82. How to Make New Year’s Resolutions That Last

With the new year beginning, Connor and Brittany talk about setting goals that will help you keep all your 2021 resolutions.


Here’s a transcript of our conversation:


Brittany: Hey, Connor.

Connor: Hey, Brittany.

Brittany: Well, Before we jump in, happy New Year, Connor.

Connor: Happy New Year. Woo.

Brittany: We finished 2020. We did it. We’re still here.

Connor: We made it. Oh,

Brittany: So I know everybody right now is talking about New Year’s resolutions and goal setting and, you know, starting, a new for the new year. I’m a big fan of setting goals. I know it’s kind of like a silly thing to say cuz everybody likes achieving goals, but kind of sitting down and setting goals is kind of hard. You have to really think about what you want. So I don’t do this just in the new year. I do this all the time because I think it helps me become a better person. And everyone has different, you know, methods and strategies for resolutions and goals. And I wanted to talk about what I do with you today, and maybe Connor will share some of his goal-setting secrets with us. But Connor, you write a lot of books and I noticed you’re constantly working on a million projects at once. I can’t even keep up with everything you’re doing, so surely you have to be a New Year’s resolution, you know, goal guy

Connor: Okay. How, to say this? so what I’m gonna say is, everyone always has room for improvement. And the challenge that I find with New Years is it’s kind of like the thing to do, right? Yeah,

Brittany: Yeah.

Connor: Resolutions. Here we go. Everyone’s doing it. I’m gonna do some too. And it’s very difficult to get the follow-through. And what I’ve found over the years in my life is that setting New Year’s resolutions actually, for me personally creates a problem because I, there’s so much history where I have set resolutions and then not done it, that if I do it again, it kind of falls into that pattern.

Brittany: It just like sets your brain up for failure almost.

Connor: Yeah. Yeah. So what I try and so I’m not anti-New Year’s resolutions. In fact, you and I have some, things no doubt to share and talk about here. But the way I try and look at New Year’s resolutions is more like monthly resolutions, right?

Brittany: Ah, okay.

Connor: It’s not just, let’s do this once a year. It’s like, okay, where am I at right now? Where do I want to go? What do I need to improve? It is helpful, I think, periodically to take an even higher level view of like your whole life. What’s my five-year plan? You know, what am I doing right and wrong? And have some of those bigger questions. But in terms of like my goals and projects and things I really wanna improve on, I, try and like just find ways to constantly be asking those questions and working on them, because then I, for me personally, I’m more likely to execute, on them if I don’t treat it as, here’s an annual event, here we go again. Yeah. And then next year, like, oh, if I fail, then I get, you know, February through December off, we’ll try again next, next January. And so as long as we’re here in the new year, we got some New Year’s resolutions. I think it’s important that we think of, you know, here’s one of my ways that I approach New Year’s resolutions. I don’t do big things. I might have big goals, but I focus on small things. What are the little bite-size things that I can work on in January and February? What ball can I get rolling, right? Like, I think when we, come up with these big ideas or these big things we’re gonna do, it becomes very intimidating if we don’t plan out the specific tiny goals and steps that we’re gonna do. So it’s good to have the big aspirations, it’s good to have the big goals in mind, but if we don’t immediately kind of chop it up into little tasks and next steps, then it’s not gonna get done. And so my New Year’s resolutions, they might be some big ideas, but I’m just looking ahead and, okay, what does the next month look like? And then the next month after that, while I’m keeping in mind the big vision of where I’m trying to go. So as long as we kind of, you know, begin with the end in mind, in other words, what are the big goals that we’re trying to do, but then also here at the new year, right? Like, what do I wanna do in 2021? That’s great. Come up with some big ideas. But I think the immediate next question for me always is, and, for you might be, okay, then what am I gonna do in the next few weeks? Right? What are the next like steps? Something I’m gonna Take?

