OK, how many did you make? Do you have a list? Good, now throw it away because you are going to fail. “Well Joe you are being very negative” I am not, and here’s why.

In the book, “Willpower” the authors  share, ” Above all don’t make a list of New Year’s resolutions. Each January 1, millions of  people drag themselves out of bed, full of hope or hangover, resolved to eat less, exercise more, spend less money…By February 1, they’re embarrassed to even look at their list. But instead of lamenting  their lack of willpower, they should put the blame where it belongs: on the list. No one has enough willpower for that list…A better plan is to make one resolution and stick to it.”

What’s going on here? Did you ever have a day at work where you had to work outside your strengths or skill set? You accomplished the task, but at the end of the day you were exhausted. When we have to think differently, use a different set of brain muscles if you will, the intensity drains you. Example: If  people who have a gift of hospitality plan a party, no problem. It’s joyous for them. Working in their strength energizes them as they experience an endorphin high. However, if  they do not have this gift/strength, even the idea of planning a party is a laborious pursuit. It takes much energy to pull all the pieces together, leaving one feeling spent.

Now let’s say there are several things to do outside of their strengths/skill set, such as a list of resolutions. These new tasks take new ways of thinking, making new choices, hard choices, allotting extra time and so on. What do you think will be the outcome?

Willpower involves energy and we only have so much of it. As I said earlier, throw away the list. We all need to take the authors’ advice  “… make one resolution and stick to it.” Get back to me in a year and let me know how you do.

It’s a New Year, a new day, let’s live it!


Willpower written by Roy F Baumeister and John Tierney