New Year’s Resolutions – Don’t Make One


It’s that time of year.  An arbitrary number of days have passed, and we flip our calenders to read xxxx+1.  Many people frame the new year as a “fresh start” providing a spark of temporary motivation to improve some aspect of their life.

“…Lose weight

…Drink less

…Read more

…Spend time with friends and family”

Resolutions are for losers.  People feel lazy after laying on the couch and binge eating over the holidays, so they kick off 2013 with a fleeting desire to shed a few pounds.

Resolutions Are Not Goals

Do you think…

  • Wayne Gretzky made a new year’s resolution to get good at hockey?
  • MLK Jr. resolved to fight for equal rights one December evening?
  • Michelangelo said, “I wanna try painting this year.”

These guys ate, slept and breathed their passion every day of their lives.

New year’s Resolutions aren’t as effective as goals because they are never backed with:

  1. a detailed plan of attack
  2. a real desire for the result

real desire: make sacrifices and exert effort even when you really don’t want to (if a few inches of snow prevents your from getting to the gym, you don’t have a real desire)

A resolution is a blind wish for a result.  On the other hand, setting detailed goals and tracking your progress allows you to accomplish your desires rather than just hope they come true.

Successful people don’t fall assbackwards into success, contrary to the jealous opinions of most haters.  Success has a recipe that includes a vision, setting detailed goals and pursuing those goals with tireless intensity.


Resolution:  This year I’m going to lose weight.

Goal:  Lose 30 pounds of fat in six months.  I will average a 500 calorie per day deficit, follow X training program, complete two cardio sessions per week and allow myself one cheat meal every weekend.

Your Best Year Yet

I left my corporate job on July 12th, 2012 with no real plan of attack.  I floated pretty aimlessly for many weeks.  I struggled to bridge the gap between personal values and daily action.  I knew what was important to me, but my values felt so vast that every action I took seemed meaningless.

It is similar to training.  Hitting that last rep with perfect form isn’t going to yield a visible change through one occurrence.  But hitting it every single set of every session over the course of many months is going to be the difference between average and champion.

My Dad gave me the book Your Best Year Yet.  You can buy a used copy for $0.02 + shipping from Amazon.

I completed the book from my parent’s basement in Minneapolis on September 1st.  On September 5th I was living in downtown Vancouver playing poker professionally.  The book doesn’t require much reading – mostly just answering questions about yourself.  It requires ~5-6 hours of focus.

Your Best Year Yet forces the reader to put it all on paper: previous accomplishments and failures, personal values, limitations and roles.  You end up with a long list of specific goals which you narrow down to a manageable amount.

I have always been a fan of motivational, productivity inducing, self-helpy type literature.  But this was hands down the best method for aligning core beliefs with daily action.  It changed my life.

Rather than stamp “resolution” on some vague result, make a specific goal with a specific plan.

Last Point: Do It Today

If you really want something, start immediately.

Don’t wait until January 1st or any other arbitrary date or time.  I don’t want you joining all the failures who are about to have a New Year’s Flop.  People are about to empty their wallets on a one year gym membership only to become “too busy to workout” by mid-January.

I found this piece of gold from a Wall Street guy:

“..Anyone can go into the gym after New Years running on a higher level of dopamine and adrenaline to “make a change this year”… Why weren’t you in the gym New Years Eve? Why weren’t you in the gym on your birthday? Why weren’t you at the gym on Saint Patricks Day? Those are the days that matter. It sounds cheesy and lame, but real success is built when no one is looking. If you take a break when everyone else is taking a break… be prepared to end up just like everyone else.  Average.

Don’t be average.

What was your resolution last year?  You made one, but you don’t remember it.  That’s because you had no intention of accomplishing it.  No one reflects on their resolution at year-end.  Resolutions are for dreamers not doers.  Don’t make one.

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