How to Crush Your New Year's Resolutions

How to Crush Your New Year's Resolutions

By Exo Team on Jan 04, 2019

It’s a new year, and everyone here at Exo has decided to kick some bad habits, or adapt new fulfilling ones. But we don't want short-lived gains. We want enduring transformation. We are so motivated to crush our goals this year that we spent a lot of time researching, studying...

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It’s a new year, and everyone here at Exo has decided to kick some bad habits, or adapt new fulfilling ones. But we don't want short-lived gains. We want enduring transformation. We are so motivated to crush our goals this year that we spent a lot of time researching, studying, and thinking how to make that happen. We wanted to share our best advice and tips with you because we are in this together. Here goes! 

  1. If you want to eat your goals for breakfast, make sure they are bite-sized: This does not mean you shouldn’t be audacious or dream big. It just means you should deconstruct your big dream into several smaller, readily more achievable, goals. The main reason has to do with our brain. 

    Our brains are wired to increase the chances that we will engage in activities that bring us pleasure. Every time a healthy, pleasurable experience occurs, our brain releases a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine activates the circuitry in our brain that gives us that euphoric rush of feeling good. But dopamine does something even more clever and enduring. Acting somewhat like a bookmark, it alters the circuitry of the brain to allow us to concentrate more and better remember the behavior or activity that led us to feel good. This greatly increases the odds that we will repeat this behavior in the future with less effort. Success breeds success. This is why biologists aptly name this the “Winner-Effect”.  

    Small hops of consistent progress are better than giant leaps that cannot be sustained. By breaking up your grand ambition into smaller goals, you are essentially hacking your brain. You are more likely to attain success because you made each goal far more manageable, but also because each success will create the positive reinforcement conditions to catalyze the next success. This virtuous cycle is so critical to habit formation. 

    Setting the bar too high, paradoxically, can have the opposite effect. The higher the bar, the higher the chances of failure. Each failure has the potential to starve your brain of this feel-good, confidence-boosting dopamine. This not only deprives you of a desirable sensation, but it also inhibits your concentration, making it more difficult to remember what led you to fail in the first place.
      
  2.  Share your goals with someone who will hold you accountable. To be clear, we are not recommending you broadcast your goals on Facebook or shout them from the rooftops. In fact, we explicitly implore you not to do this. Not just because it’s totally un-Exo of you, but also because a study published about a decade ago shows that this can have the premature and self-deluding effect of leading you to believe you already made it. 

    However, we recommend sharing your goals with one person in your life that you empower to hold you accountable. This is to help you stay on track and make sure that someone is there to keep you honest about your progress. 


  3. Help your goals help you: When a life-saving organ is transplanted from a donor to a recipient, it is critical to make sure the blood types match to avoid a rejection of the graft by the receiving body. In essence, you have to trick the body into thinking that this foreign organ always belonged.

    Similarly, you have to camouflage your goals and slip them into your lifestyle with minimal disruption and upheaval. This will reinforce the feeling that the change is natural and not abrupt.

    Say you want to read one book every month in 2019. Rather than having to carve out unique time on your nights and weekends to read – a change to your lifestyle that may be met with resistance – perhaps you can consider listening to audiobooks while you drive to work, go to the gym, or do chores around the house. This way, you can accomplish the same goal of “reading” while naturally fitting the activity into your existing lifestyle, rather than significantly modifying your lifestyle to accommodate a new activity.    

 

From all of us at Exo, we wish you an incredibly prosperous, successful, and positively life-changing 2019.

 

Let’s #crushit together.

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