Maybe you made New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you didn’t but still made an internal commitment to yourself about that thing you’ve put off for too long. This is the year, right?
Here’s why you’ll quit.
- You added something but didn’t take anything away: We each have 24 hours in a day and they are packed already. If your goal is to add something, you must take something else away. Have a goal to do something? Great. Now make an agreement with yourself to give up something else.
- You told someone: There is research that shows that when we share a positive goal (a goal to do something), it provides us with the feelings and emotions of actually accomplishing the goal, leading to less motivation to actually do anything. Solution? Don’t share positive goals. However, sharing a negative goal (losing weight, quitting smoking) can help as it provides strong external accountability.
- You didn’t feel anything: If a goal doesn’t fill you with strong emotions when you think about it, it’s worthless. Goals work because they have the capacity to drive and focus emotions towards behavior change. If you don’t feel, you’ll quit. Derek Sivers says it best here.
- You forgot “cue, routine, reward”: Charles Duhigg details the steps to changing a habit in The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. This may be the single best way to NOT quit this year.
- It’ll get hard: One month from now, you won’t feel like it. It’ll get hard, you’ll receive criticism, progress will slow down, and you’ll walk blindly into Reason # 6. (Spoiler alert: it’s supposed to be hard if you’ve chosen goals that matter. No one gets to the end and remarks proudly on all the easy things they’ve accomplished.)
- You’ll rationalize it away: You don’t really want the goal do you? You’ll tell yourself all the logical reasons it’s not meant for you. You aren’t smart enough, tough enough, motivated enough, in the right job, state, country, healthy enough…you’re just not enough. So you’ll quit.
- Your goal is not visible: You wrote down a goal and it’s in a Word document or hidden in that journal. If you want to quit, keep it there. However, if it’s important, make it visible. Put it in 72 point font on your office wall. Tape it to your dashboard and to the back of your phone. Put a copy in your wallet and make it your screensaver. Look at it every morning and before bed at night.
Knowing why you’ll quit might just help you pull it off and succeed.
Will you quit?