Brittany: I’m glad you bring that up because that’s one thing I, always do. So I have this bigger kind of umbrella goals, right? These big things I wanna achieve. But because you need to know where you’re going, right? You can’t set a goal and just say, I’m gonna head on this road and hope that it turns out okay, you have to have a goal in mind. You have to have a target, something you’re aiming for. But those are big things. Like, so let’s say I said write a book, I wanna write a book this year. That is not one of my resolutions, by the way. So no one hold me Accountable. If I wanted to do that. There’s so much involved in writing a book as Connor could tell you that’s almost like I’m setting myself up for failure because how am I just gonna write a book? I haven’t set up any strategy or any plan to get there. So just like you said, I like to pick big goals, like, you know, write a book or, you know, some other big thing, and then have steps I need to take. Like the first thing I need to do to make this happen, you know, for a book, maybe I need to figure out what the book’s gonna be about. I need to outline the book. I need to, you know, do research. I need to interview people. So there would be so much that would need to happen, you know? Or for a younger listeners, if you wanna get better at math, you can’t just put, I wanna get better at math and then not have a plan. You need a map, right? You need a plan to how you’re gonna get there. So maybe it’s that you were practice your multiplication table, you know, five times a day. That’s the thing, right? People practice their multiplication tables. I don’t even remember what math class is like.

Connor: I was gonna say, is that Brittany? Is that something you need to work on?

Brittany: It probably is something I need to work on, but I don’t have to

Connor: Calculator and Google. Exactly.

Brittany: And I have a Google Home. I can literally just shout out a mouth problem in the air and my house will answer. life is pretty

Connor: Good. That’s actually an interesting thing to bring up. Technology really changes things. I mean, I remember back when I was in high school graph, graphing calculators had just come out. Yes, I remember calculus and stuff, and they had some fun little games. There’s this like penguin game that you could play on ’em. And, anyways, nostalgia trip right there. But, you know, like my dad, when he was growing up, he used a slide rule and you know, the kids today are like, what the heck is that?

Brittany: Like an abacus?

Connor: It kind of, it’s like this little weird, I don’t even know how it’s used, it’s in the Smithsonian now. That’s how old it is. You can go look up on Wikipedia, that ancient device, but then technology changes things. Why is that relevant for when we’re talking about New Year’s resolutions? Well, what are the new opportunities that are coming up, right? If you, wanna write a book, well, as an example right now, there’s all kinds of ways that make it easier. There’s a website, I’m just gonna rattle off examples just to show you in this one, for example, there’s a website called upwork.com Oh yeah. Where you can find people all over the world who can do literally everything. I need an editor. I need someone to type, set the book and make it look professional. I need someone to design a book cover, right? I need etcetera, etcetera. And you can find people right on fiber, F I v e r r .com, fiber.com. You can, there’s this whole marketplace of people, Hey, for five bucks I’ll record a little trailer for you that you can share on YouTube for five bucks, I’ll, you know, design a logo for you. And you have this whole marketplace. Technology has allowed us to do things in ways that we haven’t before. And so for me, what I try and do with my goals is I think, okay, who can help me with these goals? It’s one thing to think I’m gonna do all this by myself and I’m gonna, you know, get all these things done. Like the thing with Tuttletwins, I have a team behind me, right? I’m kind of one the, you know, the face or whatever, and the author, but like, you know, I’ve got editors and I’ve got layout people and Elijah’s doing all the amazing illustrations and we got marketing people and social media people, right? And so my goals, I’m able to get other people to kinda work with me and help me achieve my goals. And so that I think is the new thing with technology where remote workers and, what are they called now? the gig economy is what it’s called. You can hire people just for a little gig, a little job,

Brittany: Like Uber And Lyft and things like that.

Connor: Yep. Yeah. And so, you know, technology has now changed how we can get things done. And so for our goals, maybe there are faster, quicker, better ways of doing things, right? That we can better achieve our goals. So that’s something I’m always trying to pay attention to. Like, is there any software out there I can use? Are there any companies that can help me? Is there any, you know, new little tool, that someone’s developed that can help me with this? And so, you know, or not, like, maybe I can make it, maybe I can hire a programmer to create this little tool that I need or things like that. Like, we shouldn’t always think that our goals that we have to like, you know, like think of Frodo, right? He’s going up to Mount Doom. He didn’t go by himself. He had Sam by him. Even when he thought he didn’t need Sam, he realized he needed Sam over and over again. And he had the whole, what are they called? The council of whatever, right? And they’re all,

Brittany: I’ve never seen Lord of the Rings go, ah,

Connor: I think you told me that on the past episode. Maybe that sounds

Brittany: I think I did.

