There is no new year, stop fooling yourself
Time does not reset on the first of January
Here we go with the new year new you bullshit. Here we go with all of your friends, colleagues and family asking what your new year resolutions are.
Enter the New Year Resolution starter pack
I want to:
- Lose x-weight
- Put on x-muscle
- Be more healthy
- Make x-money
- Go on holiday to x-country
- Quit x-bad habit
- Start x-good habit
- Better myself in x-way
Time is constant, not siloed
Well, generally speaking for any relativity-nitpickers
What I mean by this, is that from when you’re born until when you die, all that’s in between is time (and experiences). Years, months, and days, are all just ways of simplifying this vast amount of time, by putting it into smaller-chunks.
However, the fundamental problem with New Year Resolutions, New Year Goals, and reactively planning everything out in a 12-month-oh-shit-I’ve-gotta-do-better manner, is that time doesn’t actually reset on the first of January, believe it or not.
Sure, the “YEAR” resets, but that’s just a figment of your imagination.
In reality, the first of January is literally just another day in your life. Just another block of time, vanishing into the abyss. Just another day that you need to be working hard as fuck, doing stuff you love.
Change your thinking
Forget a 12-month cycle. Improvements are a constant
In the startup game, we use the above method
- Build stuff
- See if people like using the stuff
- Learn how to make the stuff better
When it comes to crushing your goals, you need to be actively prioritising what is most important, measuring your progress toward the finish line, learning from the insights, and adjusting your approach accordingly, to ensure you’re on the right path.
The chart above is a startup runway. When a company gets a round of funding, they have to fundamentally build a great product and get customers, before they run out of money. Or at the least, show a promising trajectory.
Based on some really solid data from Muru-D (a startup incubator who’s talk I went to awhile back), a very-telling sign of how successful a startup is going to be, is how rapidly they build, measure and learn.
Each step in the chart above is a pivot that has been made. The more (effective) pivots that are made, the more likely the company is to succeed.
Why? Well, because they are continuously improving.
They are not just improving once or twice. They are not changing their direction based on total-guesswork. They are not half-assing their efforts.
What they are doing, is rapidly iterating. Through this process, they are getting closer to their goal, and improving their product by an order of magnitude by the end. Possibly many times over.
Think tons of consistent, small steps
Because big steps overload your cognition
Above is the Kaizen method, in all its beautiful glory. You have the tradition approach toward a goal on the left (big leaps and bounds), and the Kaizen method on the right (many smaller, more rapid steps).
In order to actually build, measure and learn at a rapid pace, you need to break your pivots down into silos. An overall pivot might take a month to execute on, but within, are many smaller, more bit-sized pivots.
Instead of thinking: I need to lose 20kg, think, what is one food that has a lot of sugar, that I can get in a habit of eliminating from my diet. Then repeat, and continue to scale by eliminating more bad-foods.
Deconstruct your goals, using DiSSS & CaFE
Break your goals it into smaller steps
It’s one thing to understand—from a high level—that you need to break your goals down into biet-sized chunks, but what’s the actual method to do so?
Enter the masterful process from none other than Tim Ferriss. He’s come up with a badass, easy to understand, step-by-step approach to deconstructing something large, and breaking it down into actionable chunks.
Not only HOW to break something down, but how to break it down effectively, and prioritise what steps should actually be done.
DiSSS (Deconstructing Learning)
D = for deconstruction. What is the minimum useful unit of knowledge?
S = for Selection. What 20% of those minimum units will lead to 80% of your desired outcome?
S = for Sequencing. What’s the most effective order for learning these units?
S= for Stakes. What psychological and social mechanisms can you setup for discipline and motivation?
C = for Compression. Can I compress the most important 20% into a one-pager?
F = for Frequency. What is the best duration and frequency, knowing my personal limits and goals?
E = for Encoding. How do I create mental anchors to make sure I remember stuff?
Deconstructing your goals will give you a very clear idea of what steps need to be accomplished, in what sequence, to achieve your overall goal.
Think habits and dopamine, not goals
Habits are the key, and dopamine is the key to habits
Habits are what actually achieve goals. It’s very simple.
If you want to form a new habit, many suggest it takes 21 days, while others say it’s more like 66.
But fuck averages, they are meaningless here. If you really want to form a habit, you need to do it on a neurological level.
Your nucleus accumbens craves the dopamine squirt that it knows goes with what it has learned to be pleasurable. The confounding thing is that the first time you do something, the dopamine comes after the action. In the future, the dopamine is released earlier and earlier until just thinking about something in anticipation causes a dopamine reward. So, the dopamine released before the action and along the way actually motivates you towards the behavior.
So in essence, to form a habit, you need to make your brain release dopamine every-time you do the activity—so that eventually—it releases dopamine BEFORE you do the activity, therefore turing it into a habit.
Make sure it’s a good habit, as this is addicting for both good and bad decisions.
In the end, just make a consistent effort to take action, and knock out small steps toward your goal.
Crush your goals, screw the new year
Don’t follow the hype
So at the end of the day, forget about new years resolutons and goals. It’s hype, it’s ineffective, and it’s dumb.
Instead, consistently evaluate what goals you want to achieve, break them down into small steps, take action constantly, build habits, measure your progress, adjust your approach along the way, and and most importantly, fucking complete your goals, and stop acting like you live twice.