Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Suck and what to do about it…
Did you set New Year’s Resolutions this year? About 50% of people do, and if you’re reading this blog I’m guessing you’re the kind of person in that 50% who’s driven and wants to succeed. Well done. 😉
Btw, if you aren’t the kind of person who doesn’t set goals, know that studies have shown that 46% of people who made a resolution were continuously successful at it 6 months later, and only 4% of non-resolvers were. Yikes!
So let’s be clear that setting goals ROCKS. However, the way that most people declare New Year’s Resolutions already sets you up for failure.
The good news is, it’s not your fault. Blame your monkey brain.
So if you did you set resolutions this year, how are they going? Have you accomplished them yet? Already given up? Way off track?
If you’re crushing them still, good on you. Read on for tips to hone in and make even more progress.
But if you’re like most people, the odds are you’re already sliding.
There’s a reason gym memberships spike in January but by mid-February it’s back to the same ol’ gym rats: habits and planning.
So you need every advantage possible to solidify success habits and plan effectively.
Here’s the deal, your willpower is a finite resource. Exert a bunch of energy keeping yourself from eating that cookie, now you have less willpower to start that meditation habit.
(For the most adorable example of this, check out the famous marshmallow study video.)
What happens for most people is they declare, say, 12 new habits for the year as resolutions. But the brain only has enough willpower to start one new habit at a time. So if you try to start working out, finally begin meditating, journal every day, reach out to your contacts every day, and so on—all at once—well that’s why the gyms are empty again by February.
So, take those twelve habits and start with ONE. Then plan on incorporating one new habit into your life each month.
12 new habits by the end of the year will yield MASSIVE results in your life and career.
And the cool thing is, once it’s a habit you have it for good!
(If you really want to dive in to how driven by habits we are, check out the book The Power of Habit).
Let me also add that certain habits–exercise, meditation, healthy eating, etc.–are more important than others. That’s because *these* habits lead to other good habits.
Be healthy and you’ll have more energy to head to that networking event–you get the idea.
Look, as an actor you don’t have a boss. The good news is, no one is going to fire you if you sit on the couch all day. The bad news is, no one is going to fire you if you sit on the couch all day.
So what to do? Be your own boss and make a plan.
As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” So let’s make a plan, shall we?
Personally, I have found that breaking my plan down by category of my life has been wildly effective. I complete the following steps for each domain of my life—career, finances, romantic relationships, family, travel, recreation/play, health/fitness, etc.
For clarity, I’m going to use the career domain in the examples below
The 5 steps to crafting an effective strategic plan
- Set a Vision
What is your high-level vision for each domain? The key here is that it resonates with you emotionally. For acting, this might sound something like “I am a booking machine. I get offered roles I love abundantly. I work consistently in television and film with visionary collaborators. I love the characters I play, as well as the platform my art creates for me.”
- Make S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. This is HUGE, and where most New Year’s Resolutions fall flat.
- What most people say: “book more jobs”
- The S.M.A.R.T. version of this: “Book at least 1 co-star on a network or cable show by October 29th, 2018 at 7pm.
If you’re not familiar with this method, I highly recommend reading this article.
- Break It Down
If your goal is to book a TV credit, for example, you can’t exactly just go out and do that. You don’t have full control of that outcome. However, you can do all kinds of things that are likely to eventually get you there (e.g. send post cards, be in class, pitch myself for roles I’m right for, create my own comedy video, have coffee at least once/week with an industry contact, etc.)
Think strategically (this is where a great coach can be a life saver) about what are all the things that will lead you to your ultimate goals. The things you’re doing on a daily and weekly basis. Set specific declarations for these actions.
- Track it
In order to make improvements, we need to know what we’re actually doing. Moreover, whatever we choose to pay attention to we can alter. That’s why simply writing down what food you eat has been proven to lead to weight loss and healthier options—because we start paying attention.
So track your time. Track your goal progress. How many times per week are you meditating, journaling, reaching out to an industry contract?
This isn’t about being perfect or beating yourself up if you’re not doing something. Simply track what you are/aren’t doing.
- Create Accountability!
Our monkey brain simply isn’t designed to keep ourselves accountable. It’s just not. So get a coach, find a friend, team up with someone who is going to be rigorous in making sure you stick to your declarations.
I’ve used the methods in this article to book myriad TV credits, upgrade my reps, get in the best shape of my life, transform my family and so much more. But all of this is completely worthless if you don’t take action and apply it.
Set aside 15 minutes right now to at least begin applying these lessons to re-write your New Year’s Resolutions, declare habits, and start your plan.
I promise, it can change your life.
by: Coach Ben, Career ACTivate