New Year's Resolutions are broken.  On Jan 1st, you set a resolution that says, I'll get up at 5am 5 days a week and go to the gym.  Then it's cold out so you skip a day. And then another. By February your resolution is dead and you say, "I failed my NYRs again this year."

The problem isn't with you. The problem is that we're never taught how to create and achieve our NYRs.  Since NYRs are just goals with a start date, let's get a little help from goalmaster Tony Robbins.

The best way to achieve your goal is to create a really big WHY behind it. Robbins uses the two most powerful emotions that drive our species:

  1. The need to avoid pain
  2. The desire to seek pleasure

Of those two, we're wired to work harder to avoid pain. Think about it: your great, great...great grandmother worked a lot harder to escape a saber-toothed tiger than to pick berries for dessert.  Thousands of years later, you might run a red light to make a meeting on time.  Why? You're avoiding the pain (shame) of being late.  But you won't run red lights to get home for dinner.  

Used properly, the Pain/Pleasure Framework can help you hit your 2018 goals. In his book, Principles, billionaire hedge funder Ray Dalio describes losing everything in the 1980s and borrowing $4,000 from his father to pay bills for his family.  He says, "Pain + Reflection = Progress". In using this pain as a driving force, he built the largest hedge fund in the world.

So now let's make Pain/Pleasure work for you with three fundamental questions from Tony.

Question 1: What three changes must I take to improve my life?

I'll use three of my goals for 2018.

  1. Exercise Goal: 3X/week in the mornings.

  2. Mindfulness Goal: 10min each morning on gratitude and goal setting for the day.
  3. Family Focus Goal: Power off my phone and focus on family after work.

Question 2: What pain will it cost me if I don't change?

This is designed to twist the knife.  You're trying to create massive leverage in your psychology to get yourself to take action.

  1. Exercise Goal: If I don't exercise, I'll be unhealthy, un-energized, and die younger.

  2. Mindfulness Goal: Robbins says, "If you don't have ten minutes each day you don't have a life."
  3. Family Focus Goal: If I don't focus on family after work each day I'll miss out on my daughter's childhood. (Sidenote: The exercise is working - I'm actually in tears as I write this.)

Question 3: What pleasure will I gain if I take action right now?

This goal completes the psychological leverage - the pain is the stick, the pleasure is the carrot.

  1. Exercise Goal: If I do exercise, I'll feel healthy, attractive, and energized and I'll live a longer, richer life.
  2. Mindfulness Goal: If I take 10 minutes each morning, I'll setup my day for happiness and success.
  3. Family Focus Goal: If I focus on family after work I'll create joy each evening.  

The Pain/Pleasure Framework turns "shoulds" into "musts". Think about it: you don't say, "I should go to work."  You say, "I must go to work [even when it's painful] or I'll lose my job [which is far more painful]."  Now you can use this framework to turn "I should exercise" into "I must exercise."

Robbins says, "the difference between 'must' and 'should' is the life you want and the life you have."  When something is a must, you find a way.

Now try the three questions above. What must you do in 2018?