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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Is it true that we can choose how we react?

We can choose how we react to our circumstances. -- Depending on our level of awareness.It is often said that we cannot choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we react to it.

While the idea itself is probably way older, the above quote is often ascribed to the Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus (55-135 C.E.).

Specifically, he stated the following:

Our opinions are up to us, and our impulses, desires, aversions – in short, whatever is our own doing. Our bodies are not up to us, nor are our possessions, our reputations, or our public offices, or, that is, whatever is not our own doing.

What does this have to do with confidence and empowerment? Only pretty much everything.

See, I’ve found that the most basic difference between a confident and a non-fident mindset is the awareness of optional reactions. Like I’ve written about before, confident people have a mindset of abundance, possibilities and proactivity. Whereas non-fident people have a mindset of scarcity, limitations, and re-activity.

When we become confident, it’s because we shed our fears. This allows us to see possibilities where we used to see limitations and obstacles. And this, in turn, makes actively and consciously choosing what to do so much easier.

It’s when we’re confident that we can choose how we react.

However, this means that the saying of Epictetus isn’t 100% true.

Partly because non-fident people can’t always choose how to react. Because, non-fidents tend to look at life as something that happens to them rather than something which they’re able to influence. Therefore, their awareness of their available options are at a general low — often equaling zero.

Our level of awareness, then, determines to what extent we can choose how we react.

Furthermore, I see several patterns indicating that we can — to a certain degree — choose what happens to us.

Again, this highly depends on our level of confidence. Because the more confident we are, — and, hence, the more proactive we can be, — the more we’re able to set ourselves up to succeed.

The more we’re able to adjust our habits, our environment, our mentality, and our network of people to our advantage, the more we increase the possibility of great things happening in our lives. And the more confident we are, the more we’re able to do this.

If I could decide ONE quote, ONE piece of learning for you to take with you from me, the above might very well be it. Because this is the essence of what confidence does to us. Not only does it mean that we can choose how we react; it also enables us to build that future of happiness and success that we secretly yearn for. And, of course, it allows us to feel worthy thereof.

So, while he did make a name for himself, Epictetus might essentially have been too Stoic for his own good. 🙂

We can observe in highly confident people how having great confidence affects us. How it allows us to create our own realities. And how it really does mean that we can choose how we react.

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Giving up is for losers

Giving up is the only, 100% surefire guaranteed way to lose.If you ever feel like giving up, here’s a little something to think about: What do 100% of everyone who give up have in common?

Please read on as you ponder this question.

When I claim that ‘giving up is for losers’, I’m not being pretentiously cynical. On the contrary, I’m being as literal as possible.

You see, when you give up on something, losing is inevitable. Losing, by definition, is a direct consequence of giving up.

We might have many a good reason for giving up on something. We might find out it’s not what we really want — or need. Maybe we don’t want it bad enough to hone the necessary skills. Maybe it didn’t align with our personal values.

But whatever the reason for quitting, it will necessarily mean not succeeding.

So, reversely, does this mean that simply keeping at something will necessarily result in success?

Actually… Yeah, pretty much!

Of course, there are parameters that need to be in order. You gotta know what you’re doing. You gotta do the right things, and preferably in the right sequence.

But you’re not gonna succeed unless you keep at it, and never, ever give up.

This is what having a strong confidence will help you do.

Think of it like this: Hypothetically, if you have exactly ZERO confidence in yourself, how far are you going to get in life?

Yeah, pretty much nowhere. Because, if you believe you literally can’t do anything whatsoever, why would you even bother?

But just imagine what it would be like if you had the highest possible level of confidence in the world.

Man, you’d be out there. Struggling. Sucking up blow upon devastating blow; getting on your feet over and over. Making no excuses; persisting no matter what.

Winning!

Because you’d not only think, but know that success was inevitable.

And you know what? Sometimes, this is kind of what not giving up feels like. (And, just to clear all doubt: It feels terrific.)

By now, you might have guessed the obvious answer to the initial question: What do 100% of everyone who give up have in common?

That’s right: THEY LOSE.

Does this mean that you shouldn’t abandon any project that no longer serves you? Of course not!

I kept holding on to my education for years. Because there was a part of me that would feel like I’d suffer defeat if I didn’t get my master’s degree. But when I finally took the decision of letting it go and becoming an entrepreneur, it was the best thing I’d ever done for myself.

Now, I’m not taking any responsibility if you all decide to drop out after reading this. But I’m saying that whatever we need to never give up on should, ideally, be something that matters so much to us that giving up on it really would be a defeat.

There are enough losers as it is. Don’t become one.

Now, as for what you should be forever devoted to, that’s entirely up to you. 😉

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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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Wait for it… — On the virtue of patience

How do you expect to succeed at anything if you haven't got the patience?Building confidence takes patience. — In that it takes years.

Some people attract confidence naturally. But, unfairly as the world works, not everyone does.

If life’s truly got you down, turning it around is one of the bigger projects you’ll ever undergo. And even with a fairly normal life, rising above the average and becoming extraordinarily successful will also take years.

Trust me.

This is one of the major reasons that people get stuck in unsatisfying lives: We often end up settling for certain conditions because we think they’re inevitable. This can be because we’ve endured them for a certain period, and/or because we find ourselves coming back to them.

It’s all due to a lack of one little term, which means a world of difference between those who succeed and those who don’t…:

PATIENCE.

When someone settles for less, there’s necessarily a bi-sensation of giving up. And even though this might feel nice, it only does so because it’s comfortable. And, more often than not, comfort is what keeps us from getting where we want to be.

How many times have you planned to get up early only to snooze within the first millisecond of the alarm clock?

How many times have you wanted to lose weight only to keep gorging on junk food several times a week?

I could go on, but you get the point.

We settle for things by allowing them to happen. And by not being sufficiently patient we give way for allowing something to happen which we might end up settling for, even though initially we wouldn’t necessarily want to.

This is especially true for people of low confidence. When we’re not confident, we think unrealistically less of our abilities, therefore often not putting in the necessary work to succeed in whatever our pursuit, thereby getting used to failing.

And, in turn, we end up thinking of not only ourselves, but of everything we do, as a failure. — Which, in a classic example of downward spiralling, affects our patience negatively.

However, if one has enough patience to succeed, guess how that affects our confidence — and our patience? Yes, exactly.

Patience is crucial. Not only to succeed in any endeavours, but to a basic, good life. Think about it: If you want to achieve ANYHING worthwhile, how are you gonna do it if you deem failure in the midst of the process only because you get impatient??

I don’t want this for you. I don’t want any of you to settle for less than you truly want. Allow yourself to slowly build the patience of a saint, and you will be able to reap whatever tremendous benefits you want.

ACTION ITEM:

For 24 hours, turn off your phone, don’t go online, and don’t watch any TV or listen to any radio.

Why? Because we’ve gotten so used to these everyday distractions that our attention span, and, hence, our patience, suffers drastically. The longer you’re able to abstain from these kinds of instant gratification-kinda stimuli, the better your patience will be.

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