Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

January 08th, 2013 - 104 Comments

New Year’s resolutions are kind of like a drunk uncle. You know you shouldn’t take him too seriously…but you can’t help but laugh and play along when he comes around once a year.

It’s become popular for people to make fun of New Year’s resolutions (they never work!) in an almost gleeful way (why don’t these fake January people get out of my gym??) but few people understand WHY these resolutions don’t work.

Here, take a look.

I asked some of my students how they felt after claiming they were going to do something…and then NOT doing it.

But what about people who DO follow through? I asked some of my successful Dream Job graduates to share how they felt after taking action and learning how to take control of their own behavior. Watch what they said:


Some of these Dream Job graduates got new jobs that paid paid $10,000 – $50,000 more than their old job. From the outside, that effectively seems like magic (“How did they do that? There’s no way I could ever do that”).

But notice how when you hear how they ACTUALLY did it, there are no magical secrets. It’s an “iterative process, as Chris, one of the DJ graduates, says in the video. “The interview is the easy part,” another student says. These top performers have a very different perspective than the average person, who says “I want to get in shape this year.”

The successful students follow a proven system, so it’s no surprise when they get dramatic results.

Which brings me to your New Year’s resolutions.

Why New Year’s resolutions fail

Consider this insight I discovered during the research of one of my courses: In an interesting quirk of human behavior, we would rather continue doing something that doesn’t work rather than try something new that COULD work — but also could fail.

That sounds insane, but think about these examples… First, think back to your resolutions from last January. Did you follow through? Do you even remember what they were? Yet how many of us were tempted to make more resolutions this year?

3 more examples:

SAVING ON POINTLESS EXPENDITURES: This is why you see people constantly trying to cut back on lattes or other pointless savings goals…and when it fails, they resolve to “try harder” next time. Codewords: “I did all the right things…and look how it turned out.”

WORKING OUT INCORRECTLY: This is also why you see people who’ve been working out for years but don’t really show any visible changes. It’s scary for them to to admit that perhaps they’ve been working out wrong for years — and that while it makes them feel “good,” they are not getting the results they want. Codewords: “I’m not the kind of person who can lose that kind of weight” or “Lift weights? I’m a girl. I don’t want to get huge!”

SENDING OUT 100+ RESUMES: We have people who send out 100 resumes, then complain about the economy. They never understand that there’s an entire game being played around them, and top performers are snatching the best jobs away before average candidates ever see them. Codewords: “The Baby Boomers and immigrants stole my jobs…I guess I just need to send out another 50 resumes and wait and see.”

So yes, we want to change, but don’t know HOW to do it. So we do what’s easy, and what the media tells us to do: Make a New Year’s resolution!

Here’s why New Year’s resolutions fail:

  • They’re unspecific. We say “I want to get healthy this year” but when faced with the birthday parties in March, the overtime in June, and the family vacation in August, that goal falls by the wayside.
  • They’re unrealistic. “I want to go the gym 5x/week.” Really? You averaged twice a month last year. Setting unrealistic, highly aspirational goals is a quick way to guilt and failure.
  • They’re based on willpower, not systems. We say, “I want to walk more” instead of parking our car 10 minutes away. We say, “I want to stop messing around and go to sleep earlier” instead of testing different ways of falling asleep (like leaving our laptop in the other room, unplugging our TV, quietly covering our partner’s face with a pillow, etc). Hey, it’s a test.

But here’s the most haunting part of all…. Failing at our resolutions has implications…we start to distrust ourselves. If you’ve set the same resolutions for 5 years, and you never follow through, what makes you think you’ll be different this year?

And yet every year, we set yet another one (because that’s all we know), saying things like, “Ok, this year I’m going to buckle down” and “I’m gonna get serious about ____ this time,” but as we say it, in the back of our heads we KNOW we’re not actually going to do it.

Having a goal isn’t enough. We need a plan and a system.

Let me show you the difference between GOOD and BAD plans:

I asked some students to share their goals for the week:

These seem like good goals, but they are actually terrible.

Then I gave them some feedback, and they got much better after that.

 

You can see how being specific, being realistic, and using systems can help you actually achieve your goals.

If you want to improve your health or find a job that pays you 25% more, hope and willpower aren’t going to cut it. Just like they didn’t cut it last year. Or the year before.

You need a system. Let’s practice building that today.

TO DO TODAY:

I want to focus on what you’re going to do THIS WEEK — by Friday. In the comments below, share your plan and BE SPECIFIC. I will hold you accountable.

P.S. I’ve also included a “Time Clinic” below, which over 25,000+ people have used to save hours every week. Imagine: What would you do with an extra hour a day?

Enter your email address to get it — and I’ll send you an email to check in on you this week.

Save an hour a day — Sign up FREE to get my exclusive Time Management Clinic

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104 Comments

 

Comments

  1. Agreed, Ramit. It’s about S.M.A.R.T. goals, like you’ve explained. This little acronym makes sense.

    Specific
    Measurable
    Attainable
    Relevant
    Time-bound

    Having someone to be accountable to can also make a huge difference, which is something your bro has written about recently too.

  2. well for me it never worked out. i was going to create something related to that but nahh then i thought lets just fix some things and get along with them

  3. “…quietly covering our partner’s face with a pillow”

    lawls, I’m totally trying this tonight Ramit! :D

    As for “what you’re going to do THIS WEEK — by Friday”?
    Thursday: Work for 11 straight hours then go home and sleep.
    Friday: Work for 11 straight hours then go home and sleep.

    On the plus side I’ve had all this week off so far and been quite productive. I do have a rather specific question for you though.

    How do you “be specific” or set specific goals for a general task that you may not know how to complete? For example, if your goal is to “Invent a Hoverboard” what would you schedule to accomplish that goal?

    The only thing I can come up with is to schedule specific “brain storming” sessions, turn everything else off and focus solely on that… what do you think?

    Thanks,
    MM

    • [For example, if your goal is to “Invent a Hoverboard” what would you schedule to accomplish that goal?]

      1. Schedule time to research. Research flight, the physics of flight, vertical takeoff and landing, other people who have attempted to invent hovercraft.

      2. Take notes. Especially keep an eye out for questions which could spur future research.

      3. Find a shop or a hackerspace where you can put things together. Or a tech club. Research people and resources in the area. Reach out to them. Tour hackerspaces or invite local tinkerers out for coffee to discuss your ideas.

      4. Research people like professors who are interested in this kind of engineering. It’s not true of all professors, but a lot are overjoyed to talk to people about their areas of interest, and will often give you more time than you ask for if you have a good basic knowledge ans ask intelligent questions. (Schedule time to write out specific questions you have, along with your hypotheses. Show them you’ve done the work in understanding this.)

      5. Schedule time for experimentation — constructing, testing, conducting postmortems. If you’ve built up a team, schedule times for, yes, brainstorming — with specific questions to springboard from. What worked? What didn’t? Why didn’t it?

