The Official Blog of Mike Rayburn

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Resolutions SUCK! The Secret To Creating The Perfect 2015…

ResolutionsSUCKWhat if 2015 was PERFECT, what would it look like? 

It’s become hip, especially with motivational keynote speakers like me, to dis and ditch New Years Resolutions. Well, there’s a reason for that: They don’t work! I think I know why.

New years resolutions are about processes. “I’m going to diet, exercise, quit smoking, go to church, make more money,” that sort of thing. If those are all worthy resolutions, why do so many people abandon them before January is over?

I believe it is because those are all processes, most of them with less than exciting associations. There is rarely a reward in a resolution or process because the focus is what you’re giving up. There is no implied outcome other than the process itself.

What DOES get people excited, what keeps people committed is outcomes. For example, few people want to diet and exercise. It means giving up lots of things we enjoy, eating things we don’t, doing things that are hard. However, we do want the outcome of dieting and exercising: feeling better, looking better, fewer health problems, living longer.

The difference is focus: Are we focused on outcomes or processes? What studies show time and again is that the most successful, satisfied people focus on outcomes; those who fall short focus on processes.

We even have cliches about this: “To get the rainbow you have to stand a little rain.” Let’s play out that metaphor: A new year’s resolution would say, “In 2015 I’m going to stand a little rain.” Well, what’s exciting about that? Instead, a goal or an outcome focus would be “I have a rainbow by Dec 31, 2015!” Getting a rainbow is exciting. Standing the rain? Not so much. If you stand the rain just to stand the rain, you’ll quit very soon. If instead you focus your every thought on the beauty of the rainbow, standing the rain, while necessary, becomes a means to an end; you’re driven by a desired outcome rather than an undesirable a process.

Action Steps…

What does this mean for you in 2015? Imagine it is Jan 1, 2016… The past year was amazing, perfect! What happened? Get a journal and describe in great detail your job, your income, your relationships, your health, your spirituality, your philanthropy, your possessions… everything as you want it to look one year from now. Are you debt free? How much do you weigh? What job do you have? How is your marriage and other relationships? Who have you helped?

Now, take this perfect picture and write it in a series of goals as if they already exist. For example: I joyfully earn $60,000/year. I feel and look great at 135 lbs. I am happy to be smoke free! My spouse and I enjoy 3 dates per month, 4 weekends away per year and love being together. My debt is down to $25,000 by Jan 1, 2016. I own a 4 bedroom, 2500 sq ft home in a safe neighborhood near great schools. My net worth is $500,000 on Jan 1. 2016.

I suggest a list of 7-11 goals or outcomes for 2015. Write them as if they already exist. Then take each goal, write it at the top of a page or document, and make a list of how you might achieve that goal. What must you do, what skill do you need, etc?

You are now designing your future!

Lastly, and – this is important – re-write this list every morning to reinforce the picture in your mind.

Silly? This one exercise CHANGED MY LIFE! It has been instrumental in the quintupling of my income, getting a show in Las Vegas, headlining Carnegie Hall, being inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame, and becoming happily married after a rough start.

This one blog will be life-changing if you do it. Use the new year as your opportunity to design your future rather than bump into it by accident.

Resolutions don’t work. Goals and outcomes do!

Mike Rayburn will begin offering free tools for Becoming a Life Virtuoso in his Virtuoso Community in January. Join by signing his email list at

One Response

  1. Great points Mike! Reminds me of how Zig Ziglar used to say that most people sound like a “braying calf in a snowstorm” when they moan about the things they have to DO, rather than the outcomes they want to HAVE. Great reminder and Thanks for sharing.

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