Why (I Thought) Resolutions Don’t Work?

TL;DR version...skip to the end for my 2015 resolutions.

Let’s backup a bit, I had one hell of a 2013.  I went 3 for 3 on my resolutions.  I lost a shit ton of weight (16lbs - 12lbs of fat) by exercising 3 times a week, landed a job after being unemployed for close to a year, and read all the books I said I was going to read.  

I thought I knew everything...

I thought I had unlocked the key to resolutions.  I KNEW how they worked and why they didn’t work.  Well I was definitely onto something, but also definitely WRONG.  

See I had in my mind that if you set Concrete goals, “I’m going to exercise 150 times this year”, it’s easy to stick to because you can count each workout and see your progress throughout the year.  At the end of the year, you either accomplished it or you didn’t.  

It’s a step in the right direction - you can’t resolve to “Eat Better” and stick to it, because what defines “Better”.  In addition, our minds and memory are incredibly malleable.  Look back on your last year, can you say you ate better?  Can you say you ate better than you did the year before that?  Do you trust your answer?


So I set my 2014 Resolutions...

I thought 2014 would be same as 2013: set Concrete goals, set LOFTY concrete goals.        

  • Run 600 miles (I ran 464 in 2013)

  • Bike 1000 miles (No comparison because I started riding halfway through 2013)

  • Swim 45 miles (Again, threw out a number)

  • Read 30 books (I knocked out 21 books in 2013)

  • Finish my first Half Ironman


And I wrote them down on the wall right next to my door so every day I had to remind myself of what I got myself into.  

Wrench cast forcefully into plans, shatters Resolutions instantly...

I thought I was set on Jan. 1 for 2014. But life throws you curveballs.  

Feb. 28 comes around and you are snowboarding, first day in Jackson Hole with 3' of fresh powder and you get it in your head that you’re invincible and you jump off a bit of a cliff that has caution flags over it. 

Last known image of Andrew's fully functioning knee.

Last known image of Andrew's fully functioning knee.


You tear your MCL...

and you hate yourself...

and think all your resolutions have collapsed.  


My first thought (after "OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT") was "Great, there goes the Half Ironman that you told everyone you were doing!"  (I've found its kind of tough to run 600 miles without a functioning MCL.)  

My error was that I did not account for variables - a year is a long time and a lot can happen.  If everything went well, like it did in 2013, my resolutions would probably have been achieved.  After the injury and 2 months of rehab, I knew I wasn't going to get the miles in so I made it my goal to finish the Half-Ironman.

I ended 2014 with…

  • 192 of 600 miles run

  • 885 of 1000 miles biked

  • 8 of 45 miles swam

  • 9 of 30 books read

  • Half Ironman CRUSHED - 5:32:07.  Thanks to a few kicks in the butt, I resolved to do it anyways.










I look back on 2014 and I see success anyways.  Hitting the numbers didn't matter.  I missed all but one of my resolutions, but that was the only one that mattered in the end. 

In conclusion...

You can set easy goals ("I'm going to stop drinking 6 cups of coffee a day")

You can set hard goals ("I'm going to stop smoking") <- Mom, I don't smoke, its just an example!

You can set ambiguous goals ("I'm going to live healthier")

You can set concrete goals ("I'm going to run 200 miles")

Just know that a year is a long time and a lot can happen.  All you can do to course correct is to prioritize your goals and know which ones you NEED to achieve. And on that note I finish my sermon.  Here is to a successful 2015, with my new resolutions.

My 2015 Resolutions

  • Be Empirically Skeptical about everything - this one will take further explanation, in a blog post to be written. 

  • PR my Half Ironman time of 5:32:07

  • Compete in 2 more Tri’s (Olympic or Sprint)

  • Run 5 races

  • Bike at least one Cat-5 race

  • Rebuild an old bike

  • Save More / Spend Less

  • Read books, a variety of them - good ones. Finish the books I started last year.

  • Learn how to use APIs and make use of them. 

  • Learn 3 new web frameworks.  

  • Learn Swift + Build iOS App.

  • Try 2 new restaurants per month

  • Cook 2 new meals per month

  • Photograph more AND actively sell my photography. 

  • Start blogging and stick with it


Feel free to follow along throughout the year, this blog will track my progress.