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  • Writer's pictureJack Mullaney

Study for 100

Today is the day.

It's the day when a large swath of the population decides to embark on a New Year's Resolution.

The gyms are full (okay, maybe not this time). There's traffic jams in the bike lane. Wellness books fly off the shelves.

And yet, studies show that less than 25 percent of people remain committed to their resolutions after 30 days, and only 8 percent actually accomplish them.


To be clear, I'm in favor of New Year's Resolutions. Turning the calendar to a new page offers a blank slate to begin a new habit.

But I think we get in trouble when we go from having no expectations on December 31 to expecting perfection the very next day.

That's not a normal pattern. If you haven't created a 30 minute window in your daily schedule before, it's not reasonable to expect to, say, study French for 30 minutes every day. More pressing matters can, and will, get in the way.

ESPN writer Wright Thompson was on Ryan Holiday's Daily Stoic podcast a few weeks ago. Though he was talking about the pressure athletes put on themselves to be perfect, I think the lesson translates to anyone starting a resolution today.

"It's a volume game," He said, "Be a volume shooter. Not expecting perfection from yourself is vital, and is something that's very hard for athletes. My mom used to say, "Study for 100, and you'll make a 90.""

Instead of resolving to bike for 30 minutes each day, just be in the saddle for any given time. Miss a day? Just try not to miss twice. Feel good? Go longer than 30 minutes.

It's not about being perfect. It's about continuing to wake up with a plan to do the thing you made a resolution to do, regardless of what happened the day before or how much time you have today.

To use Thompson's analogy, don't worry about making every shot. Just be sure to keep shooting it.

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