The New Year Resolution to Fail

Published on: Jan 02, 2016

rant productivity habits

TLDR; By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail. Decide during the Summer and prepare for it!

It's becoming a tradition to use this time of the year as an opportunity to set some "New Year resolutions". Some good candidates are:

  • loosing weight (and starting eating healthy)
  • giving up smoking
  • getting organised

Whilst I’m not saying that trying to change your lifestyle in a positive way is bad… thinking that just because the year is different, you don’t somehow become a different person. According to statistics, most people give up by January 15.
Only 8% achieve it!

As an example, here is my local gym at 7:30 this morning (Saturday, Jan 2nd):


Truth be told, by 9:00 it got a little busier but I’m pretty sure that most of the people that started a new membership in December weren’t there.

Here is a better way to do it: start early

Decide on your resolution during the Summer and prepare for it — let me explain!

Let’s take the example of loosing weight, which usually involves two main things: becoming active and eating healthier.

Start by getting a gym membership in July / August and start by going there once a week, say during the weekend, and try some of the machines. Walk a bit, use the stepper for 2 minutes — just get a feeling of the place. This way, come January, everything feels familiar and won’t act as a stumble block.

And you need to start thinking of yourself as an active person. Active becomes your default state and in January that’s the norm. Yes, you will fail some days but you would always want to return to the default state.

It takes anything between 18 and 254 days to form a new habit — by starting early you give yourself a great chance to “form it”. Also, loosing weight involves couple of new habits — it’s easier to create them one by one than try to “switch them all on” at once on Jan 1st.


One of the subtle ways in which people fail: they focus on negative statements. Eg: I haven’t had soda in 5 days. And it creates the desire to break it.

It’s harder not to do something than do something you’re suppose to do. So rephrase it in a positive way: I’ve drunk my morning fruit-mix for the past 3 days.