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How to make new year's resolutions that work 🎉
Step one: cut down your goals
It is that time of the year. End of year is near, resolutions get written down.
Same with creating a daily to-do list—if you write too many, there's a high chance you won't complete every item on the list.
So, how do you make new year's resolutions that work? Here are some ways for creating better resolutions:
Scrape off other goals
When there are many goals on the list, you essentially go back and forth between them. Your goals are competing for your time and attention, and this in turn pulls you out of focus. This concept is called “goal competition.”
So what do you need to do? Prioritize.
Warren Buffet, one of the most successful investors of all time, has a 25-5 rule for exactly this. First, write 25 things you want to accomplish next year. Then, review the list and circle the top 5 goals. Discard the rest—put them in a box, and don’t give them any attention until you’ve succeeded with the top 5.
Create SMART goals
Once you’ve narrowed down your resolutions into 5 top goals, define them with the SMART criteria:
The SMART framework is good because it specifies your goal. The more specific your goal, the easier for you to make it happen. For example, “read more books next year” is too vague. How much is “more”, exactly?
A specific goal would be, “I want to read 40 books by 31 December.” It has criteria to measure how much you’ve attained, and most importantly, the deadline you need to fulfill.
Write down your goals
You might have heard that writing down your goals brings you a step closer to making them a reality. It is common knowledge that you remember things better when you write them down, and the same applies to your goals. Cliché, but it does work.
Neuroscientists noted that people who vividly describe their goals in written form are 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to accomplish them, compared to people who don’t. When you write things down, visualizing them, it initiates your imaginative right hemisphere and the logic-based left hemisphere. Combined together, this allows you to clearly imagine the action plan towards your goal.
To put it simply, writing down our goals gives a clearer sight of what we want to achieve. It even gives you a quick boost of motivation for good measure!
Stack your goals
This idea is taken from James Clear’s habit stacking. When it comes down to it, achieving goals are built on habits. We’ve discussed that being specific is the key to attaining your goals, so let’s create a specific habit plan for that. Here’s the formula:
“After/Before [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].”
Say your goal is to read 40 books by 31 December next year. Your habit stacking can be something like, “After I take a shower in the morning, I will read ten pages of this book.”
If your goal is to be accepted as an intern in your dream company, it may sound like, “After lunch, I will work on my portfolio.”
The idea is to set a plan for where, when, and how you will perform a behavior in pursuit of your goal. It creates a new habit by linking it to your old ones. This way, you’re more likely to stick to the new habit.
New year’s resolutions are great, but you know what is greater? Making them happen. We hope these four methods help you get closer to your new year's resolutions!
This will be our last newsletter in 2021. Thank you for sticking with us all this time; we really appreciate it. See you next week (year?), and have a happy holiday! 👋