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Stop setting New Year’s Resolutions

Why you should use systems instead


I closed my eyes, cringing.

I can’t believe I wrote that.

I was reading all my 2022 New Year’s Resolutions, remembering how hopeful I was.

Now, all I could feel was disappointment.

I completely forgot these goals…

But they were so important to me a year ago.

How did this happen?

Do you remember the goals you set last year?

If you also feel disappointed, you’re not alone.

There’s a better way to achieve your goals.

Here’s how.

Psst: scroll to the end for a cool time-tracking project!

Use systems

If you’ve been with us since the beginning, you’ll remember this article we published a few months ago: Goals are for losers - winners use systems.

I couldn’t stop thinking about this article.

It explained why I felt disappointed in myself.

When you set a goal, you’re always in “failure state” until you reach that goal.

Let’s say your goal is to get a job.

But you’ll always end up disappointed in yourself until you get that job.

Instead, you could turn your goal into a system, something you do every day, week, or month.

You could spend 1 hour on an online course every day.

You could apply to jobs every week.

You could talk to mentors to improve every month.

So when you achieve those daily, weekly, or monthly actions, you’ll feel proud that you’re working towards your ideal goal state.

Psst: need more suggestions? Check out these 10 habits of successful job seekers!


Yesterday, I worked on my goals.

My goal was to write more blogs and take more online courses.

When I asked myself how to get there, I came up with these habits:

  • Write down something new I learned every day (this turns into the blog draft)

  • Write 1 blog with 1,000 words every month

  • Take 1 course every quarter

I went one step further and added my to-do list:

  • Make a list of courses to take in 2023

You can do the same. Create a document and write down:

  • Your goal state

  • What it takes to get there

  • Habits you’ll create

  • To-do list (i.e. research courses)

Time tracking

Because I’m an overachiever, I also analyzed my time.

I manually track how much time I spend on every activity in my life using Toggl Track (free version). Below you can see that I basically keep the timer going for around 24 hours per day, or ~168 hours per week.

I segmented areas of my life into “projects.”

Here you can see I spend most of my time on sleep, work, transportation, and social media.

In order to meet my goals and sustainably create new habits, I knew I had to change the time I spent in certain areas of my life.

For example, I wrote that I needed to reduce my phone time from 7.95% to 1%. Instead of mindlessly scrolling social media, I’d put that time into taking online courses. Thus, my Learning + growth would go from 0.55% to 3% of time spent.

I highly recommend tracking your time - at least for 1 week.

After all, you can’t always make good decisions without being informed by the data.

P.S. this was my capstone project for EntryLevel’s Data Analyst Level 1 program. In addition to my time, I also tracked my subjective happiness rating, then looked for correlations between time spent on projects vs happiness rating that day.

What’s the first thing you’ll do after reading this article?

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