These are all the New Year Resolutions that I failed to complete in the last 3 years.
- Learn Horse Riding
- Develop Morning Meditation Routine
- Learn Guitar
- Vagabond around Europe
- Learn One New Dance Style
- Join Mixed Martial Arts Training
- Learn Python Programming
You are no different from me. You have made many new year resolutions, from losing weight, joining gym, to quitting smoking. How successful were you?
Well, I can tell you that 90.8% of people fail to fulfil their New Year Resolutions. 31.6% don’t even go past first 2 weeks. That’s fucking staggering!
Now here’s the other side of the story.
In the same past 3 years, these are the New Year Resolutions that I was able to achieve:
- Backpack around 3 New Countries for 1-week each
- Become PADI Advanced Open Water Diver
- Read 24 Books in One Year
- Gain 12 Kg of Muscle Mass
- Learn Stock Trading with $10,000
- Finish Spartan Beast (21km with 35 obstacles)
- Start a Blog, and Reach 10,000 Readers
- Get Ripped for a Beach Photoshoot
How is it possible that in the same 3-year period (2015 to 2017), I had been able to fulfil some resolutions, and for others I didn’t even last a week?
More importantly, how can you make 2018 resolutions, such that you pretty much ensure that you are going to see them through and feel awesome about yourself when the year will be ending?
These were the top 10 New Year Resolutions for 2017, according to Statistic Brain.
|Rank||Top 10 New Years resolutions for 2017||Percent|
|1||Lose Weight / Healthier Eating||21.4%|
|2||Life / Self Improvements||12.3%|
|3||Better Financial Decisions||8.5%|
|5||Do more exciting things||6.3%|
|6||Spend More Time with Family / Close Friends||6.2%|
|7||Work out more often||5.5%|
|8||Learn something new on my own||5.3%|
|9||Do more good deeds for others||5.2%|
|10||Find the love of my life||4.3%|
At the end of the year, only 9.2% of people were able to achieve their New Year Resolutions. Were you among these 9.2%, or the other 90.8% who failed?
To learn to construct the resolutions better, I started by reading my journals for the last 3 years.
I wanted to find out if there is a pattern that I can identify that differentiates a Good New Year Resolution from a Bad New Year Resolution.
Firstly, I found out that it’s not the level of difficulty that matters.
To finish Spartan Beast with 21km and 35 obstacles in the mountains of Malaysia, I went through 6 months of training, clocking in hundreds of hours and over 500 miles of running.
In contrast, joining Mixed Martial Arts training studio would have been extremely easy for me, given that I’ve already done Muay Thai (kickboxing) and Kung Fu before.
But I was able to achieve Spartan Beast resolution, while I failed to achieve Mixed Martial Arts resolution after going to training studio for just 1 class.
Secondly, most articles on New Year Resolutions suggest that people fail because they try to do too much too quickly.
I found out that although I was making 5-6 New Year Resolutions every year, I placed them apart throughout the year to be focusing on just 1 or 2 at one point in time.
Also, I was rightly treating New Year Resolution as a Marathon and not a Sprint.
For instance, I didn’t think that I will start the blog in 2017 and reach 10,000 readers the same month. I gave myself 6 months to slowly climb up the scale.
And when getting the Advanced Open Water Diver Certification, I didn’t even act on it until 3rd quarter of 2015.
On analysing the successes and failures of New Year Resolutions for the past 3 years, I found that there is in fact a pattern that makes a Good Resolution different from a Bad Resolution.
That single game-changer pattern is Specificity of New Year Resolutions.
Good New Year Resolutions are quantifiable, measurable, and have a clear success point.
When you make Good New Year Resolutions, you wire your mind to plan your schedule around it, measure your performance on periodic basis, and visualise exactly how it looks to achieve it.
In contrast, a generic new year resolution is not materialised in mind.
If you can’t see it, you can’t achieve it.
For example, one of the Bad New Year Resolutions I made was to learn Python. Why was it bad?
