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My last day at P&G was June 30, 2012. Since then, I’ve worked for myself, building and growing Humor That Works. I’ve worked with phenomenal organizations, have met some incredible people, and talked about a wide variety of topics. I’ve also traveled a ton.

Last year alone I spent 94 nights on the road and traveled more than 50,000 miles by planes, trains, and automobiles. For more than 25% of the year I was away from my place in NYC, translating into roughly 15% of my total annual expenses being paid to rent a room I wasn’t in.

As I looked at my calendar for 2015, I noticed the trend of traveling continues. I already have a few extended trips planned, including: 2 weeks in Geneva, another 2 in Norway, a week in Florida, 5 days in Philadelphia, a week in Quad Cities, and 5 days in D.C.. And that’s all before the end of the summer.

So I thought, “Instead of going back to a single location between all of these events, why not explore other areas?”

One of my business goals is to speak in all 50 states and on all 7 continents. In some sense, being “homeless” will not only allow but also encourage checking off a few more locations that I may not otherwise get to (I’m looking at you Wyoming!).

Plus I’m bound to end up with a few good stand-up stories out of the ordeal oh, and personal growth stuff I guess).

Will it be challenging? Yes.
Could I hate it? There’s a good chance.
Will I give up before I barely start? Quite possibly.
Is it worth trying? I think so.
Am I done with asking myself questions? Maybe.

Worst case scenario is I die a horrible death in some sort of freak accident. Not-nearly-as-bad-but-still-not-great scenario is that I realize quickly I hate traveling all the time and I go back to NYC or move to a new city.

Best case scenario is that I get to see incredible parts of the country and world while meeting new people and creating memories I’ll tell future artificially intelligent appliances (and my kids).

If you’re curious about what I’m up to or how I’m going about such a task, check back here for updates on posts like how I’m prepping for the life of a nomad or what gear I’m packing. You can also follow my adventures by signing up for my newsletter or following me on Twitter @drewtarvin or on FourSquare.

Oh, and if you have any recommendations of where I should go, let me know.

Note: Why People Fail New Year’s Resolutions is the first of a three part series on creating and sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions. Check back soon for Parts 2 and 3.

The start of the new year is now a month away, which means New Year’s Resolutions are just around the corner. Sadly, most Americans who make resolutions never actually keep them, and here’s why.

photo by karlchen

1. They have an all or nothing mentality.

The number one reason people fail their New Year’s Resolutions is that they have an all or nothing mentality. They believe they have to do everything  perfectly or there’s no point in doing it all.

If you’ve read my post on How to Stop Hitting Snooze and Wake Up Early, you’ll know I’ve had a long, arduous battle with the snooze button. Though I’ve certainly gotten this under control, I’m by no means perfect–there are still days I embrace the sweet embrace of the snooze. But I’m much better at returning to no snooze than I used to be.

I used to think “I hit snooze on Monday, I might as well do it the rest of the week,” or even “I hit snooze once already this morning, I might as well hit it 8 or 9 more times.” It was all or nothing, either I never hit snooze or I always did.

But now I realize it’s not about being perfect. It’s about getting back up. If I miss a step, it’s OK, as long as I start taking steps again. For your own goals, whether they are to exercise every day or never smoke again, remember the most important thing is to get back up if you happen to fall.

photo by g-point

2. They make too many resolutions.

Along the same lines of all or nothing, when people create New Year’s Resolutions, they try to make their lives “perfect.” It’s not that they just want to lose weight or get out of debt; it’s that they want to lose weight AND get out of debt AND find a different job AND get more organized AND find a significant other AND AND AND.

They try to change too many things all at once, rather than changing one or two things at a time and then moving to the next one after it’s a solidified habit. Let’s be honest, changing habits can be hard. To think that we can change every single bad habit we have at one time is unrealistic. Combine that with an all or nothing mentality and you’re almost guaranteed to fail, e.g. “well I didn’t lose as much weight as I wanted to so I might as well keep smoking and not date anyone.”

photo by rawkus

3. Their resolutions are not specific.

The goals I listed are intentional–they’re commonly among the most popular resolutions every year. The problem is that they’re all terrible. Not that getting more organized is a bad resolution, but how it’s phrased isn’t actionable. How do you know when you’ve succeeded?

Resolutions that are not specific are hard to achieve because you don’t know when you’ve achieved them. Even something like “lose weight” isn’t very helpful. Does lose weight mean 100 pounds? 10 pounds? .00001 pounds? And does it account for the fact that, depending on your exercise plan, you may put on muscle?

Better is to have specific, measurable goals that you can easily determine if you’ve accomplished. This past year I wanted to “eat better” but I know that’s far too generic to know if I actually succeeded. So instead my goal was to eat at least 2 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Is that the recommended amount? No, but I know it was a challenging but achievable goal that I could easily measure.

photo by mela

4. They don’t track how they are doing.

It amazes me how few people actually track their progress against their resolutions. They plan their goals at the beginning of the year and never really check in to see how they’re doing. Life is busy and very distracting, if you aren’t paying attention to how you’re doing, what are the chances you’re going to succeed?

As the business maxim goes, “what gets measured gets done.” At a minimum, you should review progress every month or even better, weekly. The absolute best? Daily. Daily tracking creates a habit that is much easier to sustain than once-a-week or once-a-month.

Also, it’s important to note when you’re successful and when you’re not. Not only does this keep the habit for tracking, it also gives you statistics that can help you understand when you’re successful and when you’re not. Again, it’s not about being perfect, it’s about getting back on the horse.

photo by branox

5. They don’t make adjustments.

Building off of the tracking, once you have an idea of when you’re succeeding and when you’re not, you can start to assess what works and what doesn’t. By tracking and assessing your progress, you can start to identify Motivators and Demotivators that can help improve your chances of success.

As an example, one of my goals this year has to work on at least one task for Humor That Works every single day. At the beginning of the year, I noticed I was failing this daily goal more often than I would have liked. I thought about the days I was successful and the days I wasn’t, and tried to find root cause for both. I learned that there were certain things that motivated me (e.g. looking through reader’s comments, checking Google Analytics) and things that demotivated me (thinking about all of the tasks I “had” to do or browsing ESPN.com in the morning).

Once I tweaked my behavior, I became much more successful at accomplishing this goal. Not every day was perfect, but again that’s not what’s important (sorry to beat a dead horse, but seriously, it’s the number one reason people fail).

So if these are reasons why people fail their New Year’s Resolutions, what can you do to be successful? That’s the topic of the next post, Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions Using Quality Days.