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The Ultimate New Year’s Resolution

The Ultimate New Year’s Resolution

Every year, over half of the U.S. population set New Year’s goals. Out of those millions of people, only about 8% actually succeed in hitting their goals. The rest either have a faulty goal setting system or weren’t really serious about accomplishing them in the first place.

So rather than waste time on a New Year’s resolution that you will have long abandoned by February 1st, maybe it’s time for a better strategy.

Back in 2015, here were the top 3 New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Lose Weight
  2. Get Organized
  3. Spend Less, Save More

All of these are great goals on paper. They each have something unique that can improve that person’s life. There is nothing wrong with setting goals to improve your life.

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The challenge is that most of these goals never get accomplished. It’s quite sad because most people have great intentions when setting their New Year’s resolutions.

You’ve been there: you set a resolution that you are really fired up about…for a couple weeks. Life gets in the way and before you know it, July comes and you laugh off the thought of setting that goal in the first place.

According to Timothy Pychyl, professor of psychology at Carleton University in Canada, the biggest issues with New Year’s resolutions are that they are a form of “cultural procrastination”. We wait to transform our lives only when the motivation of the New Year comes.

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The problem is that we aren’t actually ready to make the necessary changes in our lives. We don’t develop the right habits (or stop the bad ones) and therefore quickly burn out.

Just like those weekly fad diets: people are great two weeks in, but burn out by week 3.

It doesn’t matter how smart your goals are, it matters how intentional you are about changing your behavior.

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So in this new year, don’t set your typical New Year’s resolution. Decide to set a “being goal” to become the person that will hit that goal.

Let me explain what I mean:

Let’s take those top goals from before. Now, what if we changed those goals into who that person would need to become in order to hit that goal?

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Here are those resolutions – revamped:

  1. Lose WeightBecome a health nut
  2. Get OrganizedBecome a detail queen
  3. Spend Less, Save More – Become a frugillionaire

Just a simple re-wording massively changes the context of the goal and puts the focus back on the individual’s growth rather than external factors that can sometimes be out of our control. Now you are designing who you want to be rather than what you want to do.

The only way to become something different is to change what you do on a daily basis. True transformation begins in our daily routine. Yet, so many people continue to set lofty doing goals at the beginning of the year and fail to change their daily actions.

You see, it’s rarely about what you need to do, but rather who you need to become.

Transformations don’t happen overnight. They take an inner change before an outer change can occur. This is why setting “being goals” rather than “doing goals” increases your chances of achieving your New Year’s resolutions. Decide who you are going to become next year and you will achieve your doing goals along the way.

So while you set goals for the new year, rather than just think about the outcomes, think about how you are going to get there and how you are going to become that person that kicks ass in 2017…

Question: What is your “being goal” for this new year? Provide some examples so we can all learn from each other.

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Scott Bradley

Self-Leadership Coach and Creative Writer

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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