Read Time: 5 minutes
“History is what a very few people did while 90% plowed fields.” -Yuval Noah Harari
It’s easy to get caught up in the micro. 2016 being a horrible year is a popular meme. But take a couple thousand steps back. Look at the life most people had for most of recorded history. They were farmers or slaves. They had little choice in how they’d cultivate their lives. The idea that a man or woman could choose what they wanted to do, as a vocation or a profession is a modern invention.
We are some of the first generations of sapiens who have the burden and freedom to choose what to do with our lives. But we aren’t taught the skills required to do this well. And there are consequences for not knowing these skills. When you have the freedom to choose your life path but don’t have the skills to do so, you talk about your dreams for years, and find yourself at 30 living a life you floated into.
This kind of life is represented by the Zombie. The walking dead are people who live lives devoid of any real action being taken towards their authentic goals. To act towards your goals, you need to identify your goals, to identify your goals, science has found you should write.
The specific kind of writing is called Expressive Writing. I’ve written an ebook introducing the science, benefits, and the classic technique. I highly recommend you try the technique.
The classic approach focuses on trauma in your past, but Expressive Writing’s benefits can be applied toward our futures. And this post is going to walk you through how to do a future oriented expressive writing technique that will help you discover the most important resolutions to make.
The specific technique I’ll be sharing was created by Dr. Jordan Peterson. He recently did a podcast with Joe Rogan.
He tested this technique on two different groups of college students and found that it raised their GPAs by 30% and reduced the dropout rate to nearly zero. (Video Source)
Here is Dr. Peterson explaining the technique to Joe Rogan.
Before you start on your New Year’s Resolutions, do this technique. It will take about an hour.
Write freely. Do not try to censor or edit your writing. You can do that after all the writing is done.
Write it, even if it is poorly written. This will likely be the first time you’ve written like this. Doing it badly still offers the benefits. I’ll be doing this around this time every year. I think you should to.
Below is an abridged version of Jordan Peterson’s Future Authoring Technique.
Self Authoring Technique
Step 1: Ask yourself these 8 questions to warm yourself up. Spend two minutes on each question.
One thing you could be better at?
What would you like to learn more about?
What habits would you like to improve?
What kind of social life do you want?
What activities do you want to pursue outside of work and family? (leisure)
What would your ideal family life be like?
Where do you want your career in the 5 years to be?
Who are 2-3 people you most admire? What qualities in them do you admire most?
Step 2: Now, begin to daydream. Let your mind wonder while you writing stream-of-consciousness for 15 minutes. Let it flow. Use these questions to guide you.
Who do you want to be?
What do you want to do?
Where do you want to end up?
Why do you want these things?
How do you plan to achieve these goals?
When will you put your plans into action?
Step 3: Now, and this is equally important; Write for 15 minutes about the future self you know you could become if you didn’t pursue your dreams and allowed your bad habits to take over. You know people like this, who are unaware and lie to themselves. Write about the Hell you want to avoid.
Use this Heaven and Hell to calibrate the goals you set this year. In a couple of days I’ll be writing and posting a complete guide to setting New Year’s Reso goals.
Save this writing. It’ll be a treat to see next year. The key to leveraging this scientific technique to your New Year’s Resolution is to review what you’ve written and extract from it the single habit, that by you acquiring it, will have the highest effect on you achieving your goals.
It may be meditation, or writing, or making 10 sales calls a day, or going up to strangers and asking them for coffee. The actual habit doesn’t matter nearly as much as you creating an emotional connection between your highest goals and this behavior. And scientific observation of the Keystone Habit effect shows us; when we have a big goal and we change one habit in its direction, many other behaviors adapt to meet the goal without us trying.
Share this with your friends who seem confused about where they want to go in life, or if they have a hard time choosing what goals to pick, or if they have no direction at all.
A part of me feels I haven’t adequately conveyed the importance and intensity of this technique. I’ve been sick for 6 days now and all my faculties aren’t at my disposal, but I wanted this to go out before the New Year’s and this is as good as I can do at the moment.
I love you, I hope you’ll do the exercise, and Namasteezy.