New Year’s resolutions. It’s that time of the year again – one of the few times in the year we feel determined to make a real change in our lives. We plan, we commit and we swear that we will lose weight, learn a new language, and get out of debt. We are going to get that promotion, and we will elevate our business by 20%. Maybe we will start our own business, and even find love. We feel great and ready to roll.
But here is the problem – New Year’s resolutions don’t work. On January 1st, we put on running shoes, hit the gym and buy that $200 Rosetta Stone program. By February, most of us are already slipping or have given up. A few months later, these resolutions become nothing but painful and rejectable reminders of how lazy and disappointing we are.
There are a lot of psychological reasons why New Year’s resolutions aren’t the best way to motivate us for real life change. But instead of going into psychology, I want to propose a solution based on the Rejection Proof way.
1. Instead of setting goals, set actions – one of the biggest takeaways from 100 Days of Rejection is the need to focus actions instead of results. Results such as getting a YES or achieving certain goals are tricky and sometimes downright frustrating, because they don’t depend on factors that we can fully control. For example, no matter how charming and convincing we are, some people will reject us for their own reasons. Similarly, no matter how hard we try, we might not be able to get the promotion or lose the weight, because competition and genetics will also play a role in those outcomes.
Actions, on the other hand, are entirely controllable. And if we focus on doing actions, it will most likely lead to the results we desire. For example, if I let myself just focus on making the request, I would give myself a chance to get a YES. If I make five of these requests, my odds of getting a YES increase five fold, and maybe I can even get more than one YES. Similarly, if my resolution is set to take an average of 10,000 steps a day, or to memorize five Spanish phrases a day, the odds will be in my favor that I will lose the weight and became much better at Spanish.
2. Set resolutions for shorter periods – when I quit my job to start a new business two years ago, one of the smartest things I did was to give myself a six months runway, instead of proclaiming myself as an entrepreneur with no term limit. When I started my rejection journey, I did it for 100 days instead of forever. Because forever, or even one year, is a very long time and could be psychologically taxing on people. It’s hard to run for 5 miles three times a week for a whole year. It feels like there is no end in sight.
Shorter periods, on the other hand, are much more doable and rewarding. For example, running 5 miles three times a week for three months is much more doable. And once you are done, you can celebrate and move on. But more than likely you will have developed the habit and keep going, because on average, it takes about 66 days to develop a new habit.
3. Focus on fewer actions, preferably just one – two of my favorite books, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, and The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results both advocate the powerful idea that less is more. In fact, being able to focus on very few actions for a set amount of time can deliver amazing results.
So, instead of going all out with listing multiple end-goals in health, business, relationship and intellectual self-improvement, we should focus on one or two controllable actions within finite periods.
As for my own goals in 2015, I want to successfully launch my beta product – Rejection Gym, publish my book and make it as impactful as possible, and get into the best shape of my life. However, I know it would be meaningless to set these goals as my New Year’s resolutions, because of the three issues I’ve mentioned above.
So I’ve devised my 2015 New Year’s resolutions the Rejection Proof way, and I want to share them with you:
April – June
Business: Travel across the US and make 50 stops on the Rejection Tour in conjunction with the publication of my book
July – September
Personal: Go through an entire round of P90X3
Business: Launch Rejection Gym for Business