Just 8% of people keep their New Year’s resolutions, how to escape?

By William Thomas Knight

Let me be straight with you: you won’t keep your New Year’s resolution. In fact, you’ll likely raise the white flag by February.

I know, because I’ve made resolutions, too. Hi, my name is William, and I’m a New Year’s resolution-maker. That is to say… before I swallowed the red pill. Now, I look at things in a different way, and I think you should, too.

There is one caveat to all this: If you read this article, there is no turning back. If you stop now, the story ends, you continue making resolutions and believing whatever you want to believe. But if you read on, you discover the truth, and I show you how the elite succeed in following through on their decisions.

A new year brings renewed hope and motivation. So, why is it that research from the University of Scranton suggests just 8% of people keep their New Year’s resolutions? And it’s not only ordinary, everyday people like you and me who are vulnerable. I’ve coached some of the most ambitious executives in North America, and they also—at one time or another—suffered the same fate.

So what is it that separates the 8% who succeed? Simple: they shift their focus from their goal to their behavior.

If you get this right, you’ll be able to both meet and surpass your goals, make consistent progress, and elevate your life. If you get it wrong, you’ll fail to maintain consistency, fall short of your goals, and one day look back at this period of your life with regret over what “could have been.”

In short, you shouldn’t be satisfied unless you reach (or, dare I say, exceed) your potential. There is something within that comes alive as you pursue your goals, make progress, and see your vision materialize. Even so, at one point, most of us have been deceived by clever goal-setting acronyms. SMART or SMARTER, anyone? No, it is not so CLEAR. Again, I was a casualty to these easy-to-remember goal-setting strategies, too. In fact, I delivered seven SMARTER speeches in 2019, that, in hindsight, didn’t embody the goal-setting acronym’s definition, no matter how articulate or well-intentioned the speech I gave.

I know what you’re thinking. “But goal setting is crucial!” Agreed. To arrive at our destination, we first must know where we want to go. But what these savvy acronyms lack is focus. Instead of focusing on the end destination, we must shift our focus to the behavior.

As a matter of fact, one simple formula could lead towards your best year yet:

The Red Pill = Behavior + Intensity

Behavior is plainly and simply the objective that will create the most significant results. For example, if you want to lead in your industry, the underlying behavior may be content creation.

Intensity is the manner in which you perform the behavior. When you’re working, for example, do you leave yourself open to distractions (visual, auditory, etc.)? Or, do you eliminate all diversions to focus solely on the execution of the most important task?

Some researchers call this type of effort deliberate practice, deep work, or intense focus. No matter the name, in the distraction-filled world we live in today, this type of work is growing rare at the exact same time it is becoming increasingly valuable.

This year, take the red pill. Avoid regret. Gain consistency. Achieve your potential.

Resolve to identify the most important behavior(s) that will lead you to accomplish your goal. Then, work with an intensity that will make you best-in-class.

Remember: you won’t keep your new year’s resolution. But by taking the red pill, you’ll likely surpass your biggest goals.

Hi, my name is William, and I’m a New Year’s behavior-maker. What about you?