Why New Years Resolutions Don't Work!

by Charles Leon 7 months ago in goals

Inless you set an Outcome...

Why New Years Resolutions Don't Work!

AS FAR AS I KNOW, JUST SETTING A NEW YEAR RESOLUTION DOESN’T EVER WORK (FOR ME ANYWAY). EVEN WHEN I WAS AT SCHOOL, I WOULD PROMISE MYSELF TO STUDY HARDER OR BE BETTER BEHAVED, THEN OTHER, MORE FUN THINGS ENTERED MY LIFE AND I FORGOT MY PROMISE TO MYSELF.

I was reminded this week by Jim Edwards, a copywriter, that if I set a goal for this year, I probably won’t achieve it. That’s because if I just set a goal, I’d be setting the wrong thing.

What I really need to do is to set an OUTCOME!

The difference between Goals and Outcomes is very confusing, but it’s crucial if you want to make a change.

If I were to say, “I want to be able to compete in a Triathlon this year” or “I want to be a published author” those are outcomes because they are the result you produce.

However, if you were to say; “I will run 4 times per week and go to the gym 3 times” or “I will write 2 pages per day until I have a draft of my book”, these are goals because they are wrapped in one of the two things I can control in my life. Actions.

  • ATTITUDE – WHAT YOU THINK.
  • EFFORT – WHAT YOU DO.

There are only two things you can really control, everything else is beyond your direct control.

Whilst you may be able to influence people and things, you can only do that by what you think and by the actions you take, but you can’t have absolute control over them.

It’s only goals that we can control, the outcomes are is outside our full control. Taking specific action is your goal. It’s not the resulting outcome that effort or action leads to.

Jim Edwards breaks this process down into a 3-phase process to achieve what you want to achieve.

1. Write down one primary outcome.

Do not write out every possible outcome. Do not write out every possible outcome, but do focus on the major areas of your life; family, financial, spiritual, physical…

Write out the One big outcome in each area that has the possibility to carry with it many other benefits too.

Always phrase things in the positive, not the negative. Don’t say “I need to stop eating junk food”, say “I need to eat healthier food”.

“YOU BECOME WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT”

Earl Nightingale

Always phrase the outcome with the present tense; Don’t say “I want to become a writer”, say “I am a writer”. I think it’s very important to be in the present. Not aspirational (and possibly unachievable) and consigned to the future, but is active and in the moment.

2. Focus on the actions that will produce the Outcome.

When you focus on the actions that need to be taken to produce the outcome you begin to set a plan into motion. This may be a long list of things that need to be done in order to get to the outcome.

For instance:

  • I block out 2 hours per day to write.
  • I switch off any distractions.
  • I write 2 pages every day, no matter what (even if it’s rubbish).
  • I allocate 10 minutes to read what I have written the day before.
  • I do not edit anything for a first draft.

Or:

  • I will join the local Gym
  • I put on my running gear as soon as I get up in the morning (that way I know I’ll go running)
  • I track my progress with a running app
  • I follow a weekly training app (Nike by the way)
  • I get 7 hours of sleep
  • I exercise early in the morning (otherwise life gets in the way and procrastination sets in)

This is similarly outlined in Gary Keller’s book “The One Thing”. As he says, every day, when you look at your to-do list decide

“WHAT IS THE ONE THING I CAN DO SUCH THAT DOING IT EVERYTHING ELSE WILL BE EASIER OR UNNECESSARY”.

Focussing on the one most important thing I should do, now, is often the most difficult to do and to concentrate on. That’s why you need step 3.

3. Sequencing & scheduling.

The last thing you want is a list of hundreds of things you have to do and think about getting to them at some point later. What we have to do is to focus on the one thing we must do to get us closer to our desired outcome. The so-called “Big Domino” that knocks down as many other domino’s as possible.

I find that the best way to get a good start on this is to keep a journal or what used to be called a “daybook” (I am also trying a software called AYOA which incorporates calendar, mind maps and programmer). In it, I note what needs to be done today, This week and This month. I also keep a note (an idea stolen from Dean Graziosi) of stating what NOT to do.

In this way, I hope to build some momentum. Combined the idea of small gains in all areas, the Japanese concept of Kaizen which worked so well for the UK Sky Cycling Team, small consistent improvements or steps forward in the right direction, with the right actions and right sequencing, should get you closer to your desired outcome.

But the best piece of advice again (if only I could always implement it), is Gary Kellers’ quote:

“WHAT IS THE ONE THING I CAN DO SUCH THAT DOING IT EVERYTHING ELSE WILL BE EASIER OR UNNECESSARY”.

School is a long time ago, but many of my habits from that time have stayed with me for most of my life because they’re familiar and I’m used to thinking that way. We so often repeat the same patterns of behavior.

Charles Duhigg in his book “The Power of Habit” suggests also that having a structure and triggers to change the cue or the routine are the best way to change a habit. It does take time though.

He suggests that simple, often seemingly unrelated, small cues can start an avalanche of habit and routine change which cascades into other areas of life.

That’s why it’s very important to build in small wins and rewards along the way. So not only should you have a desired Outcome and Goals to achieve that outcome, but you must also have milestones along the way.

The first thing to do is to begin changing how you think, your Attitude to the problem/habit. The next thing is to implement the Effort, the Actions you need to take in order to get closer to the outcome. The third thing you need though is small gains along the way to reward yourself and encourage yourself to stick to the plan.

I wish someone had told me this when I was messing about at school! (mind you, fun is also important).

https://www.charlesleon.uk/blog/why-new-year-resolutions-dont-work-unless-you-do-this512020

goals
Charles Leon
Charles Leon
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