It’s because I hadn’t defined what learning Python meant for me. Was it making a small criss-cross game using Python, or was it about being able to land a $5000 client who wanted my freelance services in Python?
Another Bad New Year Resolution I made was to learn guitar. What did it even mean? Did it mean that I should be able to make a song cover and put it on YouTube in 3 months, or did it mean that I should be able to perform guitar on stage in a band?
Let’s see another New Year Resolution I failed to take action on: Vagabond around Europe. I had neither specified for how many months I wanted to do it, nor which countries or when exactly in the year I should do it.
In contrast, when I made a Good New Year Resolution to backpack around 3 new countries, I also specified that I should travel for a week every 4 months. Doing so made it clear in my mind that I’ve to work around these schedules. I also booked tickets 2 months in advance for each trip.
This pattern was visible in other Good New Year Resolutions as well.
- Read 24 Books in one year, instead of ‘Read Books’
- Finish Spartan Beast, instead of ’Run Regularly’
- Become Advanced Open Water Diver, instead of ‘Do Scuba Diving’
- Gain 12 Kg of Muscle Mass, instead of ‘Bulk Up’
How can you construct your Good New Year Resolutions for 2018?
Chances are that the Top 10 New Year Resolutions of 2018 will be the same as 2017’s. After all, nothing much has changed in the world… apart from cryptocurrency going ballistic.
So I am going to reword the Top 10 New Year Resolutions for you.
If yours is among these, I hope you can benefit from it. If yours is different from it, then just make sure you make them quantifiable, measurable, and define a success point.
Bad Resolution: Lose weight
Good Resolution: Lose 20 Kg in 6 months. If I have a bad day or a bad week, that doesn’t matter, I will get back on course tomorrow. I can fuck up dozens of time, still be able to achieve 20 Kg Fat Loss in 6 months if I return on course from next day.
Here’s my article on Superfast Fat Loss with meal plans and pitfalls explained.
Bad Resolution: Life / Self improvement
Good Resolution: Read 12 Books on Self-Improvement in 2018, averaging 1 book a month.
Bad Resolution: Make better financial decisions
Good Resolution: Read 3 best-sellers on Financial decision-making in the next 3 months / Set aside $XX,000 to experiment with stocks, cryptos, or real estate, with no expectation of monetary return, but to optimise learning.
Bad Resolution: Quit smoking
Good Resolution: Reduce smoking to only after-meal or under high-stress situation. If I have one bad day in which I end up smoking 2 packs, that will not affect my next day’s decisions. I will measure reduction in my smoking habit every 30 days, and should be able to completely quit it in 6 months.
Bad Resolution: Do more exciting things
Good Resolution: Complete 8-Day Skydiving course in summers / Do XYZ activity for 1-week in summers / Start my blog or YouTube channel and get 10,000 followers in 6 months
Bad Resolution: Spend more time with family or friends
Good Resolution: Plan 2 family or friends trips in advance for the year, one in June and second in December 2018. Decide on locations and book tickets for upcoming one / Schedule bi-weekly movie night with family
Bad Resolution: Workout more often
Good Resolution: Hit gym 3 days a week for 45 minutes each. Measure results and analyse progress every 30 days.
Do not buy gym membership for a year, unless you’ve been a regular for 3 months. Only 18% of people who buy gym memberships actually end up going consistently.
Bad Resolution: Learn something new on my own
Good Resolution: Learn guitar from YouTube videos by practicing 20 minutes everyday. Become good enough to perform at a house party in 30 days.
Bad Resolution: Do more good deeds for others
Good Resolution: Start a Kindness Journal and record 1 new selfless act in it every month.
Bad Resolution: Find the love of my life
Good Resolution: Ladies, call me!
Actual Good Resolution: Join mixed group social activity where similar interests people hang-out, such as weekend dance class, ultimate frisbee, hikers meet-up, or whatever is your interest.
The probability of finding ‘love of your life’ is more through shared experiences, than swiping right or left on apps.
And with that, I wish you all the best for the year ahead. I hope you make 2018 a hell of a year!
Have an awesome New Year, and keep experimenting! 😀