Yearly Resolutions vs Daily Habits

The New Year is a time for resolutions which to me are essentially goals for the upcoming year; a time to make a “firm decision” to do or not to do something.

But how often does one actually follow through on a resolution.

I think that those who do build (consciously or not) a system to do so.

In other words, they have a collection of habits that carry them to their goal.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from James Clear on goals + systems + habits:

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.

Your goal is your desired outcome. Your system is the collection of daily habits that will get you there.

This year, spend less time focusing on outcomes and more time focusing on the habits that precede the results.

If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change.


As a current personal example, I think it would be awesome to run a sub 20:00 5K (my current PR is 20:18).

But merely making this a resolution or a goal won’t make it happen.

That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t set a goal to run a sub 20:00 5K but my primary focus is on the system: what system (collection of habits) do I need to implement to reach improve my 5K time.

And for now, that system (collection of habits) is:

  • Limber 11 every day (prevent injury)
  • 10 min of stretching after any run/lower body work workout (enhance recovery + prevent injury)
  • Follow Hal Higdon’s 5K Training Program (I’m currently on week 3 right now, pic below)
Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 5K Training Plan

The program takes 8 weeks and I’m confident that if I stay consistent with the above system, I will improve my 5K time (and start to like running more and more 😂).

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