Hack the Holidays | Hack #15 - Use the Future to Dictate Your Present
We’re five days away from the flipside of a new leaf. We know, we know. “I say this every year, and I’m still where I started.”
Well we want you to know that your past does NOT have to dictate your future. For New Year's Resolutions, use your future to dictate your present. In other words, the right goal - when committed to, revisited, and tracked properly - can inspire and change today’s behavior.
Here are three minor (but majorly effective) hacks that will turn your goals into habits this year:
Get a lawyer to approve your goals. The old “eat healthier” schtick doesn’t cut it, and it never has. The mind does not solve vague problems or accomplish general goals. A commitment to “eat healthy” wouldn’t hold up in a court of law and it won’t hold up for you in 2022. Here’s a better way to write and commit to a goal like this: “On or before December 25, 2022 I will have eaten 1,000 servings of vegetables.”
Shape your environment. Willpower dwindles. You can count on it failing you. So instead of relying on willpower to avoid something like making frivolous purchases at the store, shape your environment to make the decision for you. Example: shop online and pay beforehand for pickup, then go to the store without your wallet. If you see something you really must have, you can always go home to get your wallet later. If it’s 1000 servings of vegetables before Dec. 25, make sure there are always some cut up and near eye-level in the fridge or displayed on the counter. See Hack #8, Willpower is for Amateurs for more on this.
Track and celebrate every win. Neurologically speaking, you will do more of any behavior that produces dopamine. As silly as it sounds, small check marks and little fist pumps are enough for a dopamine micro shot. Tracking helps you stay honest, encourages the behavior (don’t break the streak!) and improves performance. Here’s a very useful habit tracking app called Habitify to help you own your goals this year.
As trite as it may sound, 2022 is new. It’s an opportunity. You’re in a perfect place to seize that opportunity. Do not form your future from your past. Form your present using the picture of your future.