      Those are a few ideas. :)

    • Inventing a hoverboard is probably a multi-year (decade?) task – but this week you could:

      Wednesday
      - Spend 2 hours casually researching hovercrafting online. “How to make a hovercraft?”, “Problems creating hovercrafts”, “Hovercraft engineers”
      - Purchase a model helicopter (to be assembled next week)

      Thursday
      - Find 5 scientific journals covering the latest in hovercraft tech (maybe aerospace journals)
      - Find 1 recent article and read the abstract.

      Friday
      - Read the rest of that article (could take all day) and write down questions.

  4. May be its because we dont want to change the status quo. The only reason we want to change is because everyone is having a new year resolution ie, herd mentality. and this type of ‘herd mentality motivation’ dies out soon.

  5. Finishing reviewing all 10 of the departments’ scheduling plans sent to me. Provide feedback to each one.

    • What does “reviewing” mean? By when? What kind of feedback? How long is the feedback going to be?

      This is too vague so far…try rewriting.

  6. By the end of Friday, I plan to (at minimum): Walk 4 miles at 2.6 mph (1.5 miles Wed, Thurs, and Fri at 2.6 mph) and do 4 arm exercises 8 times (Wed and Fri) with 5 lb weights. As built-in rewards, if weather permits (safe footing), I will do the walking outdoors or, if I must walk on a treadmill, I will read while walking (non-fiction books from a stack of “improve my knowledge base” books).

    I spent most of last year injured or ill, confined to bed, to the point that I was literally unable to exercise. I set a goal on January 1st this year:
    –To be able to walk 1.5 miles at 3.0 mph and lift 5 pounds for 10 reps each of 4 different exercises that use all arm muscle groups. I wanted to achieve this goal by January 31st.
    –If I reach my goal, I will have similar exercises, at a higher walking speed, and with 8 lb weights for arm exercises, in the month of February, and so forth, until I return to my pre-injury, pre-illness level of fitness (which will take about 12 months total, if I don’t hit any snags).

    I track my efforts daily in a log which includes:
    –the distance I walk
    –the speed at which I walk
    –walking intensity (degree of slope in the day’s chosen walking path)
    –weight lifted (done on an every other day basis)
    –number of reps of each of the 4 arm exercises
    –any additional activities that involve walking or arm exercise.

    So far, I’m on track, and have read 4 books from my stack.

  7. My original three goals for this week were to:
    1. Design some options of business cards for a client
    2. Design a first round of a site for a client
    3. Finish branding homework 48 hrs before it’s due

    Revised goals:
    1. Today: Spend 7-9pm drafting 3 business card designs for a client. Send at 9pm.

    2. Today: Sketch out design ideas for site project from 6-6:30pm
    Tomorrow: Design mockups from 7-9pm
    Saturday: Make revisions and send out initial designs by 5pm

    3. Today: Look over notes and write up initial thoughts from 5:30-6pm
    Tomorrow: Write first draft of homework from 5:30-6:30pm
    Saturday: Review, edit, re-write the document from 5-7pm

    • Hi Nadia, just a tip from another designer here :)
      In your 1st goal, I suggest you to send the designs a little later, so you could review them a while after designing and improve some details or fixing any errors or so. You could send at 11pm.

      What you think?

      Good luck with your goals :)

    • @Camilo, SOLID TIP. Thanks, man :)

  8. Task 1 – I prep equipment and solutions for five different chemistry and physics labs for a local college. To ensure I don’t miss any deadlines I will complete my master calendar for the semester by Friday. This calendar includes the date, time, and experiment being performed for each lab. Next I will determine the date and time each lab will be set up and mark that on the calendar.
    Task 2 – I will go through the labs for each class and determine what equipment is needed to run them. The I’ll compile a complete list of the equipment and chemicals needed, check the stockroom to see what we have, and order whatever we’re missing.
    Task 3 – I have three students working for me this semester. I’m going to meet with them individually and put together a work schedule for each that fits in their class schedule.

  9. Work on the plot outline for my novel using the Hero’s journey from Christopher Vogler’s book from 8-9 pm today and tomorrow to finish by 9 p.m. Friday.
    By 2 p.m. today, I will look at the schedule for a local fiction authors group’s meetups and register for the next meeting that fits in my schedule. Hmm… I’ll just do that one right now.

  10. By 4pm today, I will type up the notes from my meeting with our engineer. By 12pm tomorrow I will have turned those notes into a feasibility study with 1) rough timeline, 2) issues, 3) scenarios.

  11. Goal: By Friday, finish the script & pre-visual for the Best Practices Video on “Improving the Quality of your Webcam Presentations.”

    -Today, 5pm –> Outline each tip that will be presented in the video.

    -Thursday, 12pm –> Expand tips into segments & add cues for relevant visual elements

    Thursday, 5pm –> Organize & fine tune segments into a V/o script w/ accompanying visual cues. Send to supervisor.

    Friday, 12pm –> Apply supervisor’s corrections. Develop another action for continuing the production of this project.

  12. 1-Meet with department head at work to discuss what I can do to become involved in their area of the business. This will be the first contact about this topic.
    2-Settle on a time and place for first meeting for my new Girl Scout troop.
    3-Watch and complete 4 more lectures and quizes for online course.

    • What are you going to discuss? How are you going to prepare for the meeting? When is that happening? Get even more specific please.

  13. I have an idea for an iPhone app and want to start working in its screens it by next Monday. To do this I need to have defined what items each screen will have. I already have some sketches and need to refine them end know how much different screens the app will have.

    TODAY: finish the sketches of all pages (1-2 hours this night)
    TOMORROW: review all sketches and functions (removing some features and maybe adding new ones)
    FRIDAY: refine the sketches and get everything ready for opening Photoshop on next Monday

    • I love how you’re doing this ahead of time. Good job.

    • I don’t know the steps in your review process, but may I suggest you include some potential users as part of your review? I used to design software and the best designs included direct customer input.

    • Hi Susan, you’re right.
      To be honest I didn’t thought about testing users in this step (even knowing that is a important thing to do).
      I will include this.

      Thank you for caring and commenting :)

    • Wow, and the best thing is that I actually DID what I planned.

      Not exactly in the schedule above, but by Sunday morning it was done. I got some feedback with my friends this week (as Susan suggested) and they gave me some ideas I might add to prototype tomorrow. And by next monday I can open Photoshop.
      Ok, I’m a week late, but since as I had this idea last April, just this one more week don’t seem so bad. Am I wrong?

  14. I want to spend more time writing this year. Today I made a quick google form for tracking how much time I spend writing and made it accessible from my phone.

    No New Year’s resolutions. New Systems This Year.

  15. I want to focus on what you’re going to do THIS WEEK — by Friday. In the comments below, share your plan and BE SPECIFIC. I will hold you accountable.

    I’ve been meaning to find a better job; one in my field, and one that pays me what I deserve. To that end, I have three goals:
    A small reorganization of my website, that will allow me to best present appropriate projects
    Contacting professionals at local companies to talk to them about what they look for in new hires at bottom level (I have no field experience, I understand I’ll have to start at entry-level). Consider coffee meetings, lunch, and just email.
    Creating new portfolio pieces geared solely at such a position.

