4 things to do instead of making New Year’s Resolutions

In less than a week, many of us will repeat the dreadful, never ending cycle of creating a laundry list of meaningless New Year’s Resolutions (NYR) to kick 2018 off “the right way”.

Your list probably looks something like this:

Spend more time with family and friends….Get fit….Eat healthier….Quit smoking….Enjoy life more….Quit drinking….Get out of debt….Learn something new….Help others….Get organized.

In the past, I too have made several of these same resolutions.

But through my own experience of failing to achieve these goals year after year — combined with the statistics of Americans who fail to achieve their NYR at a whopping 92% — I have come to the realization that we all need to STOP.

Before I move forward, I want to be clear about something…

What I am not saying here is to make your NYR’s BEFORE the new year.

What I am saying is STOP making resolutions PERIOD.

Aren’t you tired of FAILING? Aren’t you sick of feeling DISCOURAGED?


As Mark Manson wrote in his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, aren’t you tired of “constantly moving and going nowhere?” (Really great read by the way!)

And through extensive research through dozens of self-help books and articles — several of which were a load of crap by the way — I THINK I have found a few solutions.


1. Change what you say when you talk to yourself

“The brain simply believes what you tell it most. And what you tell it about you, it will create. It has no choice.”

– Shad Helmstetter

I read Shad Helmstetter’s book What to Say When You Talk to Yourself a couple of years ago and it changed my life.

I know people go around saying this and that “changed their life” all of the time these days, but bear with me.

We all talk to ourselves…

Every day.

Every hour.

Every minute.

And the way we talk to ourselves can dramatically impact the way we feel about ourselves.

If we can BELIEVE, we can ACHIEVE.

But it goes further than that.

When we are looking to make a change, and we tell ourselves what we DON’T want to do anymore, we are actually speaking to ourselves negatively.

Instead of saying “I don’t want to be overweight anymore,” say “I am creating better health every day”.

Instead of saying “I don’t want to argue with my family anymore,” say “I am working on my relationship with my family.”

Instead of saying “I don’t want to fail my math class again,” say “I am taking the steps necessary to pass my math class.”

Change the way you talk to yourself and you’ll change your life.

Your self-love will skyrocket.

You will realize there are no longer limits on what you can do.

Your relationships will improve.

The possibilities are endless.

I highly recommend this book if you’re in need of some help in this department. I don’t personally do EVERYTHING the book suggests. However, as I mentioned before, changing the way I talked to myself was really a huge breakthrough for me in learning to love myself and increase my productivity.

Here it is again:

What to Say When You Talk to Yourself

2. Realize willpower is not enough

“You cannot change your future. But you can change your habits, and surely your habits will change your future.”

– APJ Abdul Kalam

I started reading Brendon Burchard’s book called High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way. Brendon #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author and one of the most-followed personal development coaches in the world.

If you are serious about making some changes in 2018, whether it be in your work life, business life, social life, love life, health life, etc., this book is a MUST READ.

Brendon basically explains that willpower is not enough, and that developing 6 specific habits will help you reach your goals without even trying.

Through his extensive research on high performers around the world, he noticed 6 habits — seeking clarity, generating energy, raising necessity, increasing productivity, developing influence, and demonstrating courage — that were very prevalent in high achievers.

These high achievers all exhibited what most of us dream our lives to be like.

They took care of their bodies and their relationships.

They were great leaders and cared about the people they worked with.

They were risk takers and always up for a challenge.

They lived life to the fullest.

In 2018, I will not let my willpower decide if I achieve my best self. I will rely on good habits. My best self is not a quick fix… it is a journey that continues every day.

3. Stop making GOALS, start making PLANS

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

– Antoine de Saint Exupery

You’ve probably heard all about how to properly set goals for yourself.

They probably told you to develop SMART goals… specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, timely goals,

And if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably made 97 SMART goals, but you have yet to achieve any of them.

You see, the IDEA behind a SMART goal is actually really solid.

The problem is, most people never actually EXECUTE their goals.

So, instead of goal setting, we are going to focus on PLANNING instead.

