Rules for Life

Keep Resolutions Like Rocky.

Eighty percent of people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions, according to U.S. News & World Report. Most people lose their resolve by mid-February. Even more discouraging is the fact that only nine percent of people actually achieve their goals for the New Year. Don’t worry; your big bro has your back. To help you stay on course and give you a shot at living your best life, we’ve included five ways to keep your resolutions as we kick off the roaring twenties.

In an effort to keep things relevant, pretend you’re a world champion Italian boxer who’s best friend was recently killed in the ring by a steroid-fueled Russian monster, and your goal is to beat this commie bastard in front of his home crowd.

1. Make it realistic: Don’t listen to your annoying wife when she tells you that you can’t win. You know deep in your heart that you can knock him out. It’s not like you’re fighting an alien, monster, or entire army!

For most of us regular folks, if you’re earning $68k per year with $30k in savings and your goal is to be a millionaire in 2020, you’d better have a keen ability to pick lotto numbers. It’s unlikely that this goal is realistic in a 365 day time frame. Nothing is more discouraging than consistently falling short of your goals, or missing your goals by such a comically wide margin. You’re more likely to continue pursuing your goal if it’s achievable. More realistic resolutions would be:

  • Double my savings in one year
  • Start a new, higher paying job
  • Open a high interest savings account

2. Build a plan within your control: Having a realistic goal is cool, but how will you get there? You should lay out steps to build towards that goal. Create your game plan in advance. Make sure everything you strive for is actually within your control. If it’s not, find something closely related to it that you actually can impact, and write it down. To beat “Death from Above”, you’ll need to gain speed and strength as you train. You’ll also need to focus just on him, with no distractions. Isolate yourself in Siberia. Bring your dead buddy’s trainer to lay out a program. Train to awesome music.

For regular folks, equate this to the following scenario: If your goal is to save an additional $30k, do the math and figure out that it means $2,500 per month needs to be socked away. Set up a direct deposit with your employer that automatically deposits $625 per week. Revise your budget to cut some unnecessary expenses. If you put this cash into a high yield savings, you may only need to set aside $28,500 because, with interest, you’ll actually have about $30k.

3. Pick One: Sometimes people have this kooky notion that they will recreate themselves and completely transform all in one year. Health, wealth, love and relationships aren’t created overnight. These are lifestyle changes that evolve over time. Each require focus and a ton of energy to achieve. Creating multiple resolutions will distract you, decreasing your chances for achieving any of them. Do some reflecting and figure out what’s most important, then go with that one resolution. Everything else should be built around one goal. You can’t fight Clubber Lang, Tommy Gunn AND Ivan Drago all in the same year, right?

4. Write it down: This is the best way to hold yourself accountable. It’s similar to writing a contract with yourself. After you write it down, post it somewhere close-by so that you’ll see it daily. Let it be your morning kick in the ass! It’s hard to ignore something staring you in the face every day.

5. Share it with family and friends: There’s no better support system than the people around you, and filling them in on your goals for the new year can help you stay the course in moments of weakness. If you’re trying to lose weight and your best friend knows that, maybe they’ll remind you to order the salad instead of the chicken parm. Better yet, maybe they‘ve also committed to a health and fitness resolution, and they want to join you in the gym. Having a training partner never hurt. Bring your brother-in-law along to Siberia.

Welcome your wife when she makes the trip. Give Duke a reason to smile, since defeating this giant Russian is his goal, too.

These are some of the most common New Year’s resolutions, but all need to be more quantified. Revise these goals so you’ll actually achieve them:

“I will make better financial decisions in 2020” / change this to: I will create a personal budget for 2020 and I will stick to it. My personal spending limit per month is $1,500, and I will save $2,500 monthly. Any purchase over 5% of my salary will be discussed with a financial planner.

“I want to lose weight next year” / change this to: I want to lose 15 pounds, and I’ll do this by dropping 1.25 pounds per month. I will weigh in every Saturday morning. To achieve this, I will work out 4x per week, limit and track caloric intake to 1,700 per day, and walk at least 30 minutes straight per day. I will eat no fried food in 2020.

“I will spend more time with friends and family” / change this to: I will make plans to see family twice per month, and friends once per week. I will set plans at least one week in advance so that my calendar doesn’t fill up.

“I’m going to work out more next year” / change this to: I will work out at the gym at least four times per week, for at least 45 minutes per session. I will track all activity in my fitness app, and I will find a training partner to join me at least once per week. If I fall short one week, I will make up that time the following week.

“I want to find the love of my life in 2020”/ change this to: I will go on more dates than I did in the past. My goal is four dates per week. I will achieve this by joining okcupid, bumble and hinge. I set aside 30 minutes daily to check these apps and respond to messages. I will not waste time dating people who are not marriage material. They must have X, Y, Z qualities for me to continue dating them.

Good luck in 2020. Stay strong, and keep that eye of the tiger!

– Your Big Bro