The Problem With Your New Year Resolutions

I will personally guarantee you that the majority of people who even bother to set a resolution in 2019 will fail. If they manage to succeed, I would bet that it’s not due to any actions they took in a consciously. If setting New Year resolutions the way they are set today actually worked, there wouldn’t be so many fat, broke, unhappy losers with no passport running around wondering what the hell their problem is.

There is a single practice that has taken me from broke, jobless and terrified of failure to self-employed, empowered and unstoppable in less than six months. Hell, I’m not even maximizing it the way I should. It’s a concept that can be found in dozens of areas in life and business. I’ve found that most failures can be traced back to somebody paying insufficient attention to this principle.

It’s almost to the point of being cliche. Still, I’m going to do my best to present this to you in a new light so that you’ll give it the attention it deserves:

Know what your goals really are.

Why Resolutions Don’t Work

The reason that New Year resolutions don’t fucking work is that people aren’t aware of what their goals are. “I will lose 20 pounds this year.” Bitch, no you won’t, because you don’t actually care about losing 20 pounds. Allow me to explain:

Two years ago, I set a resolution to exercise more, and just like everyone else, I did it for a month and then fell back into my old routines. I did this because I didn’t actually care about exercising more. Who can blame me? Exercising sucks, at least for me. I spend 30-60 minutes under physical stress, breathing hard and sweating, enduring the imagined judgements of strangers. In exchange for which, I then feel uncomfortable for a few days afterwards while my muscles rebuild. A lot of effort for no (immediate) reward. Of course, I logically understand that it takes time to see positive results from exercise, but emotionally, I just don’t see it, which is what’s really important. I wasn’t emotionally invested, and emotion is the most powerful leverage I have over my lazy instincts.

Here’s a different example. Earlier this year, I committed to doing 300 pushups a day for 30 days.

I blew it out of the sky.

There are a few reasons that this went better than my last year’s resolution to exercise more. First, it was only a month-long commitment, which I personally find more manageable, since I can see the finish line more clearly. Second, I clearly defined the goal. I knew what I had to do every day, which made it easier for me to do. Especially since I didn’t have to do any “critical thinking.” This usually winds up with me getting bored or distracted and doing something else anyway. There are myriad modifications you can make to your goals to increase your ability to achieve them, but we’ll save those for another day. Let’s look at the most significant factor that allowed me to actually fulfill this ambition.

I was doing it for a reason beyond simply wanting to do pushups.

Why People Really Set a Goal

People don’t set a resolution to lose weight because they want to lose weight. They set a resolution to lose weight because they want to be more attractive to others. Maybe they want to feel better about themselves when they look at their reflection. Maybe they’re sick of feeling slow and sluggish all the time.

I committed to doing 300 pushups a day because I wanted to improve the definition of my triceps and bulk up my pecs, and because I wanted to prove to myself that I could actually finish something I started. Whenever I found it was time to pound out my reps, I thought of why I was doing it, which was more than enough to push me through the discomfort.

Today, I apply the same logic to my business. I don’t want to be a millionaire so I can have a million dollars. A dollar bill is useless. I want to be a millionaire because of what the money allows me to do; provide for the people I love, impress the people I hate, buy cools toys and live my best life. When it comes right down to it, I don’t care about money. I just care about what it allows me to do.

Your New Year resolution is a means to an end. Set resolutions that will help you do something you actually give a fuck about, and believe that you’re capable of achieving them; because you are. Know yourself, seek self-improvement, and never lose sight of the real reason why you’re doing what you’re doing.

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