5 reasons your New Year’s resolutions don’t work — part 2

There are 5 reasons your New Year's resolutions don't work, and they might not be what you think.So, right before this New Year’s, I talked about why your New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Remember?

Well, how are they working out for you so far?

The reason I’m asking is not to make you feel guilty or anything, but because by now we’ve exceeded the ‘cut-off date’, as it were.

I’ve seen articles refer to Jan. 23rd as the day where most people will have decided that their New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Tony Robbins refers to Jan. 15th as the cut-off date. And in Britain, apparently, people already give up by Jan. 10th.

If I were to judge from how many people were suddenly at the local gym on the last day of 2017, and how that number has kinda settled down to not much more than the usual by now, then yes, this cut-off date is totally a thing.

Why do people do this?

Well, like we talked about last time, it might be because they’re taking on too much; because it’s not really that important to them; and/or because they lack clarity, accountability, and a certain ‘deadline’ for completion.

Now, I know this might scare away a lot of people. But it’s exactly when those things are in place that we reach our goals. And this is exactly why most people don’t reach their goals.

Think about it. How many people do you know that go about setting goals like this?

Exactly: It’s probably about the same percentage of people you know as the percentage of the entire population who are actually doing so.

 

Your New Year's resolutions don't work. And even less so if you're British, apparently.
Of course, in Britain, the numbers might be different.

This is the thing about us humans: Whether we like it or not, we tend to conform. We’re social animals; it’s in our genes to avoid social stigma. Sure, some of us like to stand out in certain respects, but like I always say, the average is average by necessity.

(Hell, it’s the law of averages that says so in the first place.)

So, we’ve all grown accustomed to the people around us making New Year’s resolutions only to give up on them sometime during January.

If a lot of people around you are making New Year’s resolutions, there’s probably something to it, yeah? So then, why wouldn’t we do the same thing?

And if they fail at keeping theirs, you wouldn’t look too bad if you failed at keeping yours, right?

Making New Year’s resolutions for the sake of making them probably isn’t a good way to make permanent changes to your life.

 

Your New Year's resolutions don't work. And even less so if you're British, apparently.
And also, why WOULD you?

Me, I’ve long stopped making ‘em. Hell, even MY New Year’s resolutions don’t work.

And probably for the above reason:

Don’t make New Year’s resolutions because everyone else are doing it.

Make goals in life. Goals that are more important to you than anything else.

Because if you treat something like that for long enough, it WILL grow and prosper. By the same necessity that dictates why the majority fails at having THEIR goals grow and prosper.

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5 reasons your New Year’s resolutions don’t work

 

There are 5 reasons your New Year's resolutions don't work, and they might not be what you think.There are 5 reasons your New Year’s resolutions don’t work, and…

Oh yeah, here’s the thing about New Year’s resolutions: They don’t work.

And really, it should come as no surprise.

Because… You’ve been there. Haven’t you?

Walked around in those last few days of the year and kinda made a mental status of your life?

Thought about some things that might be nice to do — or that you even felt that you should do?

Stood there on a new Jan. 2nd (after your latest hangover had faded, of course), and found yourself with this new promise to yourself that you kinda had to deal with?

… Only to find that, after a certain period of time, this new thing that you had going on didn’t really work out. For whatever reason.

Yeah, I’ve been there, too. No judgment on my part.

If you're like Calvin, you don't need to know these 5 reasons your New Year's resolutions don't work.
And then, of course, there’s Calvin.

In fact, as it’s been repeated several times, one 2014 study found that while 45% of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions, only 8% of those resolutions get successfully carried out.

I’ve seen the same statistic represented through other studies, with minor variations. Some say 50% make resolutions; some say 10% of them are successful. But you get the gist of it.

The good news is that those resolutions fail for the same reasons that any other unsuccessful goal fails. I’ve found the 5 reasons your New Year’s resolutions don’t work, and I’ll walk you through them, here:

1. It’s not specific enough

How many times have you heard someone say that they wanna “live healthier” or “lose some weight” — or even said it yourself? Well excuse me, but what the tits does that even mean anyway?

Yes, I know what weight loss literally means. But try fasting or dehydrating yourself for a day and measure your weight before and after (actually, maybe don’t). Boom: You’ve lost some weight; goal accomplished.

No. Exactly WHAT concrete actions are you going to take WHEN in order to lose WHAT amount of excess body fat (not muscle!) by WHICH date? Oh yeah, about that…

2. It doesn’t have a clear deadline

But it’s a New Year’s resolution so I’ll have it done sometime this year LOL!

Right. And if we’re at Jan. 1st, this might mean later today. Or, it might mean in just short of 52 weeks. Please tell me you see the difference, because I’m not elaborating on this one.

3. You’re over-burdening yourself

If you set yourself a big New Year’s resolution, like running a marathon, without properly thinking it through, right there’s your problem. Huge goals necessarily require huge amounts of action.

