F–k New Years Resolutions

Another year comes to a close and people across the world rabbit on about New Year’s resolutions. I say “F–k that!” The reason for the headline is not to be sensationalist but to make a valid point. Part of your life’s routine and as a way of systematically breaking out of habits and behaviour patterns is goal setting.

Yes the end of the year is about reflection, renewing and re-evaluating our promises to ourselves and each other, but this should not be limited to the beginning of a new year.

This past year for me has been a revelation. I have been reminded yet again — that regular goal setting, be it for a day, week, a quarter (whatever time period it needs to be) is crucial. Why? Because it’s science, psychology, creativity. It is how our minds work — our brains are the most sophisticated super computers in the known universe and we have a pretty good understanding now, at least at a basic level, of how they work.

So what happens inside our heads when we set goals?

Ownership of goals becomes an extension of not only mind but our body.
According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are — setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image. (The Science of Setting Goals)
The brain apparently can’t distinguish between what we want and what we already have and neurologically our brains treat the failure of achieving a goal as a loss of a valued possession. When goals or missions aren’t accomplished the brain keeps working to resolve the desired outcome, in some cases, re-routing or rewiring our thoughts and ambitions — driving us towards accomplishment. In some cases, depending on the type or size of the un-attained goal, the brain can respond to this loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish.

Read more Geeky stuff at Lifehack.

Tony Robbins on New Years Resolutions

Do you remember how big the turn of the century was? This classic interview on the Larry King Show gave Tony Robbins an opportunity to get across his take on New Year’s Resolutions.



KING: We’ll talk with Tony Robbins about dealing with the New Year, resolutions, whether those things work, a new millennium, this whole concept. Is it jazzed up? Can you really use it?

OK, does it make a difference? Can you use a new year, a new millennium, year 2000 to make yourself…

ROBBINS: You can use anything. You can use a birthday with a zero on the end of it.

KING: I know. But isn’t it fabricated?

ROBBINS: It’s all fabricated. But there’s nothing wrong with that, you know. You know, all it is, is finding what are the triggers that’ll get you to finally decide. And for a lot of people, a new year, a new millennium, a birthday with a zero in it is a chance to re-evaluate their lives, for them, to reassess the gap between where they are right now and where they want to be.

And, Larry, every healthy person has that gap. I mean, everybody’s got a higher level desire, a dream life that they have. And the ability to close that gap comes down to saying, where am I really, and not lying to yourself, because that gives you the hunger to change. And where am I committed to being, not interested in being. The problem with New Year’s resolutions is most people make them because it’s the new year. They’re really statements of interests; they’re not resolutions, where you’ve resolved there’s nothing else but this. And getting yourself to where it’s a must and not a should is a secret. Because if you look at people’s lives, they’re getting their musts, not their shoulds. They’re making what they must make, not what they want to make. They have the level of intimacy they must have. Or if they don’t have a relationship, they must never be in pain. Well, then they’ll never be in a relationship. There’s pain in relationships, along with love.

So changing your shoulds into musts is how you create a lasting…

KING: If you do it because it’s 2000, fine, in other words, whatever your reasoning is?

ROBBINS: Well, if you look at it for that reason, if you just do it because it’s 2000, it will be over in a few weeks, because that’ll wear off.

KING: Why don’t resolutions usually resolve?

ROBBINS: Because as I said, most of them are statements of interest, and also because most people do not get themselves in a state of mind when they resolve something that your brain gets it. It’s kind of like, people set a goal, and it goes into their conscious mind, and they reject it, as the brain says, I’ve always failed in the past, it never lasts, and they rationalize. The next time their under stress, they go back to the old behavior.

But if you can instead change that pattern, the pattern of changes that looks like this, pain, enough of it you finally say all right, I am not going eat anything for the next 10 days, I am going to go on water fast, but about noon the first day, you start going juice is good for you, and about 2:00, you’re going sandwiches are bad, and by midnight, it’s French fries are wonderful, you know. So the ability to make it not just pain driven, but to find something that pulls you — most people are using push, I have to do this — when you can find something you want more than the hamburger, more than the smoking, then you have something you can create lasting change for.

KING: One of the definitions of insanity, the true definition is, repeating the same thing, expecting a different result.


KING: But yet, under that definition, there’s a lot of nutty people walking around, because we do that a lot, right? Yet that’s a definition of…

ROBBINS: I know.

KING: … repeating something again and again, expecting a different result. Why do we do that?

ROBBINS: Because we’re creatures of patterns, and because our patterns give us our needs.

KING: Even if the results are bad from the pattern.

ROBBINS: But you know, one of the things we get, even though you say it’s bad. Let’s say a person sets a goal then they don’t follow through and they feel bad about it, and they don’t follow through, and they — four or five times, they don’t want to feel bad, and so they say, I’m a procrastinator. And what they get by that is certainty. Because, Larry, if you look at people’s lives, the quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with. If you’re not allowing yourself to be uncertain, you can’t grow, you can’t try to new things, you can’t start a career, you can’t go meet a new relationship, you can’t offer yourself anything that’s possible.

And a lot of times, people that achieve, in the beginning, they’re risk takers. I see this in a lot of 50, 60-year-old men, for example, and women who’ve made it, but once they made it they hang on to this, and they lost their hunger, and so now, they don’t take the same kinds of risks and so they don’t have the same excitement in life. They don’t find their passion. It’s in the realm of the uncertainty that you find all the passion in life. That’s where all the juice is.

And if you keep trying to do everything the same way to hang on to what you’ve got, you have no life.

KING: Are there — do you believe some people enjoy misfortune?

ROBBINS: Yes, because when you feel bad, what you do is connect with yourself. I believe there are six human needs that all human beings have. I’ve been now, fortunately, with about three million people in seminars, and I’ve been with God knows how many people beyond that in many forums. And I don’t care what country you go to, we have different beliefs, different values, same needs. We need certainty, so we work hard to get it. Some do it by controlling everybody. Some do it by operating from a frame of reference, saying you’re wrong, and I’m right, I don’t care what anybody says. We need uncertainty. We need to have surprise. We need to have variety. These two go in conflict. We need a feeling that our lives are significant and important.

We also need to feel unique. We also need to feel connected. We need to grow, and we need to contribute. And whatever people do, whether they take out a gun and shoot kids in Columbine or whether they visit with the president or whether they do a talk show, they’re doing it for a reason, one or more of these reasons. They’re getting something. They’re getting a connection of love. They’re getting a sense of significance. Their life has meaning. They’re getting some sense of variety, of surprise in their life. They’re getting a sense of certainty that, hey, they can make things happen. Maybe their growing, maybe their contributing. The more needs you meet, the more you do it. Smoking can meet those needs. Joining a gang could meet those needs. Going out and helping people in your community could meet those needs. It’s all choices…”

End of Transcript

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