Happy New Year, faithful Readers Doin’ Work! 2012 is in the rearview mirror and now we can focus all of our attention to the year ahead. If you’re like most people, you probably created a traditional list of New Year’s Resolutions that you hope to tackle in 2013. Well, I’m here to tell you that I don’t gave a rat’s ass about your resolutions.
By now you should know that I’m a straight-shooter and I don’t sugarcoat anything. Because this post will set the tone for the entire year, I feel an even stronger need to be as clear as possible with my words.
Do NOT set typical New Year’s Resolutions. Set New Year’s Commitments.
If you want to make significant changes in your life, you have to do two things:
1) Set measurable goals.
2) Commit to those goals.
If you already are doing both of these things, then allow me to be the first to give you props.
If you’re like most people who set resolutions in early January and forget about them before Valentine’s Day, then you need to hear what I have to say.
#1 – Make them measurable: Does your list of resolutions look like this? I hope not.
“Being fit” is not a measurable goal. Losing 25 lbs by July 1, 2013 is a measurable goal.
“Being happier” is not a measurable goal. Going on a date with your spouse every Friday night is a measurable goal.
I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.
We all want to be happy, fit, etc. but these things have completely different meanings for you and for me. The bottom line is that you’ll have no idea if you’re making progress or not if you don’t make your
resolutions goals measurable. The more general your goals are, the easier it is for you to punk out on them (and yourself).
#2- Why do you want this? There are two types of motivators: Push and Pull. Pull motivators are ones that lead you to a desired outcome (living in a nicer neighborhood, creating a popular blog, etc.) and Push motivators lead you away from current undesirable situations (leaving your shitty job, being sick of not being able to fit into any of your old clothes). In other words – one motivates by using desires and one motivates by using pain. No matter what it is, you must determine your reason for wanting to achieve your goals, and you’ll be surprised by how many people skip this step. It’s not merely good enough to say that you have a goal. You must determine why you want to do this. Once you determine why, you’ll also need to determine how badly do you want it. If it’s not important enough, you will quit just like 99% of people who create New Year’s Resolutions. If it is important enough, you’ll commit to it. It’s that simple.
#3 – What happens if you quit? This is a critical question to ask, but few people do. For example, pick one of your
resolutions goals for this year. Have you given any thought to what your life would be like if you quit and didn’t accomplish it? If not, take a moment to do that right now. I can wait.
If your answer is anything other than, “My life will be significantly worse off if I quit or don’t accomplish this goal,” then your goal is a crappy one and you need to go back to the drawing board. Here’s an example: I live in Los Angeles, and practically everyone in this city speaks Spanish. I want to learn Spanish because I think it would make life easier for me if I do. However, it’s not a goal of mine, because quite frankly my life will be pretty damn good whether I learn the language or not. In other words, I’m interested in learning Spanish, but I’m definitely not committed to it.
To use another personal example, I have elevated cholesterol. It’s not to the point where I need medication, but it’s at the point where it has my full attention. One of my commitments this year is lower my cholesterol to a certain level and keep it there. So basically that means that I have to eat less crappy food and continue to exercise regularly.
I asked myself the question of what happens if I quit, and my answer was a simple one: I could die of a stroke, heart attack, etc. and not be there for my family. Again, that gets my full attention, and it motivates me to commit to my goal even when I don’t feel like it – which leads me to my next point.
#4 – Will you continue when shit gets hard? A funny thing happens once you travel down the road to commitment: You do that shit even when it’s the last thing in the world you want to do.
There’s a driving snowstorm and you still go to the gym to workout.
You’re really hungry, but you decide to drive five miles to the supermarket to buy ingredients for a salad instead of hitting the McDonalds drive-thru around the corner.
You’re at a party and people around you are smoking – but you decide to chomp the shit out of a piece of gum instead of lighting up a cigarette.
When everyone with a functioning mouth tells you that you can’t reach your goal, you keep grinding and hustling, because you know that they’re going to look like complete assholes once you actually reach it.
That’s what true commitment is.
You don’t fall victim to temptation, you don’t fall victim to laziness, and you don’t fall victim to lame excuses. Nothing gets in the way of the commitments you made to yourself. Nothing.