    To break that down into 3 specific goals:

    Today: Add category on website, delete most others. No one hires generalists.
    Use a specific company locator website to find local businesses in my field and run through their online rosters. Pick out 2-3 names per company to contact via LinkedIn.
    Sketch out (Yes, I’m an artist! Not that sketching doesn’t benefit non-artists.) 24 ideas that could be used in this new, highly specific portfolio.
    I’ll be celebrating a friend’s birthday today, so workday may end as late as 2-3AM.

    Thursday: Final check on website to make sure it’s prepared for the new work.
    Write up 3 draft letters for InMail, and ask professional writer friend for critique. Tailor letters appropriately for each company. Tailor further per person. Let letters sit overnight. Settle on 8 pieces that can be taken to completion, refine drawings for 2 of them. Workday ends between 10-12PM.

    Friday: Take another look at letter drafts. Make final changes. Send out by 12PM so that whether over lunch, after work, or over the weekend, if these professionals check their LinkedIn, they will see them. Build both objects in Maya, finalize 2 new drawings, and have texture files setup for painting in Photoshop. Workday will end at 7PM.

    These goals seem realistic, but also slightly out of my reach. Setting them and prioritizing them will allow me to estimate how long competing this sort of work takes me, compare it to professionals, and see where my weaknesses lie so I can improve them.

  16. Is it sensible to get specific about sub-tasks of a bigger project?

    For instance, I have a video demo to make, and this is how I planned my day around it :

    2pm-4pm: Refine video script – the draft is already in place
    4pm-6pm: Finish screen recoding & voice
    6pm-9pm: Finish editing (music, text prompts, transition effects)

  17. Each morning during breakfast, I will spend 20 minutes commenting and interacting on my favorite blogs, including The blogs of Tim ferris, Chris guillebeau, and this blog. This comment counts.

  18. “I want to focus on what you’re going to do THIS WEEK — by Friday. In the comments below, share your plan and BE SPECIFIC. I will hold you accountable.”

    –I will walk the treadmill at the gym for at least 30 minutes 3x this week. (extremely doable cause I can stop in on my lunch hour from work, *if* I don’t go after work)
    – I will review the goals I jotted down for 2013 and create time based goals. i.e. I want to edit my novel for publishing = I will spend 1 hr per week working on said novel.
    Along with this, I will create index cards to remind me of these times that I can use as positive reinforcement once the task is done. Also, once per weekend, every weekend, I will review above goals and the week ahead and place potential times for said activities in my calendar.
    – Because I am sure *someone* will jump on me for this … I am not getting super specific on actual times BECAUSE I, for some reason I have not yet figured out, will intentionally rebel against any defined-in-stone plan just for the sake of defying it. If I say I will spend 630 to 730 Monday night working on my novel, I will see that in my calendar and crochet instead just to be defiant. I’m thinking the more flexible index card thing might help. It’s all about testing systems, RIGHT?!? :)

  19. I am currently working on my personal statement for graduate school (and boy, do I have a lot of invisible scripts around it. Serious anxiety about potentially not making it in is making me procrastinate writing it, which is actually hurting me more than just working on it.)

    My goal for Friday is to have a draft I feel pretty good about ready so that then I can bring it to the Writing Lab and have a few people review it. I know that’s hard to measure, but I want it to be 100% completed and more specific than it currently is.

    Today: Spend about 2 hours working on the personal statement before 5 pm. Reread the draft I wrote yesterday. Analyze — what do I like? What needs improvement? Did I miss any important parts? Take notes.

    Pick a few more important moments to expand on and reduce the other extra items.

    Tomorrow: Spend an hour at a time today. Focus on the conclusion and introduction. What is my selling point? What do I want to communicate to this graduate school?

    Friday: Reread the entire statement. Make final edits. If it needs massive changes, continue work through weekend. Otherwise, make an appointment at the Writing Lab to review it.

  20. I will finish writing my results section for my dissertation by this Friday.

  21. I’m going to eat healthy for the rest of the week and finally create a system and test it to eat healthy rather than just saying I am going to do it and hoping it will work without much planning.

    -I will plan out every single one of my meals for Thursday and Friday by writing them each down by 4 pm today.
    -I will then create my shopping list from this list of meals by 5 pm today.
    -I will go to the grocery store tonight and buy the things on my list.
    -I will then make sure to prepare my breakfast and lunch the evening before and dinner when I get home from work.

  22. I am doing some volunteer PR for an upcoming event. I have already sent out the press release to everyone on my list and it’s been received and published by all except for 3 places out of 7. I followed up today with those 3 and one has already contacted me and posted it on their website. I will follow-up with the other two by Friday if I don’t hear from them. I’ve also contacted my list to get some additional press for the event and have gotten responses from all but 4 on that front. On Monday I will call those 4 on the phone. In the meantime, there is one of the contacts who will be doing a story in a few weeks. The event is in February. I’m trying to get back into the game after staying at home with my children so opted to volunteer for this PR gig to get my sea legs again and to make some contacts even if it’s just for references.

  23. I’m a freelancer and social media specialist with a project for a fashion client.
    Due 12pm Thursday: 2 pitches to a new client.
    Goal for EOD Friday: adapt the notes from tomorrows meeting and the two pitches into a contract. (I want this client signed by the 15th).

    Last Thursday I had a meeting with the head of a fashion PR company, I had researched the PR company and came prepared with two project ideas and a statement about my background. She accepted my ideas and offered me a third project. The next meeting is with the woman I’ve met and the companies other partner to go into details.

    Last Saturday I wrote the first pitch, for the project they propsed, and sent it to the partners for review on Monday. I’m finishing the second pitch for them today, for review tomorrow. Tomorrows meeting could involve some negotiations so I’ve emailed an inside contact at the company to get an idea of their range. He has gotten back to me with acceptable numbers. I also want to move forward on event based work for the PR companies clients. I plan to remind them of my background in casting and production and to speak about how I can help make their upcoming NYFW events happen on social media as well “on the runway”. I have 4 spefic ideas to discuss, which I feel fit with in the PR companies marketing strategy.

    • I like the thoroughness of how you’ve gone about cracking your client – has given me a bit of direction for my own biz – thanks for sharing :-)

  24. New Years resolution to move every day!!

  25. Hey Ramit. I’ve been trying to lose 20 pounds for a while now. I love reading and did so much on the subject of fat loss and nutrition that eventually everything started sounding the same (because it relatively is beyond a point). All this sitting to read while implementing nothing was a severe case of fuckarounditis. In another dumbass move, I shelled out big bucks on a gym membership and and jumped face forward into a dung pile of taking on too much at a time. When my beach body didn’t turn up soon enough, I was back to reading and the whole vicious cycle.

    My Eureka moment was to STOP, take a breather and realize I have a problem with HABIT formation. I needed to form habits SO here is what i did – signed up for the Precision Nutrition program which runs for a whole year. I got on their prelist, secured a coveted spot (there are a limited number and sell out within 24 hours) and committed. Why? Because they’re about HABIT formation primarily. Its gradual, related to what I want & works around what I’ve identified as my own personal flaw.