Connor: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So ignore Britney, everyone go you, I’m about, but like, there’s that whole council of people who were all like, fighting all the orcs and all the other battles. Frodo can be left alone to, pursue his mission. The point is like, we need other people to help us. And so with your New Year’s resolutions, one way to look at it is not just how am I gonna do these things, right? There’s, a better question to ask. It’s not, how am I gonna get this done? It’s who can help me get things done. There’s a fantastic book, and I’m kind of like summarizing it right now for the adults listening. There’s an amazing book that just came out recently called Who Not How. And if you wanna know, like, my secret to productivity, I’m writing all these books and doing all these things, it’s because I’m not doing all the work myself. I, find other who’s, I find other people, right? Who’s an expert at this?

Brittany: It’s like the miraculous pencil. You need a bunch of people.

Connor: Exactly. That, you know, that’s exactly the good way to look at it. So I have these big goals, I have these big resolutions I wanna do. But if I just sit here and be like, oh, I have so many things to do to achieve that, it’s daunting, it’s overwhelming, especially for kids. It’s like, I wanna do this project. I wanna launch a business. But instead, if you say, who can help me? Maybe there’s, let’s stick with that example. Maybe you wanna start a business. Maybe there’s another entrepreneur that you know, or one of your parents knows who can be your mentor and can help you and apply their knowledge to help you run, rather than walk towards your goal, oh, hey, no, I know how to do that. Here’s the website you want to go to. Here’s the product you’re gonna want. Here’s what you’re gonna, you know, and they’ve already learned all this stuff. Tap into the knowledge of other people to help you fulfill your goals. That is my secret. And when I read that book, who, not How for the adults listening, oh my gosh, it was like light bulb moments, one after another. Like, yes, this is kind of what I’ve been doing. I have a lot of room for improvement to do even better. But, that is how we can do big things, not by ourselves, but by thinking of, okay, I have these big resolutions, these big things I wanna do, who can help me? Who can I bring in to help? And I think that’s a really healthy and productive way to look at it.

Brittany: That’s a good segue into what I wanted to ask you next, which is, do you have people or some sort of mechanism in place to keep you accountable, you know, to make sure that you’re actually doing these goals? Because I know that is, for me, that’s really important because if I don’t have people there to stay accountable to, then I won’t do things. So I don’t, does your wife help you do that?

Connor: Well, let, me first, push it back on you. So where you say, unless you have accountability, you won’t do things. What, why, is it that the accountability helps? Talk a little bit more about

Brittany: Yeah, so just to check in with someone, it’s nice to just have somebody kind of on your team, but at the same time will also kind of say you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing. So for me, that helps. And everyone has a different strategy what helps them. But I have found that that’s a good incentive for me because if I know I have to check in with someone, I’m more likely to do a task that maybe I’ve been putting off cuz it’s hard or it’s mundane or it’s difficult. but I’m more likely to do it if I know I have a check-in with someone and I have to be accountable. So for me, it’s kind of a psychological thing. It gets me, it motivates me and incentivizes me to do something.

Connor: I think a related thing here is that deadlines are important. Yes. And that’s why these broad resolutions this year, I’m gonna work on this, right? There’s no finality, there’s no deadlines. We, work well as humans with deadlines, otherwise, we procrastinate, we prioritize other things. We say, oh, I’m just so busy, even though we’re not, you know, we’re watching Netflix or Disney Plus or whatever, right? Like, and so when we have a deadline and we know that we have to get something done that is accountability. So it kind of relates. We know that someone is gonna say, Hey, I, you told me you would have this done by this date. If you have a mentor, let’s go back to the example of you’re trying to set up a little entrepreneurial business as a kid and you have a mentor in your life who’s gonna kind of coach you and help you. Right? He might say, okay, we’re gonna have weekly meetings and so by next week’s meeting you’re gonna do X, Y, and Z. Well, suddenly you know that he’s gonna hold you accountable, just like you said, Brittany. And there’s a deadline. It’s not, he’s saying, well look, we’ll have our next weekly meeting, we’ll see how far you got. I’ll kind of hold you accountable. But no, it’s like, when are you gonna have that done? And that way we, chew up our resolutions, our goals in these tiny little pieces where we can make sure, okay, by this deadline we need to have it done now. Now there’s internal deadlines and there’s external deadlines, right? An internal deadline is like just you or just your company. It’s just you coming up with like, I think I’d like to have it done by this date. Right?

