Dec. 27, 2022

Why You Should Stop Making New Year's Resolutions

Why You Should Stop Making New Year's Resolutions

Today, we’re talking all about New Year’s Resolutions and the real reason top online business owners have stopped making them. PLUS, I’m revealing why you should too if you want to grow a business in 2023!


What was the last New Year’s Resolution you actually kept as an online business owner?


If you’re drawing a blank, you’re in good company!

There’s a reason why today’s industry leaders don’t make them AND why you should abandon this practice too if you want to hit your goals and grow a business in the new year.

BY THE TIME YOU FINISH LISTENING, YOU’LL LEARN: 

  • The New Year’s Resolutions I made in the first few years of my business and why I never accomplished them
  • The key difference between setting goals and hitting goals as an online business owner
  • Why your current goal setting methods are only good in theory and what actually has to change if you want to grow a business this year

10 Reasons You Should Ditch New Year's Resolutions

Also, be sure to grab a copy of Atomic Habits!


If this episode inspires you, leave a review and share your biggest takeaway with me. And while you've got your phone out, make sure to follow me on Instagram @thecourtneyelmer for more quick tips on how to streamline your business systems and spend more time in your zone of genius.

 

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Transcript

Courtney Elmer  0:00  

Welcome back, you're listening to the System's Made Simple™ Podcast. This is episode 154. And today, my friend, we are talking all about your New Year's resolutions, specifically, why you should stop making them. If you actually want to hit your goals this year. That's all coming up next. So stay tuned. 

 

Courtney Elmer

Globally ranked among the top shows in business and education, we're known for one thing, helping overworked entrepreneurs like you learn how to run your business like a true visionary leader, because when you get the right systems support, and structure in place, you can spend more time in your zone of genius. So if you're tired of listening to today's business influencers teach this same old worn out marketing strategies that aren't making you any money, it's time to take a look under the hood of your business and fix the engine itself. Because the truth is, you don't have to work as hard as you are right now to scale beyond six figures, and create the greater influence income and impact that you deserve. A secret to scaling starts on the back end of your business. This is the System's Made Simple™ Podcast.

 

Courtney Elmer

Now, as I sit here recording this for you, I am literally hiding out in my master bedroom closet, I've given the boys very specific instructions to keep it down because my son is on holiday break. And oh my goodness, the noise level in this house this week has been off of the charts. And if you're listening to this, at the time that this episode drops, we're on the brink of a new year. And even if you're listening to this in the future, this episode will be relevant for you. Especially if you're someone who has been struggling to hit theNew Year's resolutions goals you've set whether those are New Year's resolutions goals in your personal life, or in your business. And as I was preparing this episode, I was thinking back to the early days of my business when I had a perpetual New Year's resolution goal to hit six figures in revenue. And I think most of us have this New Year's resolution goal when we start out right? Why I have no idea because really, that's just an arbitrary number. 

 

Courtney Elmer

But for some reason, we tend to put it on a pedestal. And this was me, I opened the doors to my coaching business, I had my website, I had a program really that I had not I mean, I didn't know a thing about creating offers or putting those together. But I had put together what I thought was a good offer. Turns out it wasn't. Because in the first year, I did not hit that New Year's resolution goal. And so the next year, I'm like alright, alright, Courtney Elmer,, maybe you didn't really no, as much as you thought you did. Going into this, you've got a lot to learn. It's gonna take a little bit more time, let's set a more realistic New Year's resolution  goal. How many times have you done that? Right? Oh, I guess that New Year's resolution goal was just unrealistic. I can't begin to tell you how many clients come to me and they say, Well, I do want to launch a podcast. But I don't know what's realistic, right? 

 

Courtney Elmer

How, how quickly can I launch what's really realistic, or students who work with us in our business systems program, and they're like, I really want to scale this offer. But what's realistic, right, we're talking about their revenue, goals, etc. And they're like, what's realistic? I hate that word. If I could just throw that in the garbage. And never say that, again. Especially as it relates to New Year's resolution goals, I would be just fine. And so that's what I did. It lowered my New Year's resolution goal. I lowered my expectations for myself. And I lowered them to $75,000. The second year 75k. Surely I can hit that. And the second year, I didn't even come close. And so it continued for the next couple of years until I got discouraged. I just gave up on that New Year's resolution goal altogether. And then something really crazy happened. I stopped trying. And we breezed past six figures in revenue that year. And I was like, hold on, hold on, hold on. Wait a second. How do we do that. And certainly, there were a lot of things that clicked for us that year. 

