Today I'm learning: How to juggle

Oliver Oliver • Published one year ago Updated one year ago

Dear friend

A few years ago, CGP Grey uploaded a video that - in essence - suggests one ditch the concept of “new year's resolutions” for a variety of reasons. Paramount among which being that it's basically impossible to stick to them solidly. Frankly I agree; the concept of “new year, new me” has always been lost on me. I think we should always be striving to better ourselves, the new year shouldn't be the only excuse to do so.

Instead he suggests an annual “theme” to which you try to stick. This theme should be vague enough that even small victories be celebrated. For example, instead of setting a resolution to “lose # kgs” or “quit smoking”, instead just make it your Year of Health. Maybe you lose just 1 kg. Maybe you cut down from 20 cigarettes to 10 cigarettes. Maybe you started setting a better bedtime schedule. It really doesn't matter - any change you make to improve your health means you stay on track for your Year of Health.

Another example, instead of saying “read # books per month”, just make it your Year of Reading. This opens up your possibilities so much more. Magazines count as reading. Blog posts count as reading. News articles count as reading. If you simply just start reading more, you're on track.

The moment you do this, when you start setting an annual theme rather than very-specific and over-achieving resolutions, all the stress about making yourself proud goes out the window. You can relax a bit more, and acknowledge that even if you make the tiniest beneficial change, you are still on track and you can celebrate that victory.

I've been doing this for the past few years, and I can personally vouch for it. I can't remember the last time I felt defeated for failing to stick to resolutions because… well… I don't set them anymore. I set a broad theme, and I recognise all victories I make that align with that theme, be they big or small. I strongly recommend you do the same because holy shit is it a freeing feeling.

This year I've decided to make my Year of Learning New Things. In the same style as the fantastic YouTuber Mike Boyd, I'd like to dedicate myself to learning a plethora of new things this year no matter how small they may be. An ideal goal would be “one new skill per month”, but I'm not going to set that hard limit on myself. It can be a motivating factor, but the goal is simply to learn new things regardless of how long it takes.

As you've probably gathered by the title of this post, my first new skill to learn is…



Now, I can't juggle for shit. My hand-eye coordination is appalling and it's no wonder I suck at some video games. I could barely juggle 2 balls in the past, let alone 3. But last year I told myself I wanted to learn guitar - and you know what? I did it. I can now play along pretty confidently to a lot of songs I like. So what's to stop me from trying to pick up a bunch of things I've always wanted to learn how to do - but never did?

Nothing. Nothing except my own laziness and self-deprecation. No more. I'm going to better myself this year by being a smarter and more skilled version of myself than I was last year.

At least, so I hope.