The Dark Side of New Year's Resolutions

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Have you ever noticed that we make the stupidest decisions at the end of the day. For example, that last cookie “swallow” you gave yourself before bed when you’re trying to lose weight or stay up all night watching YouTube videos, when you want to wake up early.

Researchers now know why we are doing this, and it is not your fault. It is the fault of the so-called willpower .

The famous willpower is like a muscle, and every time you have to make a decision, you use the strength of that muscle.

The more decisions you make about what to eat or not, what to wear or not to wear, to use a bicycle instead of the car, the more tired your muscle is and the weaker it begins to get and the less willpower you will have to make decisions about the things that really matter. .

This is crucial because researchers say that making more difficult decisions around the clock actually limits our ability to accomplish the things that will actually change your life, such as losing weight, reading more, learning a new habit, save, etc

We all have something we want to achieve in our lives – be in better shape, create a successful business, earn extra money, write a best seller , learn a language, finish a thesis or a degree and so on.

And for many of us, the path to those things begins with a specific and actionable goal (New Years resolution). At least, this is how you have been told to do it in your life, but year after year, that method does not work and yet every year we repeat the same ritual.

It really comes down to the differences between purposes and systems (the process you do on a daily basis). Let me explain the difference between goals and systems:

  • If you are a coach, the goal is to win a championship. Your system is what the team needs to do every day.
  • If you are a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the agenda you have to write something every week.
  • If you are a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. Your system is what you should run every day and how you should eat.
  • If you are an entrepreneur, your goal is to have a business that sells 1 million pesos. Your system is the daily sales and marketing process.

Now the question is: if you ignore your goal and focus on the system, will you still achieve the desired results?

For example, if you were a coach of a soccer team and you ignored the goal of winning the league championship and focused on only what the team has to do and practice each day, would you have results? Yes.

For example, I am an author and a business consultant too, I have a routine of writing articles, two a week, and I have done it for a year and a half.

At the end of that year I have articles to edit a book. I am not saying that the goal is not important, but that many of us make the mistake of only seeing the goal without focusing on the system that will lead us to meet the goal.

So this year, perhaps the most important thing is not the year’s resolutions that you made (your goals) but rather you should focus on creating the systems that will help you achieve that goal. The important thing is not the goal, it is the system.

1. Goals or purposes reduce your happiness

When you make your New Years resolutions, you are essentially saying, all the things that you have wanted to do and have not accomplished. That’s a frustrating feeling, that’s why we don’t like to set goals, because they are essentially the things that we don’t have and we recognize that “I’m not good enough, but I will be, when I achieve this purpose.”

The problem with this mindset is that you teach yourself to postpone happiness until the goal or purpose is achieved. “Once it is, what I do, what I have… then I will be happy. Once I have served my purpose then I will be successful. “

SOLUTION: Commit to the daily process, not the new year’s resolution or goal.

Choosing a goal puts a huge burden on your men. If I had had a goal to write a book this year, just starting to write the first few lines would have stressed me out so much and maybe I would have quit in a couple of months or weeks.

We do this to ourselves all the time. We put an unnecessary burden on ourselves to lose weight, succeed in business, finish college, thesis, or write a book. Instead you can keep things simple and reduce stress by focusing on the daily process, on what you have to do each day instead of looking at the big goal that will change your life.

When you focus on the day-to-day you enjoy the present moment more and improve at the same time.

2. New Years resolutions only work for the short term.

You may think that your New Year’s resolution will keep you motivated all year long, but that’s not true.

The important thing about learning a new habit is that, that it becomes a habit, it is better to learn the habit of running every day, than just having the goal of running a half marathon, maybe you will achieve it, but when you only focused on that, You run that marathon once in your life and the remaining days you never do it again, can I explain?

This happens many times, people set goals to lose weight, exercise more, learn English, and when they reduce a few sizes, go to the gym for a month, and learn a few sentences in English, they become unmotivated, why? This is something I call the ” yo-yo effect ,” focusing on purpose that only creates a cycle of guilt the day we did nothing, and momentary happiness when we make a small breakthrough and rarely have a long-term achievement.