Remember my friend Hera who lost her 15-month old son tragically in October? I can’t begin to imagine the amount of pain she’s dealing with. The devastation of her son dying is more than enough – but she’s also dealing with people attacking her character while she fears for her own personal safety. I’d probably say that the vast majority of people would want to curl up and die, but Hera is not like most people. She is committed to getting justice for her son, no matter how hard shit gets – and shit is fucking hard for her, trust me. The level of admiration and respect I have for this woman cannot be expressed in words.
Here’s another real life example: As many of you remember, my good friend Wade passed away due to cancer in November. I flew from California to Massachusetts for the extremely emotional memorial service and I didn’t know if I’d be able to publish my customary Tuesday morning blog post in time, and it really, really bothered me. Many of my readers were like, “Dude, seriously? It’s a blog. You lost a childhood friend to cancer. Take the week off and recover. We’ll be here for you whenever you’re ready.”
My response? “That’s unacceptable. Outside of major holidays (like Christmas last Tuesday), I’m committed to publishing a new blog post every Tuesday no matter what – even when that shit gets hard.” So when I got home from the funeral, did I go to sleep? Nope. I pulled an all-nighter and published my favorite post to date that following morning.
I don’t get paid a dime for writing this blog, so my commitment to it isn’t money-motivated. Before this DDW thing even came to light, I promised myself that I would not start it unless I was fully committed to publishing new content every week, regardless of the circumstances around me. Raging migraines, lack of sleep, stress at work, writer’s block, etc. act as speed bumps instead of roadblocks when you’re committed to something.
Any idiot can follow through with their goals when things are easy. However, if you’re not prepared to commit to your goals during the tough times, don’t even bother starting. Seriously. Don’t.
I’m passionate about the New Year’s Resolution topic because I know from personal experience about what it’s like to create resolutions and quit a few weeks (or days) later. Sure it feels good to write a list of things you want to accomplish in the new year and share them with your friends and family, but it’s a completely meaningless exercise unless you do whatever it takes to commit to them for the long haul. The aforementioned tips above work for me, and I promise they will for you too if you use them (trust me, if I can do it – anyone can do it).
Commitment is absolutely critical to achieving anything meaningful in life, and all of us are committed to something right now.
You’re committed to your spouse, right? If a super-attractive person wanted to play a game of “hide the salami” with you, you’d decline because you’re committed to your husband/wife (that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t have sex with that person a 100 times in your own mind, but you’d never act on it in real life).
You’re committed to your kids, right? When they’re driving you bat-shit crazy on a daily basis, is there a doubt in your mind that you’d put your life on the line if it meant protecting them? Of course not.
Many of you are also committed to your faith and to your jobs – so don’t you think you should be committed to YOU, as well? In 2013 (and in every year, for that matter), you need to make New Year’s Commitments. Nothing is more important than being the best person you can be for your loved ones, and it starts and ends with commitment.
That said, your first homework assignment is to take a look at your list of
resolutions goals and separate the things you’re interested in from the things you plan to be committed to. Are you merely interested in quitting smoking in 2013 (meaning, instead of smoking everyday – you’ll only smoke on weekends or during social events) or are you committed to quitting smoking completely (meaning you will not put a lung dart to your lips ever again no matter what the circumstances are)?
Commitment is all or nothing, and the choice is yours.
Please understand something: commitment is NOT easy. As a matter of fact, it will be the hardest thing you’ll ever do in your life. However, the end result will make you a much better and happier person.
So as the case is every year, I will notice a crapload of new faces at my gym over the course of the next few days and I will notice that many of them will drop like flies. Why? Because they’re only interested in improving their fitness, but won’t put in the requisite effort needed to be committed. However, there will be a few new faces who will become permanent fixtures because they’re committed. The “Gym of Life” is no different.
Scrap your resolutions and make commitments. You don’t need a damn calendar to do this. Do it now.
If 2012 was a shitty year for you, I hope that you’re committed to doing whatever it takes to flip the script and make 2013 epic. If 2012 was a great year for you, I challenge you to make 2013 even better.
One thing I can promise you is that 2013 will be the best year of my life and I want it to be for you too.
You can bet your ass that I’m committed.