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How to make this year special

How to make this year special?

Happy new year everyone. This year is going to be special. 

Well, I guess every year will be special on the 1st of January. It’s the magic of every beginning. Most things look shiny when started. Sure, they will get tough before they become easy. But I am optimistic, so this year will probably truly be special.

Starting mid of December, many people already started thinking about the new year. We consider things, we didn’t achieve last year. We dream about things, we would love to achieve this year. And we set goals.

Unfortunately, many of these goals will not be achieved. Remember loosing weight and doing more sport? One reason is, that we have goals, but lack plans.

Goals and plans

A goal is something you want to achieve. It’s easier said than done. Even if we make SMART goals.

“I want to loose weight” is a goal.

“I want to loose 5 kg of body fat until beginning of July to look good at the beach” is a SMART goal.

A plan on the other side is a desciption of actions you are going to do.

“I will eat less then 2000 calories per day” is a plan

“I will:

  1. consume less then 2000 calories per day
  2. go jogging for 30 minutes every Tuesday and Thursday
  3. gain at least 50% of my calories from vegetables (not including potatos)”

is a more detailed plan.

“A failure to plan is a plan to fail.”

Having a plan increases the likelihood of achieving your goals drastically. It’s the difference of knowing your destination and having a route to go there.

However, a goal and a plan are not enough as well. And as this blog is a lot about human decision making, you may know what comes next.

What makes someone choose a new solution?

Sticking to a plan, everyday, requires you to gain new habbits. Habbits are actions performed on a regular basis. New habbits replace old habbits. There is always an old habbit to replace, even if it’s doing nothing. “Netflix and chill” is a habbit.

If you want to replace it, it helps to think of habbits as products. Products, that you buy with your time. And understand, that the new habbit-product, “jogging”, must compete against the old one. You need to buy “jogging ” instead of “Netflix and chill” with your time. This is a regular purchase decision, just like any other made with money. 

Why did you buy “netflix and chill”? What did you gain from it in the past?

There is an emotional component to it. Like “it helps me to unwind”.

Think of social components as well. Time spent with your partner. Or being up to date on shows when talking with your friends.

There might be a limiting context as well. You can Netflix and chill, while your little child sleeps. Going for a run requires someone else to be around.

So you need to adress these. And prepare accordingly. “jogging” needs certain features. “Jogging with a friend” is a similar product with different features. But maybe one, that you will buy with your time. Because of the social component. Appropriate gear is a feature, that can adress different fears you have like “what if the weather is bad?” or “fear of injury”.

Summary

If you have a goal, make a plan. If you have a plan, make sure, you will take the actions. A great way to do this, is to think of actions as products bought with your time. 

Make sure, your plan contains only actions that you will actually buy.

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