 

Courtney Elmer

But one of the biggest things that clicked was what shifted inside of me, in order to make that New Year's resolution goal possible. And helping you understand what this shift was, and how to tap into the power of this shift is the focus of our episode today. Because I truly believe this is one of the best gifts that I could ever give you. Because no matter what your New Year's resolution goal is, whether it's a personal New Year's resolution goal, or business New Year's resolution goal, or both. We've all had that experience and the disappointment of setting a New Year's resolution goal and getting excited about it. And then we hit the ground running and life happens and we fail to hit it. And our inner critic gets loud. And you might start thinking thoughts like oh my gosh, what is wrong with me? I should have been able to do that. I mean, these other people are out there doing it. They certainly can. I certainly can. But why haven't I? Clearly I must not be working hard enough. Oh, my goodness. I mean, I don't know how I could possibly work any harder. But I think that's the answer. I just need to try harder. 

 

Courtney Elmer

And I don't know about you, but come on. If your inner critic was actually a person sitting in your office right now saying all of those things to you. There was a good chance you wouldn't have kicked their butt out the door already. I don't know of any elite athletes who have succeeded because they had a coach who constantly nitpicked their every move. If you've seen Ted last Oh, can you imagine if he was not pasting up a sign that said, Believe in the locker room and instead he was like, Dude, you're tying your cleats wrong? It's gonna fly off. Come on, come on. Come on over here. Let me show you how to tie your shoes. You're Not You can't Goodness gracious, you can't even handle that you can't even tie your own shoes, right? Like if he was nitpicking his players, every move, they would just like the morale would just be, it would be non existent. And certainly criticism that's constructive is helpful when it's in the right context. But criticism that is just plain mean, for the sake of just being critical, is not helpful to anyone. 

 

Courtney Elmer

Yet, we all have that critic living right here in the six inches between our ears. You know, several years back, I wrote an article for Buzzfeed, titled 10 reasons why you should ditch New Year's resolutions. And my stance on that has not changed. But we can actually link to this article in the show notes, if you'd like to read all 10 Because today, I'm just gonna zero in on two of the reasons. Number one is that New Year's resolutions are not the most effective method for achieving New Year's resolution goals, because they only scratched the surface of real lasting change. And number 10, which is that real change happens at an identity level. Most people don't get this, most people do not understand how willpower works, which is also why focusing purely on an outcome actually makes it harder to achieve the New Year's resolution  goal. I'll explain what I mean by that in a moment. But first, the first thing you need to understand when it comes to hitting New Year's resolution goals is that there's a difference between setting them and hitting them.

 

Courtney Elmer

Most of us are really good at setting New Year's resolution goals. We are good at it. But we are not so good at hitting them. And most people who set New Year's resolution goals tend to say, Oh, I didn't hit that. It's because theNew Year's resolution goal setting method I use didn't work. Surely there's a better way to set goals. Maybe I set the New Year's resolution goal wrong. Let me try a new method for setting New Year's resolution goals. Maybe I'll hit them then. And that's almost as silly as saying, let me buy a new planner, just to see if it can clear up some whitespace on my schedule for me. Right? How many of you planner junkies out there have done that? I know you've gone to target at the start of the year, you've bought your new planner, that one didn't work, you didn't love it. The next year, you went and bought another one, y'all I was that person, I'm totally making fun of myself here. I have tried every planner under the sun. And the reality is that the whitespace I was looking for was not going to come from some frickin planner. It was going to come from inside of me and the choices I was making.

