Why 88% of New Year’s Resolutions Fail…And How To Guarantee That You Don’t Make This Mistake

Setting, writing, and committing to goals for the year is what all great producers and successful people do.  But there is a right and wrong way to go about this very important task. The mistake that so many make (including myself before I learned these facts) is to try and accomplish more than one goal at a time.  Or even worse, try and accomplish them all at once.

There is actually some in depth studies proving this very idea. Including one that is talked about at length in a recent Wall Street Journal article.  Here is what was stated:

“Willpower, like a bicep, can only exert itself so long before it gives out; it’s an extremely limited mental resource.  Given its limitations, New Year’s resolutions are exactly the wrong way to change our behavior. It makes no sense to try to quit smoking and lose weight at the same time, or to clean the apartment and give up wine in the same month. Instead, we should respect the feebleness of self-control, and spread our resolutions out over the entire year. Human routines are stubborn things, which helps explain why 88% of all resolutions end in failure, according to a 2007 survey of over 3,000 people conducted by the British psychologist Richard Wiseman. Bad habits are hard to break—and they’re impossible to break if we try to break them all at once.

There’s something unsettling about this scientific model of willpower. Most of us assume that self-control is largely a character issue, and that we would follow through on our New Year’s resolutions if only we had a bit more discipline. But this research suggests that willpower itself is inherently limited, and that our January promises fail in large part because the brain wasn’t built for success.

Everybody knows that the bicep has practical limitations: If we ask the muscle to hold too much, it will give out and drop everything on the floor. And just as our muscles get tired after a tough workout, and require a rest to recuperate, so does the poor prefrontal cortex need some time off.”

You see, our brains don’t like it when we give it to many tasks to do.  This especially applies to breaking bad habits. But it also applies to achieving goals. Make sure and take time to think about what goals you want to accomplish, how you can achieve them and then decide which one you will go after first.
Once you achieve that goal or at least are well on your way to achieving that goal, should you move on to the next goal on your list.

One additional benefit to using this method is that by practicing mental discipline in one area, you can actually make it easier to achieve success in another area.  So don’t think you have to give up your other goals.  Just know that you are much better off focusing on one before moving on to the next.

Related Articles:

How to Leverage Every Hour You Spend Working

How to Identify the “Blind Spot” in Your Practice

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