Driving in the New Year: Driving Resolutions and Getting Past Our Driving Vices
As the year winds down, I find myself thinking a lot about making 2017 … better than 2016. I don’t have control over much other than myself, of course, so most of the ways I’ve identified to improve the future start with me (and, I hope, don’t end there). My list might look a little like yours: read more; write more; lose twenty pounds; be more involved in my community—and drive better.
Like everybody, I’ve got my share of driving vices. The image you see here is a whiteboard here in our Oakland office, where people wrote down their vices, pledging to try to get past them in the coming year. (I’ve written about driving vices before: speeding; road rage; bad trip planning.) And, like everybody, I’m sometimes a pedestrian, sometimes a driver, sometimes a bike rider, sometimes a user of public transit, sometimes a passenger, and all of those roles come with their own vices, too.
Sometimes I’m the pedestrian staring at his phone. Sometimes I’m the guy who forgets to put his bag on the ground when he’s standing on a BART train. And sometimes I’m the bike rider wearing headphones and pulling his phone out to change a podcast. Again, maybe my list looks a little like yours?
All of this needs to improve. The question, of course, is “How?”
The key for me has been to take a four-step approach:
- Identify the desired outcome: “Get past my driving vices.”
- Break the outcome down into actionable steps: “No speeding. Keep cool behind the wheel. Don’t set out for new environs without a map.”
- Create measurable goals out of those steps: “Go one week without speeding. Go one month without speeding.”
- Build daily habits to attain those goals.
For me, habits are the key. And I have not found a better way to build new, better habits than the approach usually called “Don’t Break the Chain”. “Don’t Break the Chain” tells you to identify things you can do, every single day. Every day you do these things, you mark it on a calendar you see every day. For me, this is incredibly motivating: seeing the Xs crawl across the calendar makes me want to, well, not break the chain!
So there it is: I’m resolving to be a better driver in 2017, to get past my driving vices. Of course, to try to do better, you have to know what you’re doing wrong. As an employee of DriversEd.com (an eDriving company), I’ve got a great team around me who are diligent about identifying my areas for improvement. If you need to know what your weaknesses are behind the wheel, you can use our RoadRISK® Self-Assessment by signing up here. If you’re not yet driving, why not resolve to get your license in 2017? It’s an immensely important, and rewarding, set of skills to have, and we’re there for you every step of the way. If you’ve been waiting to learn to drive, resolve to make your life better in 2017 by gaining more freedom, more responsibility, and more control over your own life. Resolve to get your license in 2017. We’ll resolve to help you identify and conquer any bad habits you may have behind the wheel. Together, we can make next year all that it can be.