Realz-World Resoluting —
F*ck Yo’ Good Intentions

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F*ck Yo’ Good Intentions
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F*ck Yo' Good Intentions

Realz-World Resoluting —
F*ck Yo’ Good Intentions

F*ck Yo’ Good Intentions -- stop setting resolutions and start creating habits, if you want to succeed at your goals (#blogpost #resolutions #goals #habit #achieve #accomplish #goalsetting #healthyboundaries #youcandoit #productivity) at to mid-January — the point where a good many well-intentioned-resolution-setters (who’ve fallen off the old self-improvement wagon and landed in a puddle of their own regret) are feeling like weak-willed-ineffectual-lazy-ass-can’t-follow-through-on-a-goal-to-save-their-lives failures.

Fun times, indeed!

Not to be a total downer, but here’s a thoroughly depressing statistic — the average Joe-Or-Josephine Sixpack has a less-than-ten-percent chance of seeing that “I’m gonna” list all the way through to yay-you-crossed-the-finish-line completion.

No wonder the suicide rate skyrockets this time of year.

What the hell’s wrong with us? After hundreds-of-millenia-of-evolution, why can’t we homo sapiens get our collective heinies in gear? Do we suffer from natural discipline-deficiency? Is that crazy conglomeration of stupidities we call a brain inherently wired for self-defeat? Or do we (as a species) just genetically suck?

Nope — you’re awesome, I’m awesome, we all rock.

But we do have this misguided tendency to treat each pound-shedding-novel-writing-ladder-climbing-clutter-pile-decrapifying intention as a one-time task — instead of an every-day-for-the-rest-of-your-life mindset shift. And you can thank THAT bit of fallacious reasoning for this annual resolutionary clusterfuck.

I see it time-and-time-again with prospective clients. They join the gym, buy some storage containers, invest in a new calendar system, and load up on veggies. Then when whatever less-than-constructive-previous-comportment-patterns return (after a week, maybe two if these intrepid goal-setters were feeling especially committed), I get a call. Oh, oh — and my absolute favorite? When they have the nerve to be shocked/outraged that 7-14 days wasn’t enough time for an entire planetary-existence-reengineering!

Denial. Not just a river in Egypt.

Here’s the prob. Every time you must intentionally choose to act in a certain way, you create a bailage opportunity. You know what this looks like — that oh-so-susceptible moment of excusing-rationalizing-and-otherwise-justifying either a refusal to do that which you promised yourself (or an equally-entertaining willingness to indulge in the thing you swore you wouldn’t). But before tattooing an “L” on your brow, understand that you’re not entirely at fault — it’s mostly just your stupidhead cranium getting in the way.

“Resolutions” (like suddenly changing your routine so you get up for an early gym session before work) take thought — which makes them vulnerable to sudden-onset-I-don’t-feel-like-it-syndrome or an unexpected case of the busies. “Habits” (like building those 10,000 steps into your day by walking a-mile-down-the-street-and-back for lunch with your co-worker) are subconscious — giving them an antibodies-that-will-throat-punch-you-level-of-immunity against outbreaks of overwhelm/exhaustion/indolence.

So I say, “Fuck yo’ road-to-hell-paving good intentions — make ’em habits instead!”

Contrary to everything-behavioral-transformation-wise-you’ve-been-taught-to-believe-like-gospel, change ain’t about determintation (that middle “t” indicates an even-more-extreme-style of stick-to-it-ive-ness). In fact, if you’re having to CONSCIOUSLY work toward achieving an objective — you’re flipping doing it wrong. “Different” doesn’t demand willpower, it necessitates an environment in which the desired manner of conduct happens without you even realizing it. Said action should be instinctively triggered by some sort of external  prompt (like that automatic mirror-check-seatbelt-latch-thing when you start the car).

Nose-to-the-grindstone-white-knuckling-it? A woefully inadequate substitute for automation.

Whatever good-behavior-replacing-a-crap-one needs encouragement, the trick is linking it to a unique-specific-time-place-event-circumstance — a just-before-you-leave-work-desk-tidy, a pint-sized-bedtime-toy-clean-up, a while-you’re-out-running-errands-anyway-workout, a post-coffee-break-flurry-of-email-responding. Create lists of steps. Give yourself an alarm or a sticky or some other form of reminder. Gather need-to-succeed tools the night before — and position them nearest the point of use. (Anything that will make the “oh-shit-I-forgot-my-tennis-shoes-and-left-those-healthy-snacks-on-the-counter” parts easier.)

Yes, it will require a decent chunk of conscious engagement on your part to begin with. But after a couple of months, that sucker will be so deeply ingrained in a neural pathway — you’ll be staying organized and shedding fat, getting a promotion and having a more fulfilled sex-life in your sleep!

Really, who could ask for more in the new year?

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    4 Responses

    1. I have to say, I like your suggestion about connecting a new desired habit to an action you’re already doing. I’ll have to think of how I can make that work for me.

    2. Stephen Moss says:

      Good One, I follow Zen and don’t make resolutions. The Past is History, Future Unknown, I live in the Now. No Stress! Turn each goal into a journey. A journey does not have to have an ending, it’s the journey that really matters. I don’t seek habits, just mindfulness in all things.

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