 

Courtney Elmer

And the same goes for our New Year's resolution goals. Because the problem is when we say stuff like that, oh, well, you know, it was just the way that I set that goal that didn't work. I haven't learned how to set good New Year's resolution goals. I mean, there's a better way for setting them, we're giving our power away, given your power away to the method you're using to achieve that New Year's resolution goal. And how many times do we do that in our lives in our businesses that didn't work. Didn't lose the weight that I wanted to lose? I'm gonna have to just switch diets, I'm gonna have to try a new diet, this one is just ineffective. Or that exercise routine did not work for me. I just could not get up at 5am for that CrossFit class. I don't care. Those people who do it out there better for them all the more power to them, but that is not for me. I'm gonna have to figure something else out because that didn't work for me. Oh, that program that I signed up for. 

 

Courtney Elmer

They promised a lot but they really didn't deliver it just wasn't what I hoped it would be. Maybe it works for other people, but not for me. I'm gonna go sign up for this program instead. Or hire this coach and said maybe that's gonna be what I need. Or my favorite. This marketing strategy, dammit, Instagram didn't work for me. I'm gonna go try tick tock tick tock is not working. How LinkedIn. Alright, people on LinkedIn, Facebook ads? Is anybody still spending money on those? How many marketing strategies have you tried, right? And my point is, all of this My point is in all of it is that switching methods is never going to yield the result you want. Because it's not the methods fault that you're not getting the result. Because we're only relying on one side of the equation, the method itself is only one side of the equation. On the other side, you've got you

 

Courtney Elmer  9:45  

and this is why all the smart methods that you learned in school for setting New Year's resolution goals. That sure they're good in theory, but until you actually understand how human willpower and motivation works. Any method for setting goals is not going to be effective for hitting the New Year's resolution goals, because it's only one side of the equation. So let's start there. We're going to talk about motivation here for a second. Did you know that your unconscious mind, the part of your mind, that operates your body that causes you to blink, and swallow and breathe and digest your food and pump your blood and do all the things that you never even think about? It stores your memories, your beliefs, your past experiences, the part of your mind that you are not consciously aware of loves to take the path of least resistance.

 

Courtney Elmer

It's why we're creatures of habit. It's why it's hard to teach old dogs new tricks. If you've ever tried to change an unwanted habit, and failed, you know exactly what I'm talking about. So one of the things that I will label a weakness and Alan and I's relationship is how much we love to watch shows together. Now, if you go back from the moment we started dating, I can remember the first show we ever watched together before TV shows were even really a thing it was last you guys remember last, if you've seen last, it was like one of the very first TV shows that ever came out. And last year, we sat down and we added up how many shows that we have watched since then. And this is a little bit embarrassing to say, but it is well over 50 shows. And if you look back and you think oh my gosh, 50 shows? And how many seasons did each of those shows have? And how many episodes did each of those seasons have? And how many hours were spent watching each of those episodes, and how much time has gone to watching Netflix or whatever it might be? Right? 

 

Courtney Elmer

Paramount peacock all the things that are out there. Now, they used to be just Netflix. And it's kind of embarrassing to admit there. We've watched them on TV, gosh, court, there's a lot of better things you could be doing with your time. I mean, sleeping for one, reading some books, right? You could read some books at night instead of watch TV. And we know this and we'll get on our kicks, right? Well watch shows, and then we're like, Alright, stop, we're gonna stop, we're gonna just read books, and we're just gonna go to bed early, right, and we'll be on that kick for a while, then we get tired of it. And we're like, we're gonna watch shows again. And we kind of go back and forth this all or nothing thinking, and I know exactly what's going on under the surface. 

 

Courtney Elmer

I know, because it's everything I'm sharing this episode with you today. It's just an area of my life, that Admittedly, I have not applied these principles to yet. Why? Because it's easier to watch a show at night than it is to read a book, or to be disciplined about getting to bed earlier, Alan, and I use our brains all day in our line of work. And we have a four and a half year old at home, who wakes up at 5am crack of dawn every morning. And so we're tired at the end of the day, our brains don't want to work. So of course, the path of least resistance. And that's the point I'm making here is the easy way out. It's easier to hit snooze on your alarm than get up 30 minutes earlier to get that workout in, or then meditation. But the question, the question we need to ask is why? Why do we do this to ourselves. 