“I need quick results, I have to lose weight, I have to learn English.” Realize there are regrets if you do not do it, you achieve minimal progress and you become demotivated because the great purpose that would change your life is not fulfilled. Therefore, you are unhappy .

SOLUTION: Leave the need to search for immediate results.

One day while I was in the gym training, I felt a little pain in my shoulder, it was not very painful, maybe just a sign of fatigue, but something to pay attention to. For a minute, I thought: “I have to do the last series, whatever it costs me, it’s my goal!”

Then I reminded myself that I plan to do this for the rest of my life, so I decided that it was best not to risk and seriously injure my shoulder, which would have led to not exercising for at least a couple of weeks.

In situations like the one I describe, a mentality based on the purposes and goals over the daily process, would have told me: “finish the series, it is the goal, because if you do not do it you will feel guilty, a failure, you will not achieve the goal that it will transform your life by looking good. “

But with a mindset focused on the daily process, I had no problem sticking with another exercise. Daily process- based thinking isn’t about hitting a certain number, but about committing to doing it every day and not missing a single workout.

Another example, several people ask me how to learn the habit of reading , many make a point of reading a book a month, when they have never read, or think that if the novel is attractive enough they will get hooked and will not be able to stop reading .

So if they can’t do it, it’s the fault of the author of the book who didn’t write it to “hook us.” False

The important thing about this is the process, as I already said, instead of focusing on the goal, focus on the daily process, read two pages daily and if one day you cannot read both pages for some reason, read one or a paragraph, The important thing is not the number, but that every day you read something, focus on that, and in the long run, you will have read a book, and most importantly: you will have acquired the habit of reading .

I know that if I don’t lose my daily workouts, in the long run I will be able to carry more weight and my muscles will resist more. This is why the daily process is more valuable than the New Year’s resolution itself.

Goals and purposes focus you on immediate results, processes on long-term results, and in the end the process wins.

3. Purposes or goals suggest that you can control things

Every time we set a purpose, we try to do it, we try to plan where and when we will achieve it. We try to predict how quickly we will make progress, even when we have no idea what circumstances or situations we will face throughout the new year.

SOLUTION: Review and measure what you do constantly

4. Use a maximum of 15 minutes a week to review processes and results

For example, for my business, my daily process tells me that I have to write articles, post something on social media, and every week I review and calculate the conversion rate (the percentage of visitors to our blog who did some specific action, how, subscribe, retweet, etc). And more than focusing on the number, I focus on seeing what things I am doing well and continue doing them and when something goes down in the numbers, I only correct in my daily process what has the best results.

Review and measure what we are doing daily, for example, if you are improving your eating habits and in two weeks there is no sensible progress, you may have to review what you are doing daily. Maybe you are missing a meal, not getting enough sleep, etc.

Reviewing in short periods helps you stay the course you want instead of trying to predict what will happen in 3 or 6 months.

Forget trying to predict the future, build your daily process and adjust it when there are unforeseen circumstances.

5. Fall in love with the daily processes system

I’m not saying that a New Years goal or resolution is useless. I have found that resolutions are good for planning your life and that daily processes are good for making them come true.

This year should be the year of the “day-by-day”, slow down a bit and be consistent, a methodical, but slow progress is more important than reaching a purpose that keeps you motivated for a few days but that in February you are no longer doing it.

Instead of making a New Year’s resolution, this year ask yourself:

  1. What do you have to do every day to create a process that makes that goal come true?
  2. What things do you have to give him more time in your day-by-day? What would your ideal day be like? Commit and focus on it.
  3. How do you want a day in your ideal life to be? Design how that day should be, and just repeat it daily.

Goals can provide direction and even give you a quick push, but eventually a well-designed daily process always wins. Having a daily process is more important and committing to the process is what makes the difference.

I teach this little change of mind, I have 29 more secrets that can make a difference this new year, if you want to learn them, enter here .

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