Three Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions

2020 was cold.

Resolutions are like Uncle Eddie from Christmas Vacation. They mean well, but they are a mess.

the psychology of a resolution is as backwards as it gets. Why would you wait an entire year to make a change? That’s what a resolution is. It’s saying, “I didn’t do this last year, so I want to do it this year.” There’s a good amount of shame attached to that mindset, which is weakening. In addition, the grand scale of typical resolutions makes them seem unattainable, and given everything about them, they typically are.

The one redeeming aspect of resolutions is the obvious one—wanting to make a positive change is a very good thing! But since resolutions are awful at helping us do that, here are some alternative things you can do.

1. Create a New Environment

One of the best things I did this year was turn my garage into a mini gym. I work out more than ever now. As much as my fitness mini habits and elastic habits have helped, changing my environment made working out easier and more pleasurable, which is a potent combination.

Whatever you want to do with your life, simple one-time environmental changes can make a big difference. The fact that they can be done once and provide a benefit for years is what makes them so attractive. My garage took some work to set up, but now I can go there anytime and get a solid workout.

Another key change I made this year was to move my desk to a central location. I felt “holed up” in my office room, which isn’t the kind of feeling I need in a pandemic. Whatever you want to do more of, I guarantee you there are some environmental opportunities you can take advantage of.

2. Create a Mini or Elastic Habit

Habit building is the anti-resolution. Instead of aiming for big sweeping goals, you can aim for no zero days. Habit building is not defined by quantity, but by consistency, and it is the most powerful way to change your life permanently.

I’ve created two habit strategies. They’re both excellent and proven to work. The first one, Mini Habits, is perfect for someone who feels overwhelmed by everything they want to change. Mini habits start you off slow and keep it that way, but they will quickly prove to you the power of consistency.

After Mini Habits, I created Elastic Habits. I felt frustrated at times that my habit always had to be “mini.” Why couldn’t I aim higher on days I had more energy or motivation? I could do that with a mini habit (bonus reps), but it wasn’t defined.

Elastic habits is more of a personal habit assistant than a rigid daily goal. Every day, it asks, “What would you like to do today?”

With the ability to choose your habit intensity and application on the fly, you’ll be able to maximize every day. This means no zero days and maximizing your potential.

I’ve created custom tracking products made for Elastic Habits and sell them on Orders over $24 ship free through January 1st.

3. Experiment

New year? New ideas! If your life feels stale at all, as it may in quarantine, you might benefit from intentionally experimenting with new things.

Start cooking or baking. Two of my friends started baking more this year and they seem to enjoy it.

Start a blog. That’s what I did in 2011 and it ended up being a career. But blogs are more than that. They’re fun. They’re a creative outlet. They’re a way to process your thoughts. They’re great!

Make videos on Youtube. More people than you’d think are professional YouTubers now. I’ve dabbled in it some myself. What I can say is it’s a lot of work and not easy to get a channel off the ground, but it’s still pretty fun. Even though my blog kickstarted my career, I never meant for it to. You never know what could happen with a fun side project.

I tried to pick some examples that don’t require socializing because… you know.

One way to do it? Try one new thing a week. You could do it with food, either cutting out one thing (sugar one week, alcohol the next, etc) or trying a different international cuisine each day of one week. You could try different arts, like writing, painting, drawing, sculpting, etc. Have fun with it!

There are many ways to improve your life in 2021 without going for an unrealistic resolution. I hope this gave you some ideas, and may 2021 be your best year ever!

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