Chapter 12

One of the most memorable productivity experiments I have done for A Year of Productivity is meditate for 35 hours in one week, and throughout that experiment I couldn’t stop thinking about an old Buddhist parable that goes, “your actions are your only true belongings, a they’re the ground upon which you stand”.

This guidebook contains everything you need to keep your resolutions, but only if you actually do what’s written in these pages. When it comes to making real, substantial changes to your life, there is absolutely no substitute for action.

The reason most people fail to keep their resolutions is that it’s relatively easy to focus on the goal of a change instead of the logistics of what you’ll actually need to do to make the change in your life. The moment you begin to romanticize about what a change will be like more than you plan and then hunker down to actually make that change, you’ve transitioned from doing to dreaming, and you likely won’t keep your resolutions.

Don’t get me wrong–when the new year rolls around, it’s always fun to romanticize about ways to make your life better. But unless you act on a concrete plan to keep your resolutions, changes are you won’t keep them.

In my opinion, your plan should include everything written in these pages, like:

  • A way to understand the hidden costs of your resolutions
  • A breakdown of the elements that your life is comprised of, so you know exactly where your resolutions come from, and how important they are to you
  • A concrete plan to keep your resolutions that includes:
    • “SMART”, small, and challenging goals
    • A habit plan
    • A way to use the “progress trap”, peer pressure, your future self, and structure to stick to your resolutions
  • Ways you can clear your mind and cut out distractions to focus more on your goals
  • Several concrete methods you can follow to act on your goals
  • A way to take it easy on yourself and have some fun in the process

Less than twelve months from now, when you reflect on the coming year next December, you will mainly see two things in your rearview mirror: your actions, and the accomplishments that they led to.

Let’s make it a good one.

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