 

Courtney Elmer

And one of the biggest reasons is because not everyone understands how motivation works. You see, naturally, we are wired to avoid what we don't want to move away from what we don't want, instead of towards something we want. We're motivated away from what we don't want, rather than toward what we want. Those are two key terms I want you to remember away from and toward. So in order to help you understand the concept of motivation, let's use an easy example. Let's use weight loss because it's an easy one to wrap our brain around. So let's say you have some weight you want to lose. And you feel like you know, I just don't like how I look in the mirror. I don't like how I feel in my body. I don't like how my clothes fit. I don't like not having the energy to go about my day. And so you say okay, I'm going to lose some weight, I'll feel better when I lose that weight. And to lose that weight. I'm going to do X, Y or Z thing. I'm going to start a new nutrition plan.

 

Courtney Elmer

 I'm going to sign up to work with a personal trainer, I'm going to get on ClassPass and start going to different classes right or join a gym, whatever it might be. And so as you progress toward the New Year's resolution goal, typically we start out strong, right? We start seeing that number on the scale go down a little bit, we get a little excited. And inevitably the closer we get to our goal, the harder it gets to reach the New Year's resolution goal. If you've ever tried to lose weight, you know the last five pounds are the hardest ones to lose. But why? The reason is because if you're drawing your motivation from something that you don't What? Then the closer you get to your New Year's resolution goal, the less motivated to achieve it you will be. Wait, what Courtney Elmer, can you say that again? Yes. If you want to lose weight, and you're motivated by the fact that you don't like the way you look in the mirror, you don't like how you feel in your body, you don't like how your clothes fit, you don't have the energy to make it through your day. 

 

Courtney Elmer

Then the closer you get to your New Year's resolution goal, the further away you're getting from the things that motivated you to start working toward the New Year's resolution goal in the first place. So what happens for people? Well, they might reach the goal, they might get close. And then they quit dry. And then inevitably, the weight starts to creep back on. And then they're right back where they started. And then the motivation is intense. Because guess what they don't like how they look in the mirror. They don't like the way their jeans fit. They don't like the way they feel. And so they start again, and then go back and forth, and back and forth and lose the same 20 pounds over and over and over again. And they wonder why they can't keep the weight off. Now, obviously, I'm using this as a simple example here, right? There are a lot of things that go into losing weight. 

 

Courtney Elmer

And I understand that there's the mental piece, there's a physical piece, there's the emotional piece, there's a lot that goes into that. But for the sake of a simple example, if you stay focused on the thing, or things that you don't want, and you rely on that as your motivation, it will make it inevitably harder to hit your New Year's resolution goal. So what do we do? We got to switch it around, we got to tap into what we do want. And to take it a step deeper. Why is that important to me. Because when we can stay oriented toward what we want, achieving the New Year's resolution goal feels effortless, effortless. I've been working with a personal trainer for about 18 months now. And when I originally started working with him, it was because I didn't like how I felt in my body. But knowing what I know, I quickly changed that around and I fell in love with the process of training, why I train because I love my body. And there have been many slumps along the way, gosh, just this month, I was lucky to get one workout in a week. But instead of beating myself up for it, like I would have in the past, I'm connected to what I want, instead of what I don't want. 

 

Courtney Elmer

Right in the past, I might have beat myself up for that. Because oh my gosh, Courtney, if you don't get these workouts in, then you're not going to achieve your New Year's resolution goal, right? It was like cracking a whip on myself. But now it's like, well, I love my body. That's why I work out. This is a lifestyle for me. And so I'm glad to just get the one workout in. Yes, I've been busier than normal. Yes, I haven't had the energy that I normally have. But I don't give up. I don't quit. Right? Do you see the distinction? This is really important to understand, we have to start to align our efforts toward the outcome that we want rather than away from what we do. When you do that, you will have already made a huge stride a huge step towards New Year's resolution. But that's just one side of the equation as just one piece of it. Because if you want to create a new habit or change an unwanted behavior, you've got to change who you are being to get the result you want. 