    • I wanted to add that another reason I chose this program because as they market, its about what you should DO. You leave everything to them and just DO. Their approach is a lot like yours, based on data points and aimed at Lean Eating and fat loss linked to behaviour as yours is linked to the same instead of Finance. In the little while since I’ve signed up, their professionalism is already showing through as their first video to insider members addresses not fat loss but elements such as congratulations for joining, not to feel overwhelmed, that we’re probably feeling skepticism and lack of trust despite signing as to whether the program can deliver etc and they encourage embracing of all these feelings and to just leave it to them to earn this over the course of the year.

      I am excited already :) So that’s my system for the year :)

    • I LOVE Precision Nutrition, they completely transformed me! Congrats on taking that step. Trust your coach, and believe in the plan!

    • Thanks Jesse!

      I do believe I’m going to love them too based on everything that prompted me to choose them! They drove a lot of Ramit’s take on multiple things such as – they know more than I ever will on this subject so it eliminates all the reading (JB trains olympic athletes and has a PhD on the subject), they have live case studies they’ve tested the program on so they know what works and doesn’t, they’ve done studies from nutrition & fitness to habit formation, their website has over half a million subscribers who have addressed multiple issues so everything is pretty much in one place – a system as they advertise where all you need is to just DO and I’m looking forward to the ‘automation’. :)

  26. By Friday at midnight:

    Today- begin 1st drafts of copy for website under headings we decided on (5) and include three bullet points of most important message. Send draft to cohorts.

    Get footage transferred at studio onto usb drive for new reel

    weights day- 90 swings

    video shoot for promo 5-6- have list of most important shots to get for promo materials. Take photographer out for beers after since I can’t pay him.

    Thursday- train new skills for 30 minutes: hang, hip circles, tombe, back circles.

    edit copy with feedback from group.

    gather 2 image options for each heading

    Friday- weights day 90 swings

    finalize copy and corresponding images with cohorts at meeting.

  27. 1 – Today, before 10:00, sit down at my desk and, in a notebook, go over what I need to do to complete this short story I’m working on. Specific focus: criteria for success (what do I want the story to communicate? What themes do I need to illustrate?) and formal structure (What specific events happen in the story? What is the logical flow from beginning to end? Where do I choose to begin the story? Where do I choose to end it?)

    2 – Every day, before 10:00, at my desk: write the story. Aim to get at least 500 words / 2-3 scenes completed, using the plan in my notebook as a reference. Ask: what does this scene need to accomplish, and how can I get it there?

    Goal for EOD Friday: Story complete, in draft. (Meaning, can be read from beginning to end, although it hasn’t been revised.) By making this the goal, I can focus on completion, not quality. Quality is the focus of revision. Making the goal of the writing process be quality as well as completion is often discouraging — letting the perfect become the enemy of the good. Completing it is something like the 80% solution: just getting the thing done is 80% better than dithering over every bit until it’s just right, and ending up never finishing at all.

  28. Talking a year traveling on the road(Thanks to you,Ramit) has made diet management, training and general exercising routines a major issue(insert barrier here)
    After the Information I gained in Brain Trust. This weeks goals focused on incorporating new routines into daily cues.
    For example: Going to bathroom to Urinate(cue): exercise routine. (Ranging in reps and resistance using body weight squats/push ups/burpees, etc); Reward-replacement fluid 250-500mls; and feel “the burn!”
    Doing this is public get’s the odd look ;-)

    Friday: Will count total number of successful cue responses and modify until 100 percent compliance for 1 month.

  29. Goal 1: Set a deadline for completing the final draft of this book I’m being underpaid for writing so I no longer have to think about it by Friday at 5

    By today at 3, contact the rest of the people I need to interview (again) to try to schedule interviews. Spend an hour from 3-4 finally making edits based on feedback from the first draft. If I don’t finish, that’s fine, but I will spend the entire hour doing it, no interruptions. At 4:15, spend 30 minutes typing up the last interview I conducted.
    Thursday from 1-2:30 rewrite/reread all the bios. At 3, write down on paper any further steps I need to take to complete the project and actually schedule when I’m going to do it.
    By 5 p.m. on Friday send an email to my boss updating her on my progress and telling her when to expect the final draft.

    Goal 2: Apply for jobs three jobs by Thursday at noon

    At 7 p.m. tonight, call three different friends to ask for help with my resume and cover letters. At 8 p.m., sit down and go through the advice I’ve received and outline with a pen and paper what changes I need to make.
    By Thursday morning at 9, write down on paper three jobs that I’m most interested in of the ones I’ve identified in my search. Tailor resumes and cover letters for these jobs and send them out by noon. Avoid the urge to compulsively check my email for replies and distract myself while performing steps to complete goal #1.
    At 6 p.m. on Friday, call a friend to ask him for more information about the job opening at his office (I just set an alarm on my phone to do this).

  30. One thing I’ve been working on this week is the general “getting in shape” thing, but that includes food choices as well as working out (building strength, those 50lb feed bags don’t move themselves!). So, I looked at things that I let block me before and things that did work in past efforts. This is what I’ve cobbled together from the past wins and fails:

    - Tim Ferriss (slow carb?) food rules including PAGG
    - Run
    - Lift

    Instead of aspiring to hit the gym and pavement a lot, I settled on once a week each (not much, but I KNOW from past experience that results happen from this minimal work). Once a week for each does not scare my “Elephant” and allows my “Rider” to have something concrete.

    I have to get up early whether I’m exercising or not, but I’m not too quick that soon so I’ve started prepping a lot of stuff the night before. For instance I have my tea pot ready to go for my coffee water, my lunch ready to go in from the fridge to my bag, my protein shake mostly assembled (just needs ice and to blend) and my PAGG pills for the week in a dish (I chose a fancy saucer to make things more fun). All this stuff ready to be assembled makes the barrier to actually making them, taking them much lower than doing everything from scratch when I get up. So far this week, this tactic has helped me take my PAGG, get a good protein breakfast, and bring a compliant lunch to work.
    WIN
    I did not run on Monday like I planned b/c I made excuses. So, instead of just getting down on my self I moved it to Tuesday. Went to bed wearing my tights so I’d wake up half dressed for running (and not be so cold). It worked!
    WIN
    Tonight is gym night. I plan to take my clothes with me to the farm so that I can go lift before going back home. So…should be a WIN. Also, I got a call from my gym and it turns out I have a few Private Trainer sessions left from a year ago. So, that will come in handy.

  31. My specific goals for the week/year are:
    1. Get up when the alarm first sounds and go walk 1 mile. (I’ve been doing this since November, off and on. Now, it must be every day. No snoozing, No excuses.)
    2. Go to the gym and do a lift heavy things routine on Tuesday and Friday nights (pushups, squats, pull ups, overhead press, and plank.) (I did go Tuesday, and I have been doing this off and on. Now, there are no more excuses.)
    3. Buy 1 bag of lettuce every week and finish eating it by the end of the week.
    4. Finish the next chapter in the novel (it’s actually a short story, about 6000 words. I have 2500 words finished. Normally I write 2-3, 3000 word chapters per week.)

    • Hey Leah, great goals!

      May I suggest you change the “bag of lettuce” to “bag of baby spinach”? Spinach is much more dense in helpful micronutrients and is only very slightly higher in calories. Plus I think it’s easier to cook and make salads with, and it tastes way better, haha.