And let’s face it, most of us only have so much spare time in the course of a day after work, shopping, domestic chores, and perhaps dealing with our progeny.

You earned it!
“Yeah, deal with THIS, old man!”

But anybody could find 5 or 10 minutes in a day. That is, if it’s important enough. Which brings me to…

4. It’s not really important to you

This one, I think, is hugely overlooked. See, whatever we do, harmful or beneficial, we do it because there are certain benefits to it.

For example, think of this Classic New Year’s resolution: Quitting smoking. Every single human being knows about the serious harms and risks of smoking. Yet, there are certain benefits to it.

The ritual. The perceived coolness. Certain possibilities of making social connections. The personal sanctuary of a smoking break. The immense instant gratification of a nicotine rush.

Whatever we want, we better make damn sure the benefits of getting it by far outweigh those of not getting it. And this has a lot to do with changing our mental game around it.

5. You have no accountability

Now, this one’s a bit tricky. See, in general, a certain amount of accountability is motivating for by far most of us. But it only takes so much accountability before it starts to feel like unwanted, outside pressure. Which is when our motivation reaches its breaking point.

For some, declaring their resolutions to their friends, families, colleagues etc. might help instil a sense of motivational accountability.

Others (like me) prefer the less-talking-more-action approach. — And then, of course, hold themselves accountable to the relevant people, like their coach, mentor, personal trainer, mastermind group… Whoever.

Find out what works for you.

Those are the 5 reasons your New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Now it’s up to you to make sure they do.

I recommend the following approach:

Don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Set goals that are realistic, important, specific and time-bound, and keep taking consistent action on them.

Happy New Year.

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The benefits of having a bucket list

Benefits of having a bucket listNot being a native English-speaker, I don’t always know every English expression out there. So it was only last year that I came upon the term ‘bucket list’. But what are the benefits of having a bucket list?

For those of you who don’t know either (here’s to hoping I’m not the only one!), the ‘bucket’ in ‘bucket list’ refers to the expression ‘kicking the bucket’.

Y’know… Croaking it. Pushing up the daisies. Buy the farm. Bite the dust.

Die.

In other words, your bucket list is the list of things you wanna do before you kick that proverbial bucket.

… And what does this have to do with confidence? As always, thanks for asking.

As long as I’ve studied confidence, success, and self-development, I’ve seen a strong correlation between one’s amount of confidence, and the way one sets goals for oneself.

Indeed, show me someone who have no goals at all, and I’ll show you someone who’s treating themselves way less confidently than what’s good for them. Well, either that or they’ve somehow reached Nirvana.

These guys have absolutely nothing to do with the benefits of having a bucket list.
No, the other one.

Of course, just because you have a bucket list it doesn’t mean you’re treating its items like goals, per se. Indeed, you could’ve just written it down once upon a lazy afternoon only to let life get in the way and forget all about it.

But if you’ve never determined anything you definitely wanna do before you die, then what might be the chances of you pursuing it??

That’s right. So there’s one of the benefits of having a bucket list, right there.

And here’s another thing:

The more specific your bucket list, the more chance of you actually pursuing its items rather than just letting it slide.

Ever heard about the concept of setting SMART goals? The idea is that whenever you decide upon doing something, you’ll increase the likelihood of it happening manifold by making sure it’s Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

For example, if someone’s goal is to ‘lose some weight’, it’s neither.

But if someone wants to lose 10 pounds of body fat in 6 months by abstaining from processed and sugary foods; eating vegetables and lean meat every day, and doing at least 30 minutes of cardio Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays…

Yeah, that’s pretty SMART.

No, you can't have candy if you wanna lose weight.
These all count as vegetables, right?

I try to live by the concept of SMART goals.

So, one of the benefits of having a bucket list is that you set yourself up for actually accomplishing what you want in life. And this says a lot about one’s confidence.

But it definitely goes the other way, too. The more you accomplish of what you want in life, the bigger your confidence will necessarily grow.

ACTION POINT:

If you haven’t got a bucket list, make one right now.
It doesn’t have to be meticulously detailed. Just take 1/2 hour to jot down 10-20 things you wanna do in your life, big or small.
If it helps, try to look at your life in different areas. E.g., what do I want when it comes to career, living, travel, sports, health, relationships, family, creativity…? Etc..

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Ever considered keeping a journal? Here’s why you should totally do it.

Keeping a journal, simply put, will only improve your life.It’s no secret that my life has been… Well, challenging, to put it neutrally. But then, a couple of years ago, I started keeping a journal. And I tell ya, it’s played a big part in turning my entire life around.

Now, some people may consider themselves more or less the kinds of people to be keeping a journal. But I believe everyone could benefit from keeping a journal, and here’s why.

See, when I started doing it, I was inspired by The Five Minute-Journal. I might be kinda copying its concept, but hey, it works! And here it goes…

Every morning when I get out of bed, I write down:
– Three things I’m grateful for.
– Three things that’d be awesome to have done by the end of the day.
– A daily affirmation following the simple template of “I am [_______]”.

