Trim Tab New Year

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“Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of the Queen Mary — the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there’s a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trim tab. It’s a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the little individual can be a trim tab.”
Buckminster Fuller

Written by The Dad

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions this year. I do intend to improve myself, but I decided to forgo the grand proclamations and take a different approach.

New Year’s resolutions are funny. I’ve always been amazed at how not following our resolutions is such a universal thing. We make jokes about it, but we still make the resolutions as if this year will be different. This year is never different.

At the beginning of this year I saw several similar memes on social media that inadvertently reinforced why this is so. The memes said, “New Year, New You”. Problem: “You” are the same. It’s really difficult change who you are overnight. There’s a reason the self help section of the bookstore is so large. If it were easy to change everyone would do it and they wouldn’t need to buy all those books.

Grandiose declarations of intent are a rush, though, aren’t they? “I’m going to lose 50 pounds” or “I’m going to run a full marathon,” sound so much more exciting than “I’m going to slowly but surely develop better habits,” but I bet the latter would work better. It’s hard to go from doing one thing to doing something else which is drastically different because the stronger the habit is the more changing it feels like changing who you are .  A large, jarring change is bound to abandoned at the first difficulty. Seems like it would be easier to make slight changes more often.

So I decided to take a different approach; the “trim tab” approach. I don’t think I can change all my bad habits over night, but with small, continuous tweaks I might be able to slowly turn the ship, so to speak.

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