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5 Reasons Your New Years Resolution is Destined to Fail

5 Reasons Your New Years Resolution is Destined to Fail

It’s that time of the year again, and you’re scribbling down potential New Years resolutions on a cocktail napkin at your company’s holiday party.

You’re excited for the change: you can just see yourself in that bikini/car/house/condo in Fiji. What better time to finally hammer down on your goals than New Years?

It’s a definite and concrete point in time for change, and although you know the date is arbitrary, it just feels different—2012 will roll over to 2013, which might as well be a new decade as far as you’re concerned, and you’re going to party it up on December 31st so that you can have one last smoke or chocolate cake before the new you emerges on January 1st.

This all sounds great in theory, but unfortunately, it’s likely that you’ve already failed before you even began. Here are five reasons why your New Year’s resolution was destined to fail right from the start.

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1. You’re Not Emotionally Invested in Your Resolution

When you say that you want to do something but you don’t feel it down in your bones, then you’re setting yourself up for failure.To succeed, you need to want something so much that you’re willing to do almost anything to achieve it.

With all change, there comes a time when the going is going to get tough, and if you don’t have enough emotional intensity behind your resolution, your resolve will easily wear down. When that happens, it’s only a matter of time until your new resolution is but a distant memory.

2. You’re Not Willing To Raise Your Standards

Some people get up every day at 5AM and go running. Others exercise every day after work, and there are those who make it to the gym 3 or 4 times a week. All of these people have different standards for the dedication they give to their health and body.

The state of anything in your life is a direct reflection of the standards you hold yourself to: anyone can literally see your standards by looking at your body—whether you smoke, have ambition, work out, etc.

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If you want to quit smoking, then you have to hold your health at a higher standard. If you want to lose weight, you have to hold the appearance of your body at a higher standard, and you must hold to this standard with everything you have.

3. You’re Refuse To Burn Your Boats

If you decide that you want to stop smoking, but you keep ashtrays in your house (just in case), you’re not willing to burn your boats—your whole heart isn’t into the attempt, and you’re going to fail the first time your willpower is challenged. If you really want to resolve to do something, put yourself in a situation where you can’t go back at all, or at least not without great difficulty.

Burn your boats and believe that you’re going to find a way or make a way to stick to this.

4. You Don’t Have Strong Enough Reasons To Stick With Your Resolution

Internal motivations are always stronger than external motivations, and internal motivations that are backed by a strong emotional desire are always stronger than internal motivations backed by a weak emotional desire.

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Make sure that your reasons aren’t external, and that they align with your values and beliefs. Then, back those reasons with strong emotions to increase your chances of success. If doing so just isn’t possible, maybe this particular resolution isn’t what you truly want.

5. You’re Married To The Belief of Who You Are Now

Do you find yourself saying to people, “that’s just who I am” whenever you talk about a weakness of yours? Maybe you’ve always been “big-boned” or “temperamental” or “distracted”. You may wish to resolve to be more organized, but you believe that you’re a “naturally disorganized” person.

You can’t resolve to make a chance that goes against your beliefs about your “self”: those beliefs are limitations, and you haven’t believed in them since birth. You can either choose to believe something else, or choose to hold on to that belief. If you choose the latter, don’t try to make a resolution that contradicts it since you will inevitably fail.

Rethink Your Resolutions

Now, how resolute are you really? Take a look at your resolutions and find where your weak spots are—be honest and true to yourself.

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If you really want change, make sure you don’t fall into the trap of only wishing for something. It’s true that when you fail, you won’t be disappointed, but it also means that you’ll never make progress. Progress is growth and growth is life, so aim for some personal growth this year and make 2012 the best year yet.

Featured photo credit:  Fortune teller with her crystal ball via Shutterstock

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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

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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