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What’s Wrong With Your New Year’s Resolution

What’s Wrong With Your New Year’s Resolution

Hitting the gym is by far the most popular New Year’s resolution out there. Everybody wants to get fit, and we all want to make sure that our friends know about our goals. That is, until gym visits become less and less frequent, and that New Year’s resolution turns into a New Year’s flop.

Instead of setting a vague, boring resolution about going to the gym more often, why not set a specific goal? Aim to do something that is either gonna happen or not happen, with no half-hearted middle ground. Here’s everything you need to know about setting a clear, achievable New Year’s resolution, and going through with it all the way.

Be Specific

Here’s a bad New Year’s resolution: I’m going to be better about my health. It’s bad for a few reasons, but it’s worst offense is vagueness. Vague resolutions have no clear terms or ending conditions. Going through with them isn’t very satisfying because you can never quite tell when you’re finished, and when you’ve achieved your goals.

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Unclear goals aren’t as good for you either. In the example above, doing better about your health could mean any number of things, and none of them are necessarily big changes. It could just mean that I’ll eat less candy which, while good for me, isn’t that big of a change in my lifestyle. I could do a lot better just by aiming to achieve a more specific goal, like finishing a triathlon by the end of the year.

Find a resolution that interests you and has a clear finish. Something like I’m going to finish an Ironman race this year has an unmistakable ending. You’ll have satisfied your goal when you complete that Ironman.

Aim High

Lofty goals like the Ironman will be great for you whether you achieve them or not. Just training for a triathlon will be a lot better for you than eating less candy, even if you don’t end up getting to the finish.

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Aiming high doesn’t have to mean picking some seemingly unattainable goal, and the challenges that your resolutions give you don’t always have to be centered around hard workouts and stressful diets. Whether your resolution is to go big with a Coast to Coast Walk, or hit a moderate goal like hiking in Torrey Pines, picking something that challenges and betters you is what matters.

Find the right resolution that will challenge you in areas that you want to improve, and set unmistakable goal posts to track your progress.

Prove It

New Year’s resolutions are most well-known for how often people fail at them. Setting up a means of proving your success, both to yourself and others, makes you stand out and keeps you honest. Something like a personal vlog is a great way to keep yourself accountable and celebrate your success, or learn from your failures, with others. By vlogging weekly about your progress, you leave a record that you can use to go back and see how far you’ve come. You will also build an audience that you don’t want to disappoint and that sense of responsibility can help motivate you when the going gets tough.

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Who knows, you might even become the next Youtube star. Internet sensations have certainly erupted around less noble causes.

Plan Ahead

New Year’s resolutions are made at the very start of the year, usually in the dead of winter. For most people, though, this is one of the worst times to make progress on a New Year’s resolution, especially a dynamic one that involves more than just hitting the gym. It’s going to be hard to train for that triathlon in sub-zero temperatures.

By using your time wisely you can take care of some essential prep work without boring yourself to death on a treadmill. For example, if you’ve never done a triathlon before, you probably don’t know what kind of wetsuit you’ll need for the swimming portion. The perfect time to research this kind of stuff is when you’re stuck at home, so you don’t find yourself unequipped the day before the race.

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Making commitments now can also help you incentivize yourself to put in the work when the weather improves. If you’ve done a lot of prep in the winter, you won’t want to let that work go to waste when springs rolls around.

New Year’s resolutions are famous for not getting done. But, now you know everything that you need to do to make sure that your New Year’s goal doesn’t become another New Year’s flop.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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