 

Courtney Elmer

I'm not talking about changing who you are, I'm talking about changing how you're showing up in pursuit of theNew Year's resolution goal. Okay, so first, you have to be oriented towards what you want. And you have to change how you're showing up in order to get the result. And most people have this backwards, they create an outcome based  New Year's resolution goal rather than an identity based goal. Most people say in order to have this, then I need to do this. And when I do and achieve that thing that I want, then I will be this. For me starting my business in order to have a six figure business. Then I need to hustle and grind and work hard and learn all that I can learn so that I can be seen as an expert. And then when I hit that six figure mark, people will recognize me as an expert, and they will recognize my knowledge and expertise I will be someone worthy of their recognition.

 

Courtney Elmer  19:47  

Hmm, interesting how that works, right? And guess what? I didn't hit the New Year's resolution goal. When I continue to focus on the outcome. Same thing for weight loss in order to have a healthier weight then I need to do Do whatever cut out carbs or get on keto, or hire a nutritionist or hire a trainer. And then when I achieve that outcome, I will be the healthy person I'm seeking to be. The problem is it doesn't work that way. That is not the natural order of things. That's not the natural way that we are wired. And so we're actually working against ourselves whenever we're trying to achieve an outcome based goal. But instead, what we can do in order to achieve an outcome based goal is to set an identity based goal. And this switches the model around instead of have do be, it's now be, do have I originally heard this coined by Jim Fortin. This was echoed by James clear who harps on this and his book, atomic habits, if you haven't read it, we'll link that in the show notes. I highly recommend this book. 

 

Courtney Elmer

But the takeaway here is that the secret to achieving your New Year's resolution goals, period is that first you must change who you are being first how you're showing up, which will naturally realign your action, it will help you do the things required to have the outcome that you want, be do have, have output this really, really, really simply real lasting change starts from the inside out. And chances are you know this, logically, you've heard this, but are you living? Because when you get this, hitting your New Year's resolution goals will become ridiculously easy. So it's not the New Year's resolution goal setting method that you use, or even the New Year's resolution goal itself that you're setting. But the internal identity shift, that's the secret. So if you want to be a healthier person, what do you need to do? Well, first, you need to think about how a healthy person shows up. And embody the same beliefs and values of a healthy person or a fit person, how do they think? How do they act? How do they eat? What do they believe about themselves? 

 

Courtney Elmer

If you want to be a six figure business owner or a seven figure business owner, you have to embody the beliefs and the values of a six figure business owner seven figure business owner, what do they do every day? What do they not do? How do they think? How do they show up? Because the New Year's resolution goal itself doesn't matter. All of these smart methods and all that all the metrics, it's arbitrary. The daily activities in the way of being how you're showing up is what makes achieving your New Year's resolution goals possible. Which brings me to the third point that I'm going to share with you inside of this episode is that if you really want to hit your New Year's resolution goals, not only do you first need to align and orient yourself toward the outcome that you want, you must choose to show up as someone who has already achieved that New Year's resolution goal, and embody the same actions and beliefs and thought processes of that person. And you got to find your joy in the process of doing. 

 

Courtney Elmer

Jordan Harbinger spoke about this concept briefly back in episode 146. And it's worth a listen, he was the first person that I ever heard who put this so succinctly. Jordan is someone who gets 15 million plus downloads a month to his podcast, he runs an eight figure business from his podcast. And he will be the first to tell you that the reason for his success was because he wasn't focused on the outcome. He was focused on the process, he was focused on finding joy in showing up every day as a successful podcaster. That's the secret, my friend. That's it. That's it right there. And the beautiful thing about all of this is that you are in complete control of whether you achieve your New Year's resolution goals or not. You get to choose to rewrite the script, you get to choose how you show up, you get to choose how to orient your motivation. 

 

Courtney Elmer

Now one more thing that I do not do whenever I set New Year's resolution goals, and I'll leave you with this today is I don't put a time limit on them. Because to me, there's a difference between a deadline and a time limit. A deadline is when we've got a deliverable that we need to hand off to a client by x date, or when a project must be completed or when I must check that box on my list or else. I'm giving a talk in January. The deadline to have my notes prepared is the week before that talk. What I'm about to say next is a very unpopular opinion because there are a lot of people out there saying that well If you don't have a New Year's resolution goal without a deadline, it's just a dream, you're never going to achieve it or whatever nonsense, I see a differently. Because to me, I'm not going to move the endzone just because I didn't make the touchdown. I'm going to keep trying until I make the touchdown. 

