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The 3-Step Process to Achieve Your New Years Resolutions the Asian Efficiency Way

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A new year has just rolled out. Your new years resolutions have been set. You are motivated to make this the best year ever.

But the sad truth is that majority of people quit on their new years resolution within the first couple of weeks.

That’s not Asian Efficient. That has to change. I don’t want you to be part of that group.

I’m going to show you the Asian Efficiency way of rocking your new years resolution that will guarantee you will achieve them. In fact, it’s really simple but it requires a very different way of approaching it.

1. Focus on the System

The reason 99% of new years resolution fail is because there is no plan of action. A new years resolution without an action plan is merely a wish.

People want to lose weight but then have no idea how to do that. People want to quit smoking but are clueless on where to start. No wonder they fail.

If you want to belong to the 1% category of people who achieve their new years resolutions you need to do something counter-intuitive: forget about your new years resolution.

“Say what?”

Yes, you read that correctly. Forget about new years resolutions. Forget about goals. Forget about achieving that thing you most desire.

What I want you to do is focus on something else – your system. Focus on your plan of action that will propel you to move forward and keeps you heading in the right direction.

So don’t focus on what you want to achieve or your end result. Focus on the system that will eventually get you where you want to be.

You have to make this reframe in your head. Don’t think about the new years resolution. Think about the system. The system is what will get you the result. Or a quote I always refer back to is, “motivation gets you started, a habit keeps you going.”

Here are a couple examples of reframes:

New Years Resolution: write a book
System: write a 1,000 words every day

New Years Resolution: become more productive
System: implement one chapter of AE Primer every Monday

New Years Resolution: speak conversational Japanese
System: practice Japanese 4x a week

Don’t think about the new years resolution. Think about the system. You have to make this reframe in your head and once you do, chances are you’ll achieve anything you want as long as you focus on the system.

(Of course it’s okay to think about your new years resolution. It’s the starting point that you will use to figure out what your system is. But remember, don’t focus on the goal. Focus on the system. That is what will get you in that small group of people who actually will achieve their new years resolution.)

For more inspiration and info, check out this video where Aaron talks about his personal systems and further explains why systems are important.

Also, for a good book on this topic, check out How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams (hat tip to Charles Ngo).

2. Marry the System and Calendar

Once you have your system figured out, the second step is to use your calendar in conjunction with the system.

Think of it as playing cupid. You are going to set up the first date for the system and calendar to meet each other. In fact, you’ve got the whole first date planned in detail and all they have to do is meet each other.

This is where you want to combine the system with specific actions at a specific time and day. The more specific you are, the higher the chances you will stick to it.

Instead of committing to “write 1,000 words every day”, commit to “write 1,000 words every day at 9am” and pencil that in your calendar.

If your system is to implement one chapter of AE Primer every Monday, schedule a repeating appointment every Monday at 1pm for an hour to work the system.

If your system is to practice Japanese 4x a week, schedule in every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 7pm to work the system.

Once you know what your system is, go over to your calendar and get specific how you will work the system. Remember, be specific.

To get more mileage out of your calendar, check out the following posts:

3. Use the Inevitability Mindset

One of the secret sauces to maintaining systems is to use our Inevitability Mindset.

Simply put, set up the system in a way that makes it inevitable to do the right thing (in this case – working the system). Extract the human element out of the system as much as possible so that you don’t rely on willpower to run the system. You simply run the system because there is no other option. It’s inevitable.

If your system is to write a 1,000 words every day at 9am, how can you make it inevitable that it will happen? You could setup strategic reminders. You could have an accountability partner call you every day at 8:55am. You could plan the night before what you are going to write about.

The possibilities are endless but the Inevitability Mindset’s purpose is simple: set up your system so it is inevitable that you work the system.


Achieving any new years resolution, or goal, can be simple when you follow these three steps:

  1. Forget about new years resolutions. Focus on the system.
  2. Marry the System and Calendar. Be super specific with your time, day and what you will do.
  3. Use the Inevitability Mindset. Make it inevitable that you run the system.

Let us know in the comments below how you are going to use this for your new years resolution. We’ll chip in with tips and advice.

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Posted by Christopher James  | February 5, 2014 at 9:39AM | Reply

LOL at Marry the System and Calendar. I’m so going to follow these tips.

Posted by Tim  | January 30, 2014 at 3:21AM | Reply

very useful article. to focus on the system/process instead of the big goal is really important. if you focus on the progress, the noone can stop you from doing the next step. but if you focus just on the big goal, then you could get overwhelmed by the gap, by the work that needs to be put in.

i myself had troubles to use my calendar more. i really like the flexibility to do stuff when i want. ofc this makes procrastinating so much easier. to solve that i want to implement a system that’s the direct opposite to procrastination. something along the lines: “what is the earliest time by which i can finish this?”. to just go for it.

sounds silly, but if this is the default mindset, then even nonurgent activities get done fast. this makes much more room for failure-tolerance which makes a business more flexible in shortterm and more stable in the longterm. but this approach does need to plan breaks and freetime. instead of planning how long you can work, you need to plan when to make a break and when to not work anymore, when to shut down your mind. maybe this is complete BS, but atm it sounds good to me and it’s worth a try.

Posted by Aaron Lynn  | January 31, 2014 at 4:27AM

Good insight with the breaks :)

Overwork is just as bad as under-work!

Posted by Wynxz  | January 3, 2014 at 7:48PM | Reply

Agree. This year I have no excitement for new year resolution at all since I have set all up the daily habits I want to achieve for the year in Dec 13. The tip of marrying the system with calendar is excellent. Will apply that!

Posted by Kosio Angelov  | January 3, 2014 at 2:54PM | Reply

Happy New Year to Asian Efficiency!

Love the idea about the re-framing the resolution into system!

One thing to add that I think can make it even easier to follow through – start small and gradually build up. If you go from 0 to 1000 words overnight, you might overwhelm yourself. Do 100 the first day, 250 the next, 350 and so on till you hit your goal of 1000 words per day.

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