Decide What You Want As The First Step

Deciding what you want is the first step in my series: Making New Year’s Resolutions Stick. While this step is simple and pretty obvious, it’s easy to miss why it’s so important: having a clearly defined Resolution or goals narrows your focus on just it. Wether you’re playing poker, trading or generally working on your performance. My clients often forget to take this first step.

By now, many of you may have already set goals for this year. Even if you have, this post will help you clarify if what you’ve picked is best.

Reaching your goals comes from knowing the right number of things to focus on.

A common problem poker player’s have is they want too much. You start thinking about what you want to accomplish this year. Or what habits you want to break from last year and a lot comes to mind. It starts with a wanting to play more. To do you want to play more tables. Which will result in making more money. Now while your focus is already on putting in volume, maybe you can go for SuperNova Elite. But of course, we can’t forget to study 10+ hours a week too, and move up several limits.


When you want too much, it clouds your decision making process. Your mind is divided and you won’t have enough focus to accomplish much. Essentially you’re multitasking – you can do many things ok, or a few really well. Narrow focus is essential to achieve your goal because it means you’re automatically going to not be less focused on things that don’t matter and more focused on the stuff that does.

Keep in mind too, if you do a few things really well this year, you’ll have greater potential to do even more next year because you’ve gotten really good, made a bunch of money, created more opportunity, etc., by being really focused.

The Art of Decision Making

Another big key to making 2022 a successful year is having goals that push you, but not too much. They need to be challenging, but still possible. You have 365 days – that’s a shit load of time, but that doesn’t mean your goal achieving powers are limitless.

Make an informed decision, based on data, without common bias. Don’t just go with your gut, but go back to your Pokertracker or Trading simulator to collect the facts.

When deciding what you want, you really are deciding what is realistic and what you might be able to achieve by really working hard. Don’t make a decision making error by setting an unachievable goal. Which you will eventually abandon, when realising you will never make it.

Here are two exercises that can help you find the magic number for you:

  1. Look back at your track record from last year and measure the sum total of your accomplishments. How well did you achieve your goals last year? How long did you stay true to your resolutions? That’s your baseline. That’s what you are working off of this year. It may not be pretty, but it’s reality. If you want to be successful this year, you have to build off of that; otherwise, you’ll run into the same problems you did last year.
  2. Identify the old habits that take focus away from meeting your goals and hinder the change needed move yourself forward. You could have watched to much TV, gone out too much, not played enough poker, or any number of habits that are really distractions. Fixing each one becomes an objective to meeting your overall goal. It’s the frontlines to you battle plan. It’s the well timed 3-bet to confusing a fish at the table. These small distractions accumulate into LARGE chucks over the course of the year and in some case are what separates you from success and failure.

These two steps help you to figure out what is realistic and how to really achieve your goal and resolutions. With a clearer vision of what you want, you’ll have the narrow focus make a great attempt at achieving it.

In my next post, I’ll discuss how knowing the underlying motives to why you want to achieve the goals you’ve set is the fuel needed to push you forward throughout the year.

Written by Jared Tendler

January 4, 2011

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