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Why Hustle Culture Won’t Help Us With New Years Resolutions

How Hustle Culture Forgets the Importance of Rituals over Short-Term Goals.

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The ideas behind hustle culture arise out of a neoliberal interpretation of achieving success and places the individual at the center of their own progress or failure.

Where hustle culture fails, notwithstanding that is has become a fad in many different circles today, is that it does not take into consideration the reality of how our brain has evolved over thousands of years and how rewiring the brain will take more assertive strategies than simply applying a new ideology of success.

Another more personal element to achieving your goals comes down to how our brains crave details. Take the following into consideration:

Many of us don’t need to come up with original New Year’s resolutions—we can simply use our list from last year.

Most lists include a resolution to be “healthier”—exercise more, eat less, spend fewer hours on the couch—a commitment most individuals tend to follow religiously during the first couple of weeks of January, less so toward the end of the month, and eventually not at all when it comes time for that “what the heck” dinner.

Our brains, like every other part of our bodies, experiences fatigue. This is why people like Mark Zuckerberg will wear the same shirt over and over. Decision fatigue is a real thing. Alongside this, our brains love details. If you create a goal to lose weight, you will most assuredly give up (eventually). Why? Because the brain enjoys the minutiae of ritualistic behaviors over abstract goals.

Brains Love Details.

If you were to say, I want to lose 10lbs in the next month, the brain’s reticular activating system (think of this as an internal heat-seeking GPS) goes into hyperdrive to look for reasons why this is possible. Your brain wants to help you, but to do this, you have to know how to hack into it.

In fact, neuroscience has demonstrated that goal creation does not automatically equate to ever achieving that goal. However, neuroscience has shown that creating rituals, habits and or behaviors that guide the goals-rather than the other way around-lead to measurable results.

Goals tend to break promises that we continuously and habitually make to ourselves. And, from a very early age, we learned that promises too can be broken. This is not some subtle pessimistic ploy to get you to believe that goals have no efficiency. We will have distractions along the way. Goals are easily distracted. Rituals-when practiced consistently, do not detour from the path ahead. This is more than just using two different words that sound like the same idea.

Rituals vs Goals

With rituals, your brain aligns your identity with that ritual. You become a new person.That’s why it takes so long for someone to change, or why they might never change at all. With goals, especially abstract ones, your brain does not equate who you are with the short-term actions you are performing. You must create a set of rules.

In reality, your brain not only enjoys details, it loves when we have intention tied to our rituals. In short, don’t just make decisions – make decisions that you want to make. Be driven and guided by a solution based perception. Most people approach problems as problems, and that is where anxiety emerges; from that sense of powerlessness. If that sense of powerlessness is perpetuated it becomes a habit of powerlessness and the victim mentality settles in.

This tends to be the cycle [for many] with New Year’s Resolutions.

Making decisions includes creating intentions and setting goals — all three are part of the same neural circuitry and engage the prefrontal cortex in a positive way, reducing worry and anxiety.

Making decisions also helps overcome striatum activity, which usually pulls you toward negative impulses and routines.

Finally, making decisions changes your perception of the world — finding solutions to your problems and calming the limbic system.

“The final piece of making resolutions work is establishing behavioral rules. As humans, we spend a lot of time negotiating with ourselves and trading off costs and benefits that eventually lead to our decisions. Deciding to refrain from such negotiations can help you—and even save your life.” Pushing yourself to the point of feeling guilty for failing is why Hustle Culture and creating rituals are antithetical. Hustle culture promises that effort will be enough. Rituals take a mix of time, patience, accountability, self-belief, and then — effort. Rituals create long-term behaviors that will usher in measurable life-based success.

Here are 3-NOT-so-quick-tips on how to achieve your rituals for the upcoming New Year.

  • Be as detailed about what you want; add color; add time; add people; add realistic tones to each new ritual you want in your life.
  • Define what success looks like for each individual ritual.
  • Start now, not tomorrow.

Share below some rituals you plan to create for this coming year.

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