The BIG New Year’s Resolution Mistake You Don’t Want to Make

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The dreaded resolution. The change we have to make to become better people and improve from previous years. Then, like clockwork, they disappear from our minds. We lose sight and we wait for next year, then the next, then the next. They get lost, but they don’t have to…

2020 was, on a global scale, a crappy year. Whether or not it affected you, the world froze in place and many people lost friends, family, and their lives. Employment went kaput, and we were imprisoned in our homes by a pandemic.

Hopefully, being thrown far off track made you make a few New Year’s resolutions that’ll get you trekking along towards success. Saying it is only half the battle, though. There are plenty of challenges you’ll face along the way. Take this advice and you’ll avoid most of them…

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An hour before midnight my family and I did what every suburban family does on New Year’s Eve; we went around the living room and announced our New Year’s Resolutions. Here are mine:

· Write at least 2,000 words a day

· Land a job in the publishing industry

· Query “the hell” out of my book

· Get 1,000 Medium followers by 2022

Whether I achieved the goals I set out to in 2020 or not, I know that taking the time to reset and reevaluate is what I need to do to achieve my goals. The problem is… I probably won’t achieve any of these. Why?

There is nothing holding me to it.

The #1 reason New Year’s Resolutions FAIL is lack of accountability.

Why would I write 2000 words a day? Because it’s good for my career! Except… my brain doesn’t think that way. Instead, it sees a large number and a crazy amount of work every single day and it gets scared. Why not play video games instead?

Every part of my resolution is scary to me. Is yours? Look at your own list. We will not let that fear and worry interfere with our goals. I won’t. I know you won’t. That’s why I’m going to follow all five rules. Will you?

1. Start a journal

A year is a long time. 365 days of consistently working towards your goals is hard. For example, seeing 365 x 2000 words a day makes me shiver in my boots. That’s 730,000 words! And yes, I did just use my iPhone calculator to get that number.

That number is terrifying. There is no way I will want to write each day, especially knowing it’s only achieving 1/365 of my goal.

Here’s the thing. Taking it a day at a time is the only way to get through it. Open up a blank page of your journal each morning and write everything out. Do it in checklist form:

Photo by author

Blank boxes are amazing. They make you want to check them off. Start your day with this and I know you’ll be motivated to get to work.

The second step to using the journal is actually writing. You’ll want to use the blank space underneath your checklist to remind yourself why you want to achieve this. Why are you putting yourself through so much work?

Photo by author

Knowing why the best way is to convince yourself to keep working. Your journal may look the same every day, but the constant reminder is important. Keep the journal going for all 365 days and you’ll crush your goals.

2. Have a partner-in-change

Just like the journal, having someone to talk about your goals is imperative. You won’t always be honest with yourself. You’ll find loopholes and easy ways out but having a partner who is also trying to maintain their goals will keep you focused. Knowing that they are there to help you is one thing, but are you going to let them dominate their goals while you sit around? No!

Use them as support. Use them as competition. Use them in any way that will make you succeed!

3. Give yourself incentives

It works for kids and it’ll work for you. Make sure that ever full week of completing your goals, you give yourself a prize. For me, every week I crush my goals, I plan to give myself a full night of video games. Sounds childish, but I love video games and I don’t get enough time with them. If I know that completing all my goals will give me more gaming time, I’m sure to check each box.

4. Don’t be hard on yourself!

A big reason people stop working towards their goals is that they fail. Failing is normal. It will happen! The thing is, if you stop because of a few missed days, you’ll end up with a whole year without achieving your goals. Don’t let those mistakes shape you. Will I write 2000 words every single day? I sure hope so. I’m know things come up and I may slip every now and again. If I stop because of it, I’ll never hit my 730,000 words.

Do not just wait until next year!

I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Slipping up once makes us feel bad, so we just push off our transformation until next year. THIS IS THAT NEXT YEAR! You need to suck it up and get to your goals. One bad day doesn’t define you.

5. Understand your obstacles

What is going to stop you?

You see that little space at the bottom of your journal page? Write what might stop you from achieving your goals. What will make it nearly impossible to check off each box every single day? Fear? Poor time-management? Lack of motivation? Write that ish down and then cross it out!

Remind yourself every day that there will be challenges. There will be days when obstacles seem too difficult to overcome. If you know this and prepare accordingly, then you’ll always be one (or many) steps ahead. Keep walking and 365 will seem just around the corner…




Writer, martial artist, and downright awesome guy... as long as he's fed.

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Alden Etra

Alden Etra

Writer, martial artist, and downright awesome guy... as long as he's fed.

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