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The Secret To Making Your Resolutions Work This Year

The Secret To Making Your Resolutions Work This Year

How’s your progress in achieving your resolutions so far? If you’re kind of stuck, here’s the secret to making your resolutions work.

The secret to making resolutions that actually work is also the secret to making a hit movie. So let me teach you how to make a hit movie.

At the start, our hero lives their ordinary life. We wouldn’t care to watch that for long, but fortunately all good stories push our hero through a door.

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    The door is something irreversible; once you walk through, you can never go back. For the Matrix, it’s Neo choosing the red pill. For Gravity, it’s having your shuttle sliced to ribbons. In Shawshank Redemption, an innocent man is sentenced to life.

    The door is where the story begins. It puts our hero on a path they cannot escape, and the tension compels us to watch.

    Near the end of the story, our hero must pass through a second door. Again, the door is one-way. But this door demands a resolution. To pass through it guarantees a conclusion, whatever that may be. Our hero must fight their nemesis to the death, or chase their love to the airport, or stand before disapproving parents and dance for their hopes and dreams.

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    door2

      It’s the formula of nearly every story ever told, because it works. Once you pass through a door, you can never go back.

      way

        Now let me tell you what isn’t a good movie.

        Our unhappy hero wakes up one late December morning and stares at the mirror. “Oh god” he sighs, at his portly reflection. “In the new year, I swear – I’m going to lose weight!”

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        And then he updates his Facebook status, buys a copy of Runners World, and goes to the gym three times. The End.

        fat

          If you want to make a resolution – a real resolution – you’re gonna have to walk through a door. The smart, resolute part of yourself might be in control now, but you know that’s not who will stop you. The lazy, stupid, reflexive part of yourself will be in control later, when the air is cold and you feel sort-of-ill-ish-I-think, and if you haven’t got something to drag that screaming brat out of bed you will fail.

          You do this already, by the way. School, for example, is a door you can’t well choose not to pass through, which is why you attended it so successfully. Your job works in the same way, as does marriage and children. Doors are irreversible and non-optional, and our society is predicated on them.

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          So you really want to start your own business? Try quitting your job; that’ll take care of motivation. Want to lose weight? Sign up for a marathon in 9 months in an exciting foreign country, and book the non-refundable flights now. Or if that’s more than you can handle, start a scheduled team activity where if someone misses out, it hurts the others. Guilt will carry you when willpower fails.

          Don’t jump on Facebook to announce your new resolution. It gives you a short term ego buzz now (“Look at me! I’m so awesome!”) but does zip to regulate your behaviour (few friends will remember your promise, or be so crude as to call you on it). By all means involve friends, but make your pressures real.

          Most of all, don’t make the mistake of thinking wishful words alone will get you there. Nearly everyone fails their new year’s resolutions, which should be about as surprising as learning that the words “avada kedavra” don’t actually kill people. Just saying words doesn’t make a thing happen. Walk through a door instead.

          Oliver Emberton is an entrepreneur, writer, programmer and artist who writes about life and how to make the most of it.

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          Anna Chui

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          Last Updated on August 16, 2018

          16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

          16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

          The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

          How about a unique spin on things?

          These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

          1. Empty your mind.

          It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

          Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

          Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

          Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

          How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

          2. Keep certain days clear.

          Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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          This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

          3. Prioritize your work.

          Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

          Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

          Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

          How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

          4. Chop up your time.

          Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

          5. Have a thinking position.

          Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

          What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

          6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

          To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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          Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

          7. Don’t try to do too much.

          OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

          8. Have a daily action plan.

          Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

          Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

          9. Do your most dreaded project first.

          Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

          10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

          The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

          11. Have a place devoted to work.

          If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

          But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

          Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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          Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

          12. Find your golden hour.

          You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

          Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

          Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

          Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

          13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

          It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

          By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

          Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

          14. Never stop.

          Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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          Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

          There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

          15. Be in tune with your body.

          Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

          16. Try different methods.

          Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

          It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

          Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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