New Year’s Resolutions Again? Do this instead. (Part 4)


Here is where it gets awesome. The past few days you have done a lot of thinking and it probably feels like it is time for action. You are right.

Normal New Year’s resolutions don’t work for two killer reasons.

  1. You have probably never done the thing you are trying to do before and
  2. Things change too fast to make a good plan.

Since you Have never done the thing you’re trying to do before you don’t know where to start. You don’t know what works. You don’t know what doesn’t work. You don’t know how long it will take. Or if it is even possible! Trying to figure out all of the details to make it work right are just, well, nearly impossible.  

The answer to this is to find somebody who can help. There are folks who can help. Maybe your friends or teacher, trainers, and coaches. These can help you do something you’ve never done before. Getting advice from someone who has been there, done that, can save you tons of time and serious frustration. My brother went from being an overweight alcoholic to an IronMan. He struggled along the way and learned a ton. Now he coaches others so they don’t have to go through what he did.  If fitness is one of your top goals check him out (  I help people start and run Agile Coaching businesses. And I help leaders get better at leading in agile organizations. If those are your top goals give me a ping. ([email protected])

As for the second problem,  things changing too fast make a good plan, what I do for a living. I help organizations and individuals create nimble and adaptive plan to achieve their goals. The old ways of planning just don’t work anymore. You need a new approach. If you haven’t heard of software development this is where a lot of what I’m talking about comes from.

Let’s get started.


Long-term goals today are somewhere between one and three months not one in three years. We spent the last few days setting a vision a direction for where we want to head now it’s time to get that plane in the air and start making those corrections as we go.

What we’re going to do is set a mid-term milestone maybe 1 to 3 months out. Then we’re going to design a couple of experiments to try, I suggest to beginning with you try just one experiment as you get into it you’ll be able to try 2 or 3 experiments at the most simultaneously but as you’re just getting used to the concept of experimentation just try one to begin with.

Weekly or bi-weekly process.

  1. Observe (what do you see)
  2. Make a hypothesis (what do you think would make it better)
  3. Change one variable for a period of time (make that change for a while)
  4. Analyze the results (Did it work)
  5. Keep what works, discard what doesn’t
  6. Repeat from 1

Maybe you remember the scientific method from school. It all starts with an observation, a hypothesis, the change of one variable, observing the results and finally analyzing the results.

Here’s what I want you to do think about that first facet of your life for which you set a vision.

Project yourself 3 months from now if you were closer to that than you are right now what would that be like? Don’t go too soft on yourself here. Push it, be a little aggressive even if you miss an aggressive goal you will achieve the lot. What is a reasonable goal for 3 months from now? Now 10X that goal. Yes, you heard me. Set it high! Even if you don’t know how you can reach it.  That is better. If you set a goal that you know how to achieve you only engage part of your brain, the part that says, “no you can’t.” If you set a goal that you want but don’t know how you can achieve, you blow away the “no you can’t” part of your brain and replace it with, “how can I?”  No you can’t will still crop up but counter punch with, “how can I?”

Okay, now it’s time to design an experiment here’s what I want you to do get out your journal. At the top of a new page write the following;

By ____/_____/_____(date in 1-3 months) I must______________________________(goal), because_________________________(your why). If I don’t____________________(consequence of not), if I do________________________(benefits 3x more than the consequences)


Experiment form:

I believe that __________________________________________________(action you will take)will move me toward this goal.

I will _______________________________(Experiment action), for ______________________(Duration). I will measure progress by____________________________________.


Every day for the next 1 to 2 weeks record your results. are your results not measurable? Go back Define how you will measure them Define your actions because if you can’t measure it, it won’t happen.

That is awesome you’re on your way to experimenting your way toward your goal. A couple of caveats.

You are going to fail. That’s right after all this I’m telling you that you’re going to fail. but that’s why we’re only taking a week or two per experiment. if you only do it for a week or two and you fail what have you lost? Not too much. So get OK with failure. I firmly believe failure is a good thing as long as you learn from it. my brother and fitness coach Daniel Flahiff has something in their family they call failure Friday. Every Friday they share what they feel that this week and if they don’t have a failure well that’s a failure.

Imagine what would happen if a baby trying to learn to walk stop when they failed the first time. for the second time. For the third time. For the 50th time. they keep trying they keep learning you have to have the mindset of a baby.

The next thing is if you really want to make this stick. If you really want to see success. Get a partner. a friend, a spouse, a co-worker someone who can hold you accountable. Often times when people hire me as a coach this is one of the things they want from me accountability.

That is today’s lesson make an experiment and start doing it.

Why am I telling you all this for free? Well just to be totaly upfront a lot of my customers hire me to do just this, to help them set goals, keep goals, and plan for the next ones. If you would like help, feel free to text “goals” to me at 206-276-1386 or email me and I will send you an application then we could meet and see if it’s a fit to work together.

Tomorrow we will talk about I don’t know