Lots of people will be making New Year’s resolutions. Researchers looked at success rates of peoples’ resolutions: The first two weeks, usually go along beautifully, but by February people are backsliding. And by the following December most people are back where they started and most often even further behind. Why can’t they keep their resolutions? Fifty percent of the population makes resolutions each New Year. Among the top resolutions are weight loss, exercise, stopping smoking, stopping drinking, better money management and debt reduction.
People make resolutions as a way of motivating themselves. People have “false hope syndrome,” which means their resolution is significantly unrealistic and out of alignment with their internal view of themselves. When you make positive affirmations about yourself that you do not really believe, the positive affirmations will not work, and they can be damaging to your self-worth.
You may think that if you lose weight, or reduce your debts, or exercise more, your entire life will change, and when it does not, you may get discouraged and then you revert to old behaviours. Making resolutions involve changing behaviours, and to change a behaviour, you must change your thinking or rewire your brain. Change needs, creating new neural pathways from new thinking.
New Year’s resolution does not deal with the facts, they deal with absolutes and as a result, they have more chances of failure than succeeding. When you fail it affects your self-confidence and this can transmute to other areas of your life. Your ambiguous goal set you up for failure. Your expectations are unrealistic. It is easy to give up when you set goals that cannot be achieved. These goals do not deal with all the facts. They are not open enough to cover areas that matters. They deal mostly with your weakness.
It is a waste of time to wait until the first of January to make any change that will improve the quality of my life. I cannot pause my life and wait all year for one day before I start living again. If I realise I need to commit to something new, and if it is important enough to truly resolve to do it, then it would be silly for me to wait until the turn of the new year. I am going to commit to it now because it is important. There is no perfect time of waiting. I refuse to procrastinate. I act now.
It is a waste of time to resolve to do something just because it is January. If it is not well thought out, aligned with my purpose, and strategically in line with everything else I am trying to accomplish, then I am just going through the motions of a New Year’s resolution because it’s January. My life is a continuous process of self-improvement.
Do not waste your time with resolutions this new year. If you are going to succeed this year, there are three truths that you need to learn before you move on to anything else:
• We are creatures of habit.
• We are products of our environment.
• We are the average of the people we associate most with.
To accomplish things this year, you need to build systems that deliver success. Systems take willpower out of the picture and set you up for success by routine. Systems do not rely on motivation, willpower, or inspiration to operate once they’re set up. They are emotion-free. System enables you to build habits. We are creatures of habit.
The things you are trying hard to change are a result of habits. Habits are hard to break because they are conditioned behaviours. We do them without thinking. But we can develop positive momentum by linking our goals to a current habit or passion. Habits are the brain’s own internal productivity drivers. Constantly striving for more efficiency, the brain quickly transforms as many tasks and behaviours as possible into habits so that we can do them without thinking, thus freeing up more brainpower to tackle new challenges. In general, this modus operandi of our minds leads to incredible benefits.
The first rule of habit-changing is, you must play by the rules. First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this loop is worth remembering for the future. If you want to get rid of a bad habit, you must find out how to implement a healthier routine to yield the same reward. You must find the cue, understand the routine and what rewards triggers the cue.
You do not want to feel like a failure throughout the year because you did not fulfil the obligations you set out in your New Year’s resolution. You need to be optimistic about every day in your life. Start taking pride of the opportunities life gives to you daily. My New Year’s resolution is the fact that, I do not have one. Yes! You heard me right. I do not need one and I do not make one because I have created a system in my life. On New Year’s Day, I can look at the system, analyse the system and improve the system. It really does not mean I must be traditional to do this every New Year. It can be done anytime of the year.
Everyone has many goals, but its commitment to a system that makes the difference. Systems are the foundations of deep and great work. System gives you the freedom to do your best work every day without making the same mistakes repeatedly. Cultivating the right system can make all the difference in your productive life. Using systems can make your life easier. A system provides you with an inner guidance and equips you with the power of habit. When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time.
• If you are a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.
• If you are a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. Your system is your training schedule for the month.
• If you are an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a million-pound business. Your system is your sales and marketing process.
You are never going to be truly successful until you have a working system that guides your actions and helps you achieve your goals. A system makes your goal realistic. It is concrete. It gets you moving. It helps you focus on long-term gains, instead of short-term wins. When you commit to a system, you are far more likely to stick to it. Systems are about the long-term process rather than short-term results. A structure in your life and some routines that help you every day and keep you on the right track is better than a single shot at getting something done. Instead of wasting your energy on resolution, spend the time to create a system.