As we all embark on the new year and face our resolutions, I want to offer some advice, both from an academic field I’m interested, and from some other smart people. First, the academic field. Emergence is a concept whose basic idea is that small changes, incremental steps lead to big phenomena. Think about ants and how the operate. They don’t know the big picture of what they’re doing. Each ant adds a tiny amount to the life of the colony, and yet, the whole operation seems so amazing and efficient. I think about this philosophy in my own life. I take one day at a time. It’s why I broke my resolutions down into daily activities: walk every day, do one load of laundry a day, declutter for 15 minutes per day. Each day, I can ask if I’ve done those things and if I haven’t, I can tackle them. And then those days add up, until, before you know it, you’ve established a habit. Walking every day becomes just something that you do rather than a chore. Which brings my to some other smart people.
In the video below, Matt Cutts, a Google engineer talks about doing something for 30 days, which is, of course, where you’ll be after doing your daily things.