 

Courtney Elmer

And there is a profound difference. It means nothing about who you are as a person, if it takes you one year to hit six figures, or two years, or 10 years. What matters is that you hit it. Some people are naturally going to reach an outcome faster, and some will naturally reach it slower. To me, as long as you reach it, does the length of time you took to reach it really matter? Are we living our lives just to check boxes? Or is it really about who we are becoming who we are learning to be to show up as along the way that's so much more important than any one outcome that we achieve? You don't just show up until you hit some arbitrary goal and then quit, do you? If I had said, Oh, my  New Year's resolution goal is to hit six figures in my business. And then when I finally hit it, I just said, Okay, that's it. closing the doors, guys. Sorry, see you later. That'd be ridiculous. 

 

Courtney Elmer

This is why most authors who write go on to publish more than one book. It's why most six figure business owners go on to hit seven. It's why most bodybuilders stay relatively fit and healthy even as they get older. Because the first goal is never the end goal. The first New Year's resolution goal is never the last New Year's resolution goal. It's just a milestone. Tom Brady isn't going to walk on the field and score a touchdown and walk off and say he's retiring. No, he's gonna keep going, he's gonna keep scoring, he's gonna keep winning, until at least in his case, they say do you are too old to play? Like, you've got to get off the field here. You understand what I'm getting at? Right? Okay. So let's recap this. Because if you actually want to hit your goals in the new year, or any New Year's resolution goals, no matter when you set them, there are four things you must do. You must shift your motivation toward what you want, get clear on what that is, and focus on it. Let nothing distract you from that. Next you have to identify use your imagination to think about how would I show up if I had that outcome, and start showing up that way. Now. After that, it's simply a matter of finding your joy in the process, not in the outcome. 

 

Courtney Elmer

But in the joy of working toward whatever that outcome is. And then finally, don't quit. Don't quit, don't give up on your New Year's resolution goals. Keep going, no matter how long it takes you to achieve them. So this, in a nutshell, is why I believe setting new year's resolutions is a waste of your time. Because until you address the internal motivation, the beliefs about yourself and how you will show up finding your joy in the process and keep going no matter how long it takes, your goals will remain elusive, and you'll remain frustrated in your pursuit of them. So it's not about the New Year's resolution goal setting method that you use. It's about how you're showing up in pursuit of your New Year's resolution goal. And my challenge to you in the year ahead. If you are listening to this right now, right before we're about to flip that calendar. And if you're listening to this in the future, because guess what, you don't need to flip the calendar to set a New Year's resolution goal for yourself. You can do it any time.

 

Courtney Elmer

 And my challenge to you is that the next New Year's resolution goal you set, you apply these four principles, these four steps, these four tools that I have given you today. And then you're going to report back to me and you're going to tell me what happens for you, you're going to tell me what unfolds for you. In fact, I would love nothing more right now, right this instant than to hear from you about your biggest takeaway from this episode. So here's what you're going to do. If you hang out on Instagram, you're going to pull out your phone. Open up your Instagram app type in the search bar v. Courtney Elmer, I'll pop right up. If you're not following me there, follow me there and send me a DM. And let me know if anything I said here resonated with you today. If there was something here that I said, that helped you think a little bit differently about your New Year's resolution goals.

 

Courtney Elmer  29:40  

Because as a podcast host the only way that we really know that the content we're putting out there is valuable for people as if we hear from you. Alright, there's no comment box. There's no way for you to really tell us you know, this episode was great. Thank you. I have a question for you. Right. So my Instagram DMS is your direct channeled to me. Okay, so you can DM me there anytime. I really love to hear your biggest takeaways from these episodes, especially today because I might have opened a little bit of a can of worms here telling you how you know, you should probably ditch New Year's resolutions and throw your smart setting goals out the window. I hope what I shared here was valuable for you today, my friend. And if increasing your revenue is a New Year's resolution goal of yours for the year ahead, then I want you to join me back here next Tuesday, because we're going to be talking about the five things that you need to have if you want to double your revenue over the next 365 days. That's all coming up next week. Until then, go live your EffortLESS Life®.