  32. By 5:30 TODAY: Actually make changes to a spreadsheet I reviewed 2 months ago. The changes are all penciled in on the hard copy, I just need to update the file but keep putting it off.
    Tonight: Get in bed before midnight.
    Tomorrow: Get into work before 10:30 AM for god’s sake. To do this I will try putting my alarm clock on the far side of the room so I can’t just hit snooze and go back to sleep (again and again).
    Friday: If putting the alarm clock across the room did not work on Thursday, then do that again but set the shrill oven timer for 15 minutes when I get up to turn off my normal alarm. Surely walking to the kitchen will keep me from getting back in bed and sleeping more. :P

    • Boom! Finished the stupid spreadsheet already with time to spare. It seems like a pretty small win, but it already feels like a big motivational win for me.

  33. My goal for the week is to finish two templates I’ve been working on in Adobe After Effects, one a lower-third graphic and the other an over the shoulder.

    By Wednesday (today) at midnight, I will finish preparing the L3rd and ready the pre-render (approx 5 minutes). Fix the bug on the OTS and find at least 5 of the pictures to be used in the various pre-renders.

    By Thursday at midnight, have the remainder of the pictures chosen. Prepare the bulk of the template for pre-rendering and finish it.

    By Friday at midnight, have all of the pictures placed and render all of the final graphics so that they are ready for use.

  34. Goal:
    6 short (300-500 word) articles for my online client.
    TONIGHT: Spend 2 hours or less brainstorming topics identified by searching MSN & google hot topics and cross referencing them with my client’s blog topic.
    Tomorrow: Come up with 4 bullet points each and locate 1-2 websites or YouTube videos related to each for the resource section.
    Friday: Spend 3 hours writing each article.

    I learned to write fast in nursing school.

  35. Great point on specificity. I think it’s particularly helpful for certain kinds of resolutions.
    I’ve always had one of 2 kinds of resolutions. One, where I’m trying to do something regularly, e.g. run more often and the two, where I’m trying to complete some kind of major project, e.g write a travel book. Your points on being really specific (with time bounds) are spot on for the 2nd kind of resolution, but honestly for the 1st I think it’s really about taking the thinking out of the process by scheduling it as much as you can. You can schedule a daily run with someone, or weekly workout around the neighborhood with your personal trainer basically whatever it is you would be able to do. I think that’s an obvious example, but I think you can do this even with things that seem like more nebulous goals, e.g eating healthier. You could have someone come by on Sundays and make whatever 4 recipes you’ve picked for the week and freeze it so it’s available. I think specificity is important, but it’s almost just as important to use specificity to find ways to avoid having to think about to-dos on a weekly basis because when you add this to projects (which do require weekly plans) and work and everything else, it all gets to be overwhelming. Scheduling and taking the planning out of at least half my resolutions has really helped me end the year feeling like I’ve met so many more!

  36. By the end of the week, i want to spend two hours reading new material for my career, apply to two more jobs and work out twice. This is untill friday night.

  37. I need to finalise my goals for 2013 by Friday.

    Today: Write down goals and overall focus, and revise ideas later tonight
    Thursday: Create systems and habits for each goal
    Friday: Finalise systems and habits

    P.S. Ramit, please don’t torture me.

  38. I write my goals in the past tense – I read somewhere it helps you actually do them!
    So…
    By the end of next week, finished and sent out 2 proposals for new work.

  39. My three goals this week are:
    - create 5 new textile prints (finished two already)
    - score one new project (done and have possible second project!)
    - pay my 4th quarter estimated taxes (already calculated everything. just need to write the check)

    Today: design two textile prints
    Thursday: design last textile print and email to my print rep, meet with client about new project
    Friday: move money into checking account and pay federal and state taxes online, follow up on possible second project via email

    Obviously I set the bar low on my goals if I’m almost there! So, next week I will go for a bigger goal… I added on outsourcing figuring out how to do the 1099 process for my subcontractor to my accountant brother. SCORE! One less thing to obsess about. :)

  40. Need to revitalize barrier sales. Initial goal: sell 1 barrier by end of week.
    1. Wed, Thurs, Fri 4-4:30 check GoogleAd results and tweak bids, keywords
    2. Thurs, Fri 9:30-10:30 and 2-3 Cold call, ID appropriate contact, call this individual, followup by emailing (from template) product info to those interested.
    3. When order is placed, if standard ship within 1 week / if custom ship within 3 weeks.

  41. By Friday, I will:

    1. Create a list of at least 50 physicians within a 15 mile radius of my office specializing in pain management.
    2. Find 8 solid studies on myofascial trigger points in relation to fibromyalgia, chronic myofascial pain syndrome and/or reflex sympathetic dystrophy on PubMed, MedLine and/or Cochrane.
    3. Find 5 solid studies on the use of hypnosis for management of chronic pain syndromes (as above, or related).
    4. Write a hypnosis pre-talk script and self hypnosis script and record these as mp3s for distribution to aforementioned pain physicians.

  42. Tonight:
    7:30 Spend 1 hour preparing outlines (to three levels) for four of the remaining chapters of my book. That’s 15 minutes per chapter. I already know what I want to write, it’s all in my head, just need to get it out and order it.
    8:45 Spend 2 hours writing one chapter per hour, working to the outline. Write what I can in the hour and move on to the next one, keep the momentum so I don’t get stuck.
    8:30 and 9:45 Intersperse the hours with 15 minute yoga or crazy dancing breaks.
    11:00pm sleep!

    Tomorrow
    5:15 Get home from work, make pot of tea
    5:30 Spend 2 hours writing one chapter per hour, working to the outline. Write what I can in the hour and move on to the next one, keep the momentum so I don’t get stuck.
    6:30 Intersperse the hours with 15 minute yoga or crazy dancing breaks.
    7:45 head out to see some live music, relax!!

    Tanks Ramit, I feel better now I have a concrete plan.

  43. Goal this week: Finish unpacking (I moved to a new location on Dec. 21st and many things slowed me down, including the flu, 2 snowstorms and 2 trips to former town 3 hours away to finalize things).

    This may be a tad too detailed. I just got really motivated as I went along.

