came across the following article in The New York Times – The New York Times people!
Just the subheading made me feel better about myself. The author went on to explain a little about the human psyche:
Habits are powerful. We persist with many of them because we tend to give undue emphasis to the present. Trying something new can be painful: I might not like what I get and must forgo something I already enjoy. That cost is immediate, while any benefits — even if they are large — will be enjoyed in a future that feels abstract and distant. Yes, I want to know what else my favorite restaurant does well, but today I just want my favorite dish.
Overconfidence also holds us back. I am unduly certain in my guesses of what the alternatives will be like, even though I haven’t tried them.
The entire point of my project is to put my proclivities and predispositions of how to live life up against expert advice. To see if there isn’t some payoff to changing my mindset, just for a second, knowing I can go back to doing things the old way for the rest of my life if I want. The story made me and my quotidian blog updates feel validated, as well as deeply annoyed that I can’t figure out how to leverage my bizarre neuroses into a New York Times article. Most days, it feels like my entire life is about changing the way I do things so that I can do them better. That’s why it’s called perfectionism, and that’s why people – probably people like the author of that article – think I’m crazy.
The essay acknowledges the difficulties inherent in setting aside our habits for the sake of experimentation, which made me feel better about the project failures. Surely I’ve not had as many Cokes as I would have, had I not pledged to forgo them until Dec. 31st, but surely the number is nowhere near zero either. And didn’t I say something about cutting back on social media…? Ahem. Some things are destined to be works in progress.
There have been successes though, and I’m excited to recap those in the final update in a few weeks. I hope to get a lot accomplished between now and the end of the year, including a slew of end-of-year blogs. Good luck to all of you who are ramping up for Christmas and the end of the year. Start thinking about those New Year’s Resolutions now. They could be well worth your time.