How NOT to make New Year Resolutions

How not to make new year resolutions
Image courtesy BazaarBizarreSF

You will be able to achieve your goals in 2012 because I will tell you the simplest way of going about it.

The idea itself is simple and that is exactly why it works.

Most people who do make new year resolutions probably have “lose weight” or “quit smoking” or “get more exercise” in there somewhere. That is a recipe for disaster. That is why, according to Tony Robbins, 80% of the people are not able to keep their resolutions.

I have a much simpler solution to this.

Do not make resolutions, make plans.

Here’s how…

The man with the plan

Do you want to be an early riser?

A resolution would be: wake up early.

That is too generic. That’s not a plan. A plan gives specifics. It is as exact as it has to be.

And one thing that separates a plan from a resolution in this context is what I call the Two Zones (I know, the phrase ‘two zones’ said even with orchestral church music in the background still doesn’t sound dramatic. It ought to be dramatic though, because these two zones are important – and they sound simple because they are purposefully simple).

I present the Two Zone Diagram:

How to get your ideas off the ground - The Two Zones Diagram

No rocket science here. Two zones. Zone “A” is where you have the idea, or have a plan. Everything else, as you can see, is in the “B Zone”. And all steps in the “B Zone” are actionable steps.

This Two Zone Diagram (ahem) is the template for getting your ideas off the ground, and one of the most valuable piece of advice to any would-be entrepreneur who feels his or her ideas can make a difference.

Stupidly simple. Just like pretty much everything else.

Here’s an example: I wanted to be an early riser. I wanted to wake up at Fajr time (Fajr is arabic for the time of dawn) to start my day. Two main reasons for this; one was the obvious Fajr Namaaz (probably had to do with the fact that I am Muslim) and the second was the overwhelming correlation between successful individuals being early risers.

I made a plan of waking up early in the morning to start my day, regardless of holidays, Sundays or whatever.

The plan failed after day one. Yes, day one. Totally failed.

So I made another plan.


Another. Then another. Then another. Fail. Fail. Then fail. This has been going on for years. Years worth of failure. That’s supposed to be a lot of baggage for them frail shoulders, no?

But then I *ahem* applied the Two Zone Diagram. I realized I was too quick to jump out of the “B Zone”. That’s where all the action is, literally.

So I kept actively searching for actions I could take to improve my attempts. Till I found this little gem of an advice by none other than Steve Pavlina. I tried it and it works.

The thing about this simple process of Two Zones is that the process is simple, yes but doesn’t mean all things will happen faster.

The exceptionally outrageously simple process of dividing my time in Two Zones helped me by letting me ask myself, “am I in the B Zone?” Whenever the answer was “No!”, I would try to do something immediately. That doing has finally led me to a solution; I now, alhumdulillah, find it very easy to wake up early.

Making your yearly plans actually work

There are just too many methods out there that teach you how to make a plan. .

How can you make Yearly Plans that actually work? I suggest that you take up one that you like and then take it for a ride, see how it pans out.

I know that I really like the flexible yet comprehensive approach of Chris Guillebeau’s Annual Review. I suggest you check it out if you are serious about progressing in the year(s) to come, financially, physically and spiritually (is there any other –ally that I missed out?)

Of course, I use a customized format, significantly different from that of Chris’ and I think Chris won’t mind.


Two days before 2012, I am planning the next twelve months and reviewing the last twelve. A lot of high points and quite a few disappointments, and both must be taken in stride.

But that’s the beauty of it all; there is always the positive and there is always the negative. Always. We have been given a choice to focus on either one. I wish you a positive focus for the coming year. God willing, the next year will be the best yet.

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