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How to make sure your resolutions fail

Deanna Keahey  ·  Jun 20, 2010  ·  12 Comments

I made a New Month's Resolution for this month to write and publish 30 items, either on this website or elsewhere.  Since we just passed the middle of the month, I took stock of how I'm doing on it. . . 

On the downside, no A report card so far! :(   On the upside, I've identified 5 simple rules to make sure your resolutions fail.smiley

Failure is achievable - you can do it!

Failure is achievable - you can do it!

5 Simple rules to achieving failure

arrow Don't allocate time in your schedule for new tasks.  Simple, and so effective!  I have a very full work schedule, that goes until after midnight most nights.  Why not add a resolution to do daily writing, without changing the schedule?  Saying "every day from 9 to 10" would be far too simple - introducing a recurring scheduling dilemma is much more effective. While this rule on its own won't guarantee failure, it's a big step in the right (wrong?) direction!

arrow Make your new tasks as big as possible. This fits hand in glove with the rule above.  It's not such a big deal if 15-minute tasks aren't scheduled.  But give yourself tasks that could easily take 1/2 day each, and then try to squeeze them into a full schedule - now we're talking!  You can easily expand the work with a couple of judicious words - for example, "write and publish".  Those extra two words add all the time needed to find graphics, quotes, links, do formatting and testing.  See what I mean?

arrow Avoid setting clear priorities. The recurring schedule dilemmas are much more fun if you can also question the priority of your resolution several times a day.  Whenever you think about working on it, just say "is this really more important than issue X that is sitting in front of me?"  Every time you ask this question and the answer falls in favor of issue X, your failure probability goes up!

arrow Add other big changes at the same time. Simply put, the more things you try to change at the same time, the greater your chance of failure.  So if you started the month with a single resolution, like writing something every day, find something else you can add to the mix. Perhaps this is also a good time to start a new exercise program.  And why not start getting up a few hours earlier, too?

So tired...  Can't go on...

So tired... Can't go on...

arrow Minimize your physical capacity. The more energy you have, the more you can accomplish. For the purpose of failure, aim for the opposite.  One possibility I can recommend, is starting a kick-butt bootcamp workout, so early that you need to get up about the time you're used to going to bed.  The schedule change will mean you're always tired, and an aggressive workout can leave every muscle in your body aching.  With physical and mental deterioration like this, just watch your results sink through the floor!

Note: Be careful about working out. If done on a regular basis, it can actually lead to the opposite results, increasing your energy, focus, and capacity. When you're looking for the way to failure, avoid that consistency - you want big changes, all at the same time.

That's it! With these 5 simple rules, you can set yourself up for almost certain failure, on any resolution or goal. See how easy that is?

Plenty of lessons learned here! I'm working on course corrections to try to salvage my monthly resolution, but I sure set it up for failure! I think I may have a hidden talent here, since I wasn't even trying - all these rules just came naturally!smiley

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Categories: Life experiments · Observations
Posted from:   Tucson, AZ      Photo credit:   Failure: amboo who? (flickr), Sleepy: Caitlinator (flickr)

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kim // Jun 20, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Very informative! I will begin failing immediately! :0)

  • 2 Deanna Keahey // Jun 20, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Kim - It's really not that hard, if you put your mind to it! (-;

  • 3 Who Else Wants To Go Camping? // Jun 21, 2010 at 1:00 am

    [...] How to make sure your resolutions fail [...]

  • 4 Tweets that mention How to make sure your resolutions fail -- // Jun 21, 2010 at 9:57 am

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Deanna Keahey, Adventurous Wench. Adventurous Wench said: 5 simple steps: How to make sure your resolutions fail (-: [...]

  • 5 Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor // Jun 21, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Hehehe! Although I am great at getting lots done, I am definitely awesomer (excellent word Eh?) at Failing when it comes to New Resolutions! I have pretty much 'nailed' every one of your 5 Rules perfectly! Glad to see you are a high achiever at Failing too! :-)

  • 6 Deanna Keahey // Jul 16, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Cindy - Love "awesomer" - I think I'll have to borrow that one from you! :-)

  • 7 Ray // Aug 4, 2010 at 5:38 am

    Great points! Why is it that we always seem to either not try hard enough at all or bite off way more than we can chew?

  • 8 Costa Rica // Aug 5, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    jajaja very interesting and true

  • 9 Deanna Keahey // Aug 10, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Ray - You're so right, and often it's at the same time - biting off more than we can chew in area A, while not devoting enough effort in area B. Not a recipe for success! (-:

  • 10 Joan Kingsley // Nov 17, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Thank you! This article is humorous and realistic at the same time. I'd give this a try to sabotage my diet resolutions.. :D

  • 11 Abbygail Medina // Nov 19, 2010 at 9:56 am

    I can't wait to show this list to my mom! I feel better about myself now Deanna! Thanks! :)

  • 12 Percy // Dec 28, 2010 at 6:51 am

    Thank you for uplifting me! Now I know am really good at something. :-p

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