Envision your ideal self a year from now.

Write down what that person looks like, feels like, what they are doing, and what they are accomplishing.

Make 3 long term goals that are necessary to achieve your ideal self. (It is important to start with no more than 3). Write these down as well.

Schedule time to develop yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily plans in advance:

Set an alarm on your phone for one year from today’s date. (1 hour)

  • Reflect upon how the year turned out. Did you become your ideal self? Did you make progress towards your ideal self? Objectively, what are the reasons you didn’t make progress? This is not time for excuses, this is time to honestly reflect.
  • Set the tone for the next year. (Repeat the process).

Set an alarm for 3 months from today’s date. (1 hour)

  • Re-evaluate the vision of your ideal self. Make changes where necessary. It is not uncommon for your vision to morph over a period of time.
  • Study your progress up to this point. Did you meet your monthly goals?
  • Determine what changes need to be made in your habits or mindset moving forward.

Set a monthly alarm from today’s date. (1 hour)

  • Refocus your energy on your vision. Are you making progress?
  • Come up with three goals to accomplish for the month and map out the time and necessities needed to accomplish them.

Set a weekly alarm from today’s date. (30 minutes)

  • Revisit your annual, quarterly, and monthly goals.
  • Each week, schedule out the time you will dedicate towards your monthly goals.

Set aside 10 minutes each morning before you start your day.

  • RELAX!
  • Sit down with your calendar on your phone or computer (or a paper planner).
  • Spend 10 minutes and schedule your day by the minute. Do not just write a to-do list… Research shows that creating a schedule promotes productivity.

You probably noticed that I constantly suggested you set an alarm and schedule your days.

This is essential! And this is WHY most people don’t execute their goals.

Without a schedule, your goals are to-do lists.

And if you think about it, don’t all successful people, companies, and organizations run on a schedule?

So should you.

4. Make “time” matter

The trouble is — you think you have time.”

– Buddha

I have found myself many a time complaining… “There are not enough hours in a day!”

I’d run around frantically. Constantly moving, going nowhere.

My relationships suffered because I was always in a hurry or thinking about the next thing.

And I NEVER accomplished my long daily to-do list.

I knew something needed to change, so I started scheduling my days out in a planner. It was then that I began to realize how much time I wasted every day.

After scheduling my priorities for each day, I realized I had 3–5 hours each day to do whatever I wanted.

As you can imagine, I filled those most of those 3–5 hours up with things like working out, cooking meals, or reading books.

However, I also know that even though my day is jam packed and busy, it is important to give myself and hour or two each day to really invest in my relationships.

I know this is not a lot of time… but let me paint a couple scenarios for you!

Scenario one: The couple sits on the couch for 5 hours in the evening. The TV is on and they both sit quietly on their phone, flipping through social media, checking work emails, and not verbally engaging with each other. But they are all in the same room, and they are spending plenty of time together.

Scenario two: The couple makes dinner together and they tell each other about their day. They sit down at the table, and as they eat dinner, they talk about plans for the future, tell jokes, and enjoy each other’s company. They spend an hour invested in communicating what is on their minds, asking for advice, and getting to know each other on a deeper level.

I don’t know about you, but I’d take an hour or two of scenario two over 5 hours of scenario one any day of the week.

You see, we think that other people need more of our time, when in fact they just need quality time.

I encourage you to really invest yourself into making a habit to unplug and give your full attention to your relationships for one or two hours per day.

Make that time meaningful, and I promise that short amount of time will be enough.

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I’m not really sure who came up with the idea of “New Year’s Resolutions” because quite honestly, I think they’re a load of crap.

However, I do think having the desire to constantly better yourself is more than reasonable. I think bettering ourselves is inspiring. I think it gives our lives purpose.

I hope this article serves to help point you in the right direction as you pursue improving your lives as we move in to the New Year.

I would love to compare strategies with you or answer any questions you may have!

If you enjoyed this article and would be interested to take an inside look at my “Stop making GOALS, Start making PLANS” strategies, consider subscribing to my monthly newsletter by filling out this form.


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