Why New Year’s Resolutions Are Stupid & Will Fail (& What to Do Instead)

It’s that time. The Christmas cheer is over. The trees and lights are coming down and the long, cold slog is setting in. It’s also inevitably that time of year where so many people want to look ahead and leave the past behind, especially the hordes of snowflakes who cried that 2016 was “the worst year ever.”

I just can’t understand you guys who act that way. What makes a year good or bad should be based solely on things you can control. Sure, Donald Trump’s victory was a great moment of joy and an experience I’ll never forget, and I never ceased to be entertained on a single day of 2016, but that wasn’t why 2016 was one of the best years of my life.

2016 was one of the best years of my life because…

  1. I learned many new skills I’ll use for the rest of my time in the world.
  2. I made more money than I have in any other year.
  3. I met a lot of great new people, including Mike Cernovich more than once.
  4. I built my brand to the level about where I thought it could reasonably be after a year.
  5. I accomplished a monumental milestone in publishing my first book.

I made my year what it was, not some externalities I had no control over.

But I made no new year’s resolution. I knew years ago that they were worse than useless, because when you inevitably fail, you’ll feel like shit.

The reason why almost all new year’s resolutions fail is because they rely entirely on human willpower. This is a limited resource, and will eventually burn out.

Almost all who make new year’s resolutions turn out to be losers because they have big ambitions, but want to introduce massive lifestyle changes too quickly. That’s why their willpower inevitably fails and the whole enterprise collapses under its own weight. Within a few weeks, the whole thing is over.

Sad Vegeta crying Vegeta Goku

“Committing” to a new year’s resolution won’t work. That’s a move for losers. You’ll want to think big of course, but that’s for the very long term, and should come through a clear path. A new year’s realignment (which is better phraseology than a resolution) should be an evolution on things you were already doing, not a revolutionary change to your life.

But what if you’re starting from the gutter?

That’s fine too. I did. The same rules apply.

Those rules being, you need to think how you want to be remembered by eternity, conceive of your work to get there, and then get started. This of course complements things you should want for their own sake, like a healthy physique, financial, social, and sexual success, and so on. Conveniently, all those things tend to come when you make progress toward your vision of True Glory.

The key thing to do with whatever resembles your new year’s resolution is to create a system that works. This is the only way to ensure that you won’t fail like almost everyone else. Scott Adams explains this in detail in How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Wing Big, but I’ll give you a brief rundown of the thinking behind it.

Let’s say you have the most common new year’s resolution: “lose weight.”

First you need to reframe that into something more specific (Gorilla Mindset can help you with this). “Lose weight” should become “I want to lose 15 pounds” “or I want to lose 1-2 pounds a week for the next three months” … “BECAUSE I want to look a lot better for the summer.”

Note the “because.” That’s there because the word “because” forces your brain to commit to something. Human beings love to have a reason for doing something and to be consistent with the decisions they make. This will help you to develop the rest of your system.

Now that you’ve made that commitment to “losing 15 pounds because you want to look better for the summer,” you can implement the next part of your system:

  1. Keep all food you can’t tolerate out of your house (out of sight, out of mind).
  2. Begin the physical action of exercising, whether this is doing your warm-ups at home or even simply putting on your clothes to go to the gym. The physical act of starting something will reprogram your brain to commit to finishing it.
  3. Do this for 12 or so weeks.

And there you go. You now have the basics of a system that will work. You’ve avoided making a vague “new year’s resolution” based only on willpower that will inevitably fail.

Vegeta eating Saiyan appetite

The long cold of the winter has settled in. You’re going to be huddled inside for the next few months. There’s no better time than now to work hard and build systems that will let you accomplish most of your objectives for the year. This in turn will allow you to coast when the weather gets better.

These are “new year’s resolutions” that actually work.

Read Stumped because it will commit you to building systems that work and reprogram your brain, giving you a better chance to experience the highs of the success you imagine.