Brittany: That’s almost like a personal goal kind of, right? Yeah.

Connor: And those are easy to delay. I do it all the time.

Brittany: Me too. And writers are particularly bad at this. Writers love to procrastinate.

Connor: Yeah. It’s just like, oh well that’s slipped. Other stuff came up. I’ll kick it out a couple of weeks. If I look at some of my tasks, you know, in my little, I use a task management system called What

Brittany: Do you use it? Oh, okay. I like Sauna, I’ve used DeSana.

Connor: Yeah. So, and you know, it’s not for kids. I mean, I guess you could use it,

Brittany: You could, but it’s not fun.

Connor: even like just a planner having a little, you know, calendar little planner, any kid can get it. Little mol skin notebook. I mean, there’s just super easy ways to do this. but for me, in my system, I have these tasks where you can see I’ve delayed it like 25 times. Cause there’s no actual deadline, there’s no actual need to have it done. It’s just like, eh, if you get around to it, it’d be nice to do this. Right? But, that’s not how we want to achieve big things. For the big things that are our goals that we really wanna try and work on, there have to be external deadlines. In other words, it’s not just me and my decision, it’s someone else saying, I want you to have it by this date. And that’s where having like a mentor is nice, or a coach or your parents if they wanna play that role. you know, but having someone to say you need to have it done by this date helps us really be motivated and get stuff done.

Brittany: And I think you bring up a great point with a mentor. I didn’t use that word, but I should have used that word. Just having somebody there who again, is on your team. You can, even if you’re struggling, because not all goals are easy like you just have somebody to call to say, oh, you know, I’m having a really hard time getting started on this task today. Tim Ferris, who’s more, somebody the adults will listen to, your parents listen to, has a great book. He calls, it’s called Tribe of Mentors, but he basically talks about how to become successful. And every successful person usually has a tribe of mentors, a circle of mentors who are helping them, you know, get to where they’re going. So I think that’s a really, really important aspect of resolutions and goal settings, is to have a mentor, somebody there to help you or a tribe of mentors, have a bunch,

Connor: absolutely. And, for different aspects of your life, you can have different mentors for, different things. So don’t feel like you, you know, have to go throw the ring into Mount Doom all by yourself, right? You need a team of people, you need your parents, you need, you know, neighbors, people at church or school or friends of the family, or you know, other people who can help you. If you wanna set some big goals, that’s awesome. But the next question should be, who can help me with this goal? Right? What’s, realistic to actually achieve this? And so be thinking about that for the adults in the room. Check out who, not how. It’s an amazing book. we’ll link it to the show notes page in case that’s convenient for you to check out Tuttletwins.com/podcast. so think about that. What are your big goals? Who can help you achieve them? What are some realistic steps that you can take? How do you find a mentor to help you? How do you create the accountability so you’ll actually get it done? And how can you do this on an ongoing basis so it’s not just a, you know, one-time-a-year event? Let’s set some resolutions and then not actually accomplish them. You know, let this be the year especially, I mean, come on, 2020, right? We can all do better than that. We can all,

Brittany: And we can all do better

Connor: We can all try and have a much better year, but it’s on us to actually try and follow through. So head to the show notes page. Thanks as always for being subscribed. We appreciate you guys listening. We hope we can all have an amazing 2021. Let’s do it. Let’s set those goals. Until next time, Brittany, we’ll talk to you later.

Brittany: Talk to you later.



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