...and how to make it work

It's that time of the year again. Everyone is planning how their 2020 would be different. They will renew themselves. "New Year New Me".

Maybe not. Most likely, your 2020 is going to be the same as your 2019. Why? Because only 8% of people who set NYRs succeed.

There are some fundamental flaws in the concept of a New Year's Resolution that I would like to highlight.

Linking change with an arbitrary time

Here's a hard truth: If you really wanted to change yourself, you would not wait till January 01, 2020 to make the change.

Think about it, if you were in an uncomfortable place in life, why would you wait to change it? Wouldn't it make much more sense to make change immediately?

Point being, most of you are too comfortable to change.

Coming back to the point, do not link change with time. Change is a process. A slow, boring, gradual process. But it's worth it at the end.

Change now, if you really want to change.

New Year's Resolutions are a marketing gimmick

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. Let's say you want to change. You still buy into the bullshit concept of a New Year's Resolution. This is part of reason why you won't succeed in making the change.

New Year's Resolutions are a stupid concept that marketers came up with so they could sell you more shit. Shit that makes you think you are making progress.

Have you bought books around this time that you never read? or taken a gym subscription that you never used? or bought a self-help guru course?

Congrats, you played yourself. Marketers sold you the idea of change, you mistook it for actual change, and bought it!

Thinking change is a step

"Taking the step this year to be a better me"

Change is not a step.

Change must be broken down into a habit that you do daily. Thinking about a "new me" is not going to make a new you.
A new you has to be created by taking actions every day that are different from the "old you".

Enough ranting about why they don't work. Here are some actionable tips.

A few notes on how to actually change:

Aerial view of a mountain staircase
Photo by Geran de Klerk / Unsplash

1. Break your resolution down into actionable steps.

Here's what most people's resolutions look like:

"Lose weight"
"Get fit"
"Earn more money"

The idea sounds good but does not give you a plan to follow. If you want to change, it must be broken down into daily habits, not vague statements that make you feel good.

"Lose weight" can become "Go for a 15 minute jog every day".
"Get fit" can become "Lift weights 3x/week".
"Earn more money" can become "Learn a particular in-demand skill".

2. Track your progress.

What gets measured, gets better. What does not get measured, gets lost.

"Without a goal, you can't score" and without a scorecard, you can't know how far you've come.

Want to lose weight? Weekly weight checks. Want to earn more? Quarterly income checks. Want to eat healthy? Measure your calories and macros in an app. There is a way to track all goals.

Tracking your goals gives you feedback as to how you are doing. This is why you have your internal tests before your final exams, to see how you're doing during the course.

Weekly Review for Your Goals
Photo by Isaac Smith / Unsplash

Measure your progress. Make adjustments accordingly.

3. Don't do too much.

Instagram lied to you. You don't have to "DO MORE". You have to do less.

As you are young, you will naturally want to change everything in 2020. If you put your hands in too many baskets, you will see sub-par returns in each.

Focus on just one or two things, make them your top priority, and take action towards them daily.

4. Daily action.

It stuns me how many people don't take daily actions towards their "goals". How else do you think you're going to achieve them?

Change is a lifestyle choice. You need to break your goals down into daily steps. You need to do different things every day for you to see a change.

The man on the top of the mountain did not fall there. He took daily steps and kept climbing. He didn't wait for the weekend or the new year.

A day lived well is good enough. Your days will make your years.

5. Quarterly reviews.

Another concept I have found important is that of 90-day goals.

3 months is a long enough time to see some tangible change in yourself if you have been consistent. It is also a short enough time for you to correct your course of action if you aren't making progress.

If businesses can do quarterly reviews of their finances, so can you.

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

6. Just show up.

I don't know how much to stress this. Everybody has one hour a day. Minimum.
If you think you don't, you are lying to yourself. Stop watching Netflix, stop hanging out with your loser friends, you will automatically find time.

No wonder 80% of New Year's Resolutions fail. You just don't show up because you're too busy doing dumb shit.

7. Reward yourself.

Our brain works on feedback loops. At a simplistic level, it does more of what it likes and less of what it doesn't like. It will do more of what you reward it for.

Ideally, your progress should be the only reward you need. But if you need to externally reward yourself, do it. Make sure the rewards don't hurt your goals though. Eg: Don't binge eat junk over the weekend after a week of hitting the gym.

8. Have a strong WHY.

Don't do it for mom and dad. Don't do it for your friends. Don't do it for the girl. Do it for you. Do it for the person in the mirror.

Having an internal source of WHY helps in sticking to your goals. If your motivation is external, it will fade eventually. You will remain the same.

Photo by Danielle MacInnes / Unsplash

These steps work. 100% money back guarantee. YC the man approved.

Good luck. Let me know how you do 3 months later.

_Your Man, YC THE MAN

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