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The Secret To Actually Crushing Your New Year’s Resolutions

So you’ve drafted some New Year’s resolutions for 2016.

Maybe you’re already wondering whether you’re actually going to hit them or not.

Why is that so many of us set out to accomplish something but fail to do as much as we had hoped?

The answer is simpler than you think.

It involves a dynamic that few people talk about. But once you see it, things can begin to change. Radically.

The principle?

If you don’t like the results you get, change the pattern the you’ve set.

Let me explain.

shutterstock_104514005You Encounter This Problem Every Time You Start Something New

Let’s say you get a new phone. Or a new car.

Here’s what happens. At least it happens to me, and I’m sure it’s happened to you as well:

The way you learn to use a device in the first 10 days is essentially the way you use it for the rest of its life.

And as a result, you’ll leave 90% of its potential—or more—untapped. 

Here’s what I’ve discovered about myself. Whenever I get a new piece of technology, I try to familiarize myself with it.

More accurately, I try to ‘domesticate it’—to move it from an unknown to a known and controllable entity in a short span of time.

I don’t naturally try out its maximum capacity.

I simply find a few cool features and try to get it to behave in a predictable way.

Sound familiar?

Almost everyone does it.

As a result, within about 10 days, all the experimentation is gone.

We tell ourselves that we’ve mastered it. But we haven’t.

Our need for predictability kills our curiosity and innovation.

And that’s why your New Year’s resolutions fail. You’ve placed some new goals into a predictable system, and you stop innovating on how to make your system support your goals.

The only way to change that is through sustained experimentation.

Change the Pattern…Crush Your New Year’s Resolutions

So…what if the next time you get a new device, you decided to learn everything you could about it for 10 days? What if you read blogs, took tutorials, watched user videos and experimented with it endlessly without settling into any habits?

What would the next three years with that device look like? Better for sure. You’d be smarter, more efficient, more satisfied and get far more value out of it than usual.

But that approach only works if you’re willing to suspend habits for the first ten days and resist the drive to make everything easy and predictable.

Enough about devices.

Now the big question:

What if—for the first 30 days of 2016— you refused to settle into a pat routine with each of your key goals for the year? 

I’m convinced that one of the enemies of progress is routine. We are creatures of habit, but our habits (repeated patterns of behaviour) often take us to places we don’t want to go.

It takes 21 days to make a new (and better) habit. Add a week or so to it and you’ll have an engrained pattern.

What would it look like if for the first 30 days of 2016 you launched a radical assault on the status quo?

What if:

You downloaded a new alarm app and set it for 5:30 a.m. and made no excuses?

You changed your meeting schedule so you could do something active 5 out of 7 days?

You cut the number of meetings you participate in by half?

You moved to a fixed calendar to usher in a far better use of time next month? (I explain how to do it and why a fixed calendar is so awesome here.)

You changed grocery stores and had to learn a new pattern of shopping – and you just never went down the chip aisle?

You used smaller plates for 30 days as a way to cut back portion size?

You gave away $50 a week you’re currently spending on yourself?

You changed your study practice when it comes to message prep and ran every message through these 7 filters each week before you deliver it? 

You picked up a new bible (or got a new bible app or reading plan) and never missed a reading for 30 days?

You decided you not speak a critical word to your family or friends and every day just prioritized doing it?

You took a new route to and from work to give you more thinking time?

You can fill in the blanks for whatever you need to conquer, but you see the pattern, right?

Rethinking your patterns for the first 30 days of 2016 will set the pattern for how you spend the next 335 days of the year.

Your desire to domesticate the new year and make it predictable and ‘easy to use’ runs deep, and it will lead you to exactly where this year led you unless you attack that pattern.

2016 will be exactly like 2015 unless you intentionally change it.

Some Help from Jon Acuff

My friend Jon Acuff can help you get 2016 off to a roaring start. He’s doing an initiative called the 30 Days of Hustle that will help you push through your goals in 2016.

I’ve joined and am looking forward to moving forward on that.

If you want to join, hurry. The course closes January 1st 2016 at midnight. You can learn more and join here at

Commit to a new pattern…30 days into the new year. Circle day 30 on your calendar and keep experimenting with new patterns until then! Go!

With those changes, 2016 could be radically different than any other year.

So get started now.

What do you want to change?

What are some other ideas on how to engineer the change you want to see?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

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