    This evening (6-7:30 pm)- Clear office desk so that it’s easy for tech guy to from work set up my home office. Unpack and organize boxes if time permits
    Thursday 6:30 am – 8:30 am Get up, drink lemon water, go for a walk outside or do exercise inside if the weather is too cold; breakfast, get dressed and have my morning me time.
    Thursday – 8:30 am -9:30 am – unpack non-office boxes in another room while tech guy does his work and be available if he needs info or has questions
    Thursday 9:45-noon – Make sure office is fully functional for Monday
    Thursday 12:00-1:00 – lunch
    Thursday 1:00 pm -3:00 pm – unpack remainder of boxes from bedroom and find a place for everything.
    Thursday 3:00 pm -3:30 pm – Got for a walk.
    Thursday 3:30 pm -5:00 pm – if bedroom is not done, continue. If done, tackle bookshelve and decoration boxes.
    Thursday 5:00 pm -8:00 pm – Supper, getting clothes and things ready for Friday (veggies and other ingredients for my lunch tomorrow.
    Thursday 8:00 pm -9:00 pm- shut everything off; qigong, relaxing before bed at 9 pm

    Friday
    6:00 am – 9:00 am get up, drink lemon water, go for a walk outside or do exercise inside if the weather is too cold; breakfast, get dressed and have my morning me time.
    Friday -9:00 am – 10:30 – Tackle bathroom-laundry room and make sure everything is unpacked and where it should be
    Friday 10:30-10:45 am – Spirulina smoothie break. Got outside to see the sun.
    Friday 10:45-12:00 Finish laundry room if not complete. If done, organize my personal desk (as opposed to office desk); start cooking lunch at 11 am (throw everything in the pot and check it once in a while)
    Friday 12:00-1:00 – lunch
    Friday 1:00 pm -3:00 pm – Do a walk around and see if everything is done. Complete anything I might have missed.
    Friday 3:00 pm -3:30 pm – Got for a walk.
    Friday 3:30 pm -5:00 pm – If not done, finish. If done, bake snacks for first week of work at new location.
    Friday 5:00 pm -8:00 pm – Supper. Relax. Call friends. Enjoy life, it’s Friday after all.
    Friday 8:00 pm -9:00 pm- shut everything off; qigong, relaxing before bed at 9 pm

  44. My “New Year’s Resolution” is to call my friends and family more often. I have a requirement of making calls to at least 1 person per week and having at least a 10 minute catch-up. If they don’t pick up, leave a message. I’ve already realized that I have plenty of these 10 minute windows – while walking/driving back from work or while cooking for example.

    If I haven’t made any calls by Friday evening, I make one call Saturday afternoon as I walk back from volunteering and one on Sunday morning between 11am and noon.

    Thus far, I’ve made calls prior to Friday, so no issues. We’ll see as this year goes on. I’m always open to feedback on my system though!

  45. My medium term goal is earning a 3.5 in this semester’s course: Environmental Economics & Policy. This week is the first week of class. Here’s the plan through the end of the week.

    Yesterday: Created deadlines for each assignment within each week of class to prevent a rush to finish everything on Saturday night and Sunday. Read first 2 of 4 chapters due this week. Wrote first of 2 original discussion posts needed by Sun.

    Today (Wed): Read last 2 of 4 chapters due. Do online homework for Chs. 1-4

    Thursday: Read 2 remaining discussion articles. Write 2nd discussion post and look for posts to comment on. Write at least 1 of the 3 response posts needed.

    Friday: Check original posts and write at least 1 of 3 responses needed for a total of 2 of 3.

    (Bonus-Saturday: Write final response post for 3 of 3. Finished this week’s work the day before the end of week deadline!)

    I find that by breaking a course into segments and breaking a large assignment (2 posts and 3 responses in a week) into smaller segments, everything is accounted for and I only have a short amount of work to do per day. This makes me more likely to work on it for 3-5 days in a row. I used this system last semester and achieved my target grade in 1 of my 2 classes. I’m still waiting to take the final in the other class – a family emergency caused me to miss the final. I actually love breaking up work like this b/c when I’m at work (radio watch standing for the CG at night in the middle of winter) and nothing is going on, I’ll log onto our class website looking for things to do. By breaking the schedule up I usually have something I can do, and I can work ahead if I want to, which gives me some free days later in the week I can use to tackle an extra cleaning project or just relax and read or play games for a couple hours.

  46. By Thursday at 2:00pm finalize my spring course schedule including double checking I am a candidate for graduation in May.

    By Friday at noon identify and research five companies with offices in the New York City region I am interested in as potential employers post-graduation.

    By Friday at 9:00pm create rough drafts of cover letters for each company and identify potential connections at each company to invite for coffee or contact for informational interviews (about one half hour per company or 2:30 min total).

  47. I wrote out three things at the coffee shop on Monday that I wanted to get done for my side business (I do youth soccer training)

    Email 5 current clients about re-signing up for winter training

    Email 5 leads from my leads folder

    Set the actual schedule so that if they’re interested in training they know when and where the sessions will be held, and I can just email them the sign up link and get it going.

  48. This week my primary goal is to gather information about refinancing.

    -Contact loan officer and see what options we have available
    -Review info and discuss with family
    -Determine best choice and contact loan officer (if needed)

    Baby steps, we’ll see what transpires afterwards.

  49. This afternoon from 3:30 to 4:30:
    CLEARLY and EXACTLY define my offerings into something I feel truly good about all around, what I truly want to be doing and what will be extremely effective for my clients. Three categories: coaching, painting, website building. Build out the packages based on the results I’m bringing.

    4:30 to 5:00:
    Price the packages and give them sexy names and clear benefits.

    5:00 to 5:30:
    Begin creating Numbers Doc template similar to my old sales spreadsheet, based on percentages all adding up to target income for this month.

    7:30 to 8:30:
    Finish doc and plug in target numbers for this month.

  50. I believe I’m going to need it because my most important new years resolutions fails

  51. Hey Ramit,
    Wow, that’s ALOT of detail. I thought my current plan to get through all the units of my fitness course was pretty good.
    Daily Schedule:
    After waking up, go outside & do some form of exercise. Then shower, eat breakfast. Then sit down and do 1 course unit. Then move on to whatever else I had planned for the day. This has been working really well for me this past week, I wonder if you think it would be improved by adding times to it? I think it will once my schedule fills up again, but for now it’s the getting it done that counts!

  52. I will complete the new and urgent task that my supervisor just put me in charge of.

  53. Ramit, I have been debating on hiring a career coach. Just like a personal trainer, I need someone to keep me accountable for my time spent on the job hunt and for results. You have inspired me to finally take action.
    Tonight: I will research contact information for 4 potential coaches.
    Tomorrow: Call all of them at my lunch break. – Follow up with email to all that I did not reach via phone.
    Friday: Decide who to work with and start holding myself accountable for small victories for finding a new job.
    Ramit, are you taking new students into your Dream Job courses?

  54. By Friday I will have:
    - drafted my first article on CSR to give to my career coach on Monday. Thurs pm: complete research. Friday am: bullet point out points of view. Friday pm: first draft. Friday evening: review of first draft

  55. I will call PA CLE and check on my status by end of Friday business.

  56. Find experienced friends and acquaintances to speak about the fields I’m looking at (digital online marketing, e-commerce). Tailor my resume and cover letter to the top three I’m most interested in. Apply.

  57. Thursday (Today)
    A. Increase my knowledge about making a website
    1. download Adobe Muse (finished)
    2. 1-2pm Watch tutorials online
    3. 2-2.30 Research website to find layout examples
    4. 2.30-4 Spend time inside the program starting basics of website

    B. Working towards my goal of 4 books a month, 50 in 2013
    5. 7-7.30 Research 3 books to read the month of January
    6. 7.30-22 Reach current book

    Friday
    A. Increase my knowledge about making a website
    1. 12-1pm Watch more tutorials on Muse
    2. 1-2pm Work in the program following instructions from tutorial

  58. I always think it’s funny when women worry about “getting big” with weights. The bodybuilders that come to mind for them literally dedicate their entire lives to sculpting the perfect body, eating an incredibly specific diet and unfortunately sometimes taking “performance enhancement” drugs. That being said, for those who are natural, the idea that the Average Jane could bulk up that easily with her little 10 lb dumbbells is flat out insulting.

