Don’t Make Stupid Commitments

Before you commit, make a list of reasons why you can’t do it. After you commit, make a list of reasons why you can do it.

You make stupid commitments when you’re optimistic. Work done tomorrow is easier than work done now.

Pessimism is best before commitments; optimism is best after commitments.

Don’t make promises to yourself that you can’t keep.

New Year’s optimism seduces people into stupid commitments. I know because today – Friday the 13th, 2023 – is Quitters Day.*

You make stupid commitments when you're optimistic. Image of a boxer holding up their gloves.

Stupid commitments:

Optimism believes in fast change. That’s when you make stupid resolutions.

Life congeals without intervention. Usually, you don’t notice. We stay the same by accident. We change by sweat.

Don’t resolve to work out five days a week if you haven’t worked out since the last visit of Halley’s Comet. (It was 1986, if you’re wondering.)

A pessimistic formula:

Under-estimate yourself and over-estimate difficulty.

Determine how many times you’re going to do something; divide it in half and subtract ten percent. Suppose you commit to work out five days a week.

5×52=260/2=130. Subtract 10% for holidays and the flu. Commit to work out 117 times a year. Now add pessimism. But you won’t last a year.

Make a commitment to work out four weeks.

5×4=20/2=10. Take away 10% because you might get the flu. Make a commitment to work out 9 times in February.

Apply optimism:

Tell yourself you can after you commit.

Schedule nine workouts over the next four weeks. If you made a 30-minute appointment, double it so you can finish early.

Tip: You’re more likely to go to the gym if you’re meeting a friend. Everyone needs a ‘with’. Who can go with you?

What causes people to make commitments?

How can we make smart commitments?

Still curious:

How to Have Grit When You Want to Quit

SATURDAY SAGE: 7 Good Things About Skillful Quitting

64% Abandon Their New Years Resolutions Within A Month

*QUITTERS DAY – January 13, 2023 – National Today