And every evening before I turn in, I write down:
– Three awesome things that happened throughout the day.
– The one biggest thing I learned during the day.
– One way in which I could’ve made the day even better.

Okay, so what’s the point of all this? Why, thanks for asking!

As for the three things I’m grateful for, I often do more than three. But don’t settle for less! Like I’ve said before, when we’re in touch with our gratitude for what we have, what we have expands.

The three things I’d like to have done by the end of the day, I’ve usually planned out ahead. So for me, the point here is to consolidate my already existing plans and make sure I get ’em done. But you’d might go about it any which way you’d like.

This also goes for the daily affirmation. Some people only use one word, e.g. “I am strong”, “I am happy”, “I am successful”, etc.. But I usually do at least one or two full sentences combined, like for example “I am a goddamn pirate, so don’t step to me or I’ll mess you up, kiddo.”

(I tend to go for something empowering.)

Now, the three awesome things that happened don’t necessarily have to be those I’d planned out ahead. On the contrary, I often try to notice what other good stuff happens and note that. Again, you can do as many as you want, but three is a good minimum.

And the same thing goes for the things you learned, and the ways in which you could have improved upon your day. In fact, it’s almost impossible to have too many of these!

But…

Yeah, I know. I know…

If you’re down in the dumps, it can be hard to find anything to be grateful for. It can be hard to get things done, learn anything, and appreciate whatever goes on in one’s life. And telling yourself that you’re just happy-go-dandy is simply downright awkward.

But do it anyway. Because, when you do this enough times, then what do you think happens?

That’s right.

What we focus on is the reality that we eventually create for ourselves. So, as you start to consciously focus on empowering thoughts, learning experiences, and valuable actions, that’s how your life becomes.

Alex Ikonn and U.J. Ramdas, the makers of the aforementioned Five-Minute Journal, claim that keeping a journal is “the simplest, most effective thing you can do every day to be happier.” And they’re not kidding.

Not only will keeping a journal bring you in touch with your happiness and help you focus on the good times. Furthermore, it’s an effective way to keep track of your progress, stay on track, and reevaluate your goals.

Seriously, go ahead and try it.

ACTION POINT:

1. Based upon the above outline, keep a journal every day for 30 days.

2. If you miss a day, keep at it. But start over with the next day being day 1.

3. Notice as the small changes start happening in your life.

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Consistency — why is it important to me?

Confidence and consistency go hand in hand.Yes: Consistency. Now there’s an abstract word for you. Why would I present my readers with such an intangible term?

Because consistency applies to each and every one of us if we wanna get confidence on a permanent basis.

But how?

Well, thank you for asking!

Consistency basically means a constant regularity in whatever it is that you do.

For many people, especially those with low confidence and self-esteem, keeping up a critical amount of consistency can be an uphill battle. This, in part, is because consistency in itself is worth little to nothing without the necessary confidence and resolve to pursue one’s wishes.

However, achieving a certain amount of consistency can very well be the much-needed success which, then, becomes the tipping point towards unstoppable momentum.

Well, that sounds great. How does one do that?

Well, thank you for asking once again!

First, we need to make sure we have the right kind of consistency. By this, I mean that we need to be doing the right things.

Sounds obvious, yes? Well, it’s definitely NOT that obvious when you look at how far too many people spend their free time fidgeting away on their smartphones or watching TV instead of improving their lives in any way.

Many of us have consistency in getting up and going to work every morning, because we know that NOT doing so would have dire consequences. Just imagine if we could apply the same consistency to any goal of ours…

For example, let’s say you wanna lose weight. Here’s some hand-picked do’s and don’t’s for weight loss:

– Cardio exercise
– No sugar, starchy carbs or saturated fats
– 7-8 hours of sleep
– No smoking
– No more than 2 units of alcohol in one day
– Whole grains, fibres, legumes, and vegetables galore

I’m certain that by far most of you could meet all of the above in one day. Just one.

But how about one week? Or one month?

This is where having a strong confidence comes in handy. This is, amongst other things, what I help people do.

Now, it’s extremely important to know that we DON’T need to be some sort of superhuman who adheres to a set of criteria like these every single day for the rest of our lives. We need some variation; we need to go on holidays every once in a while. Hell, we need weekends to let loose and recover.

But if we don’t do certain actions on a sufficiently regular basis, we’ll never have the consistency we need to achieve the lives we truly want.

ACTION ITEM:

1) Pick just one action necessary to reach any goal of yours. Make sure it’s fairly compact and easily manageable; preferably doable in 1/2 hour — like with cardio exercise.
2) Do this action Monday, Wednesday and Friday the next week. Schedule time in your calendar this Sunday.
3) Repeat upon completion.
4) Repeat until you’ve done it for one month. Then, do it for another month.
5) Congratulations. You’ve just developed a habit supportive of your success.

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