    I work out on a regular basis because I like feeling strong, and frankly, because it makes me look hot. Despite the media’s best efforts my favorite type of body is not stick-like, but toned and voluptuous. As a naturally petite person, the only way I can get a big butt (I like ‘em and I cannot lie), sexy abs and more curves is by lifting HEAVY weights on the regular. That’s easy for me because I can see the changes and it feels good the more I do it.

    Bit of a rant, but just wanted to say that sometimes simply doing the thing you don’t feel like doing yields its own rewards. It also makes exercising a lot more fun on my slow days when my hubby comes along, so try and get a partner to be there with you and keep you accountable if you’re having a rough time getting started.

  59. I made a vague resolution to do one green smoothie or juice a day. Spaced it the first week- no time.

    So: Every night, for 10 minutes, assemble ingredients in blender and place in refridgerator. In morning, add water and blend and drink.
    I am doing this.

  60. So by friday, which is tomorrow, I will have finished to prepare my power point presentation. Today I will: reorganise my ideas and find the exact words I want to use and write them down. Tomorrow I will repeat them out loud and practise at least 3 times while timing myself.

    If I had an extra hour per day I would: Listen to german videos to improve my understanding of german.

  61. I am starting a new job next week in the same field. My immediate goals are wrapped around the training I will receive next week which includes learning the computer programs, the products available along with the overlays, and how each is priced.

  62. I have to study for my exam next week, so I will set aside one hour for each text that I have to study up on. That includes reading it and taking notes. At the end of the day, I will evaluate my notes for an hour.

  63. I will have completed one month’s worth of newsletters for GrowWeedEasy.com’s weekly newsletter by the end of day Saturday.

    That means:
    -2 Articles are already completely written
    -Finish writing last 2 articles today (I already have the topics and main points outlined)
    -After that I will have 4 complete articles
    -Insert all articles into my newsletter email software by end of day Friday
    -Send myself a test of all the newsletters Friday before I sign off for the day
    -Thoroughly read through all newsletters by end of day Saturday and schedule them to go out

  64. Hi Ramit,

    The person sending 100 resumes and wondering why i never got the call back is me. I have been aimlessly drifting in my job making grand excuses as things like ” I don’t know excel or I should put highlights in my resume and send another 100 out, or I don’t have contacts or today i so blue….”

    Friday –
    Just one very specific thing at 3 to 3:30
    Have a performance review with my manager and ask her just three things.

    1. How i have been doing? — Are my clients happy with the kind of work I am doing? Have i increased any profit margin for the projects I have been managing.

    2. What other areas I can improve upon? — What is ratings has she given me, why did she mark me for that number and how can i improve upon them say in four weeks.

    3.New Year New Projects — what kind of new projects are coming, how can I qualify for the projects that would suitably challenge me, and how can i exceed her expectation…

    I have just started thinking I am not even interested in this job… :(

  65. Interestingly enough, it seems that almost any problem we have could be solved by setting goals and adopting a long-term focus. I talk with people all of the time who “want to be entrepreneurs” but don’t spend a second of their life actually tracking a way to get there…then they look back, a year or two later, pissed off that others “lucked out” while they didn’t, and wondering why they didn’t get the same.

    So when people ask me “what’s the big secret to entrepreneurship”, it’s actually quite simple- set goals to learn that what you don’t already know, set goals for the long-term development of your venture, and stay laser-focused on what needs to get done.

  66. I have to make a short presentation at my company’s annual kickoff in a week that defines what our task force is going do to get more people able to actually use our crazy-hard software.
    1. 11 am: Send email summarizing work groups, and who’s in them. explain need for presentation prep meeting on mon, ask who can make it.
    2. By noon: Confirm with the “undecideds”, by email for ppl in regions, stop by desks of the locals.
    3. 1:30 to 2 pm: Come up with at least 2 questions/issuesthat each workgroup needs to respond to.
    4. By 2:30 pm- schedule meeting for Monday, book room, set up webex.
    5. 3 to 4 pm Draft ppt outline and motivational bits

  67. The 3 goals for the week drastically improved my productivity on these items this week. That simple tweek really got me actively thinking about and acting on what I really wanted to get done this week. I am excited about making concrete and realistic goals. Winging it has never worked and no amount of trying harder will ever make winging it work. I am embarking on practicing and brainstorming cartooning for an online cartoon strip I will be launching. I have put this off and thought it as unrealistic for too long.

    Friday:

    8-1pm Preplanned Meetings
    1:30-2:30 Read 5 documents provided by manager to prep for upcoming project
    2:30-3:30 brainstorm my top five thoughts/imputs on project and how we can implement this

    4-5: Brainstorm 5 new Cartoon ideas and flow for each.

    Saturday: 9-10 Crossfit Gym guest day with friend
    10-11 Research 5 other Crossfit gyms in my area for price, hours, location.

    (rest of saturday is going to be in observance of the Broncos playoff game here in Denver)

    Sunday:
    wake – dog walk
    8-10am Grocery shopping/Errands
    10-12pm Making food for the week
    Dog walk
    1-3pm Drawing
    3-4 research 5 blogs/forums for cartooning and drawing where people submit work, review, discuss, critique give feed back, self promote.
    Dog walk

    I read this post a little late. Went through sunday this week.

    I believe that actually time blocking my weeks and work days will sky rocket my productivity. Winging it has always failed for me.

    Thanks

  68. Tomorrow is Friday. So the one thing I will do by 6 pm is finish setting up my standing desk. This includes putting things away in the garage to make room for the old office chair, move said chair into garage, clean off standing mat, store plastic thing that goes under chair in garage, replace it with clean standing mat and arrange desktop items.

  69. I can only comment based on the people around me but as far as I am concerned people make resolutions and then fail at them simply due to willpower. How many people do you know who pledge to lose weight as a resolution and then only a week later they are tucking into junk food? :)

  70. Yeah, it’s Friday right now, but I’m still doing this.

    I’m in college, and want to find and apply for one on-campus job by 8pm tonight. I put this off all of last semester.

    6pm: Look through all the jobs (there’s only a few pages of them), and pick the top 3 that are the most flexible, or offer the greatest choice of hours and willingness to change them (since I have a highly erratic schedule). 15 minutes
    6:15pm: Read through the application. 15 minutes
    6:30pm: Fill out application. 30 minutes.
    7pm: Submit, or may have someone else read over it

  71. Ok yes I realize that TODAY is Friday…it was very early in the morning and my new mommy brain had not flipped the calendar from last night yet when I posted previously. Anyway, I am very excited to finish setting up my standing desk! Since having my baby I have been much less productive and this standing desk is a great tool, as I can wear baby on my back and then work. And actually writing out the smaller tasks needed to complete this project has really helped me focus! I realize that my brain easily get pulled in so many different directions, even more so since my baby arrived. Setting this small goal for the week and then breaking it into even smaller pieces is so motivating!! I’m very excited to continue taking control of my scattered self. Thanks Ramit!

