As December draws to a close, while we find ourselves contemplating the cutest kittens or most awkward moments of 2013, our minds inevitably turn to pondering potential resolutions for the coming new year. Though the routine may be quite common, the concept of the “New Year’s Resolution” is as much lampooned as it is celebrated, if not more so. Why? Because changing your habits is hard and that motivation you feel on the 31st may find a way to sneak off by the time the sun sets on the 1st. The following is a little toolkit to help you set up your goals for 2014 and stick with them. May the Force be with you!
Part 1 – The problem with your goal:
The real reason most people struggle to achieve a goal is because they design one they can’t quantify or translate into a specific action. For example: “My new year’s resolution is to be happier.” What does that mean? How does one "be happier"? And how will you know when you've achieved it?
Part 2 - Redesigning your goal:
It is much easier to succeed if you use this SMART goal template.
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Attainable
R - Relevant
T - Time-bound
Ok! Now we have our template, let's rework that original goal. If you want to "be happier", it helps to do things that make you feel happy...so what might those things be? Do you like going bowling with your buds? Do you savor a productive Monday morning at work? There are countless possibilities but let's focus on these two and write a new goal:
"In 2014 I will go bowling with my buds once a week and I will not check my personal email or go on Facebook until noon on Mondays."
Now this new goal does not have the grandeur of its original version, but it's about one million times more likely to actually work because it's SMART. (See what I did there?)
Specific - It lists two two simple and straight-forward actions towards your underlying happiness goal.
Measurable - You can literally write down each week weather you bowled/held off emailing or not.
Attainable - You didn't say "go bowl every night" or "never take a break at work". This is actually doable.
Relevant - These two things matter to you, they're not just something you feel like you should want to do.
Time-bound - For the 52 weeks of 2014, you are going to do each thing once a week.
Part 3 - Extra bits that always help:
-Write it down, everyday.
-Tell a friend. If the two of you set the same goal, you can help each other stick to it. Teamwork!
-At some point in 365 days, you're probably going to miss a day or backslide or just plain forget. This is OK. It happens. Move on. "Failing" for one day, a week, or even a month is not a reason to throw in the towel for the whole year. Get back on the horse.
Last but not least: Consider joining the ShockYard ;) We'd love to help you reach your goals whatever they may be! Don't forget our Grand Opening Party, Resolution Fest, this Friday, January 3rd from 5:30-7:30 PM. There will be games, prizes, and food!
For decades the development of walking robots has been stymied by a misunderstanding of how our bodies coordinate the complicated movements involved in traversing a varied terrain. In essence, we thought that our brains regulated arm and leg motion by coordinating every individual muscle fiber within the system...but this "style" of thinking requires far too much processing power to ever be functional in the ever-unpredictable real world. For example, watch Honda's fancy ASIMO robot short out on a flight of stairs that you could likely bound up in a few moments (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dKPkL2oto0). Feel superior, you are.
We now understand that our nervous system streamlines the process of limb movement by specifying whole joint angles over time. Very very simply put, your body knows that walking requires the joints of your legs to hit certain marks and strives to recover to those marks if the environment changes. The team over at Boston Dynamics has built a series of robots that incorporate this "joint angle" processing system. Check out "Big Dog" as she navigates ice, hills, and the odd kick from her developers and be impressed by her stability. (
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1czBcnX1Ww) Their latest design, "Cheetah", can run up to 29 mph, which is 1 mph faster than Usain Bolt's 100-meter dash. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chPanW0QWhA) Though...ironically nowhere near as fast as an actual cheetah which would blaze by at 65 mph. Biology is an amazing thing!
Want to learn more? Check out
Thanks to Barb Finlay, Professor of Psychology at Cornell University, our consulting editor for the week!
Looking for some motivation to keep up with running this winter? Join The ShockYard for our first Social Club group 5K! Sign up to run with The ShockYard team ($50 for members, $60 for non-members) by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This fee includes a 5K race training program, $30 race registration, and a ShockYard t-shirt. Let's do this!
More info on the race here:
Keeping up a running regimen in the winter months can be daunting to say the least.
Consider adding a holiday running streak to your schedule this December. The idea is simple: run at least one mile every day between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Breaking your running routine into manageable bites over a short discrete time period will help turn that giant mental snow drift into a clear path...you may even find it's kind of pretty outside. :)
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