  72. I want to focus on what you’re going to do THIS WEEK — by Friday
    It’s already Friday night but let’s do it for the weekend.
    Today : I have finally written a proposal for a crowdfunding site. I have procrastinated this for months. The goal is to fund my start-up from a crondfunding site.
    Tomorrow : I will edit the proposal for the second crowdfunding site I’m considering.
    Sunday : I will check my financial plan to see if it reflects the current choices. I made a lot of choices recently and I’m not sure I’ve put them in my financial plan.
    Monday : Send the proposals to the crowdfunding sites. Send the updated financial plan to my bankers. Call the guy who is helping me with this stuff.

    All of this is in my Google Agenda so I’m confident I’ll do it.

  73. Thank you for the useful top, can’t wait to put it into practice!

  74. Take control of college career
    1. Monday I will meet with my adviser to discuss which major to choose that allows me to graduate the soonest.9am-noon
    2. Wednesday I will go to the university testing center to clarify on what I have to do to be eligible to take CLEP exams..part time student/online student? etc.1pm-2pm
    3. Friday I will pick out which clep exams I will take this semester to test out of the stupid core classes that are hanging over my head. noon-2pm

  75. I’ve been procrastinating for several years on sewing curtains for my living room. I set myself a deadline of completing the project by the end of this month. Two weeks ago I scheduled my mom to come over to help me take measurements of the large window and estimate how much fabric I needed to order. Last week I ordered the fabric and it arrived Monday. This week I scheduled my mom to come over tomorrow, Sunday, to help me cut out the fabric, then the following weekend I booked her to come over and help me sew the curtains, mainly she has to show me how to use my sewing machine and teach me any special sewing methods I’m ignorant of (what I know is very limited).

    The main obstacle to getting this project done is that I don’t know how to do it myself, so scheduling times for my mom to come over and help me rather than vague conversations like in the past about how I need her help “sometime” to sew the curtains is much more effective and I’m actually getting the project done. Also, breaking it down into manageable parts instead of unrealistically trying to get it done in one visit with my mom is helping, too. The end result: My living room will finally look finished and will have nice, expensive looking custom curtains that actually were a huge bargain and in a pattern and color scheme I couldn’t find available in pre-made curtains.

    • I should include that I’ve been on Ramit’s list and used two of his products as well as read his book, so I used his ideas of how to get things done to help me actually get this sewing project past the “ideas” phase.

  76. I had a conversation with a guy while waiting for a green light about how ridiculously spoiled we are, complaining about freezing in 42 southern Californian weather. It all started with a simple “Cold weather, huh?”

    All because I was reminded by this post. Cheers to a New Year!

  77. A good insight on resolution and how to improve life and goals.

  78. I don’t make New Year Resolutions. I just work on improving myself 365 days a year. The beginning and end of the year is arbitrary to me, just like the end of the work day, or the weekend. When my work obligations, in terms of attendance, for the day are finished, I engage in some activity that is going to move me in the direction I want to go (which could basically be summed up as being able to live where ever I want, take on interesting work whenever I want to, and most importantly, be able to take extended breaks from said work whenever I want to). That activity may be work related – as in something that will improve my future performance in my current job – or personal (as in researching and tweaking investments and finances, reading, personal admin, travel planning, job seeking, exercising, playing my guitar, etc). I keep “live” or “dynamic” lists – one for work, and one for all other things – that are like a long list of things I’d like to get done, and they are constantly re-shuffled as priorities come into focus. I keep working on checking off items on the list until I’m tired, and then I go to sleep. When Friday night comes around, I don’t feel any need to “party”. I just do whatever’s next most important on my priority list.

    If I must give specific examples, some examples of the things I will be doing in the next 3 days are:
    -getting documents together for my wife’s New Zealand visa and making a few bookings related to our trip to Australia and New Zealand from mid Feb through mid-March
    -diverting my Australian snail mail (my parents just moved house)
    -printing a few different versions of the resumes that I constructed by taking Ramit’s Overnight Resume Makeover course, and giving them to friends and colleagues in order to perform the “10 second narrative test”.
    -follow up with a few job possibilities in order to decide whether to take a job that I’ve been offered that starts in late March, or hold out for something better (yes, I did get this job offer using a resume and cover letter that was based on the principles in Ramit’s course. I wouldn’t quite call my Dream Job – it’ll be a slight improvement in location and job satisfaction and other intangibles, but a slight reduction in pay – but the important takeaway is that I was able to “move sideways” and make up for lack of “officially required” qualifications and experience by highlighting other strengths in my cover letter and weaving the right narrative into my resume.
    -call my electricity company again and tell them to stop dragging their asses and install the solar smart meter that I requested 2 months ago, so I can start earning solar feed-in credits from my solar panels (this will result in an immediate cash flow increase of about $20/week for me – a big win because it’s passive and almost automated (I have to cash in my credits manually once per year)).

    I won’t bore you with my work to-do list, but the top two are:
    -finish the online training for the Creo Parametric 2.0 3D modelling software that comes free with our University licence before that licence runs out
    -mark students’ end of semester design projects (going to stop writing this post, and go mark the projects right now!)

    Benson

  79. Sorry for the delay as I no longer have internet (aka the neighbors.) I did my tasks but didnt get to post on here, so I guess I’ll do this for this week instead.

    By Friday-
    I will make a detailed list of small steps to complete a scholarship application. I will have 2 weeks extra before dealine just in case. The remainder of the weeks will be divided by what I need to do weekly.

    I will order for free all 3 credit scores and save the pdf to my laptop.

    I will have a letter written to a friend addressing something that could be touchy.

    • I’m just letting you know I accomplished 2.5 of the three tasks that Ive been putting off. The scholarship application part is not finished but should be by tomorrow. :)

  80. Best part of this post was “ARE YOU SHITTING ME?”

  81. My New Year resolution was to start with some sport activity. Since I usually always manage to do some sport for a few months (5 to 6) and then stop, this time I decided to use another approach.

    Since I love swimming, I decided to go to swim to a city pool.
    My barrier was that I don’t have money for that, I don’t have a slippers or appropriate swimming suit. I completely ignored all that this time. I paid monthly fee and expected to go 2 days in a week. (When I went to gym before I usually managed to go 2 times a week.)

    I started swimming last week.
    Since then I was managed without problems to go 5 times a week.
    I feel much better. I enjoy swimming.
    And I think I succeeded because I just stopped thinking about it, about all the barriers and problems and just went and do it.
    I found out I have more than enough time and money, I bought necessary items and found out that even after full day of 11 hours work I am still able and willing to go to pool.

  82. I am a little late to this party, but I guess it doesn’t matter when I participate, as long as I do.

    I don’t set New Year’s resolutions anymore. I take some time to make real goals, and this year I actually sat down and decided which things I was going to REMOVE from my plate so that I could focus on the things I really want to accomplish. The “jack of all trades, master of none” philosophy isn’t working out for me.

    My goal is to spend the first hour of every work day adding text to the ebook I’m writing for bloggers. I originally wrote this as “write the book” on my list of goals, but that won’t get it done. The first hour of every day is for me, now – to “pay myself” first, with my own work.