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The Inertia

According to Forbes, only 8% of people actually follow through on their New Year’s resolutions. That means there is a 92% chance that whatever you’re telling yourself you’re going to do, commit to, accomplish, or pursue in 2018 will end in failure – and most of you won’t even stick to it through Valentine’s Day. That’s right, 80% of resolutions are abandoned by the second week of February. The odds are against you.

This article is here to provide practical advice on how to set yourself up right from the start so you can achieve your next surfing goal. Don’t be the surfer who doesn’t get better in 2018.

There are several reasons why most people fail:

-Their resolutions aren’t specific. For example, “I’m going to become a better surfer” and “I will learn how to do cutbacks in three months” set an entirely different perspective. One is actionable, the other is vague.
-People don’t build a habit that makes practicing for their goal embedded in daily life. For example, I get my surf students to practice the basic movements at home by having them do less than 30 minutes of drills per session.


How to actually set goals in a way that you are bound to reach them:
I use a framework called DiSSS. It’s a framework for mastering any skill, popularised by Tim Ferriss. You can apply these steps to anything in life, just as well as your surfing:

1.Deconstruction. What is the minimum useful unit of knowledge?
For learning to surf, these are the basic movements that you do for paddling or pop-ups. Each is examined through the broken down steps of movements needed to perform.

2. Selection. Which 20% of those minimum units will lead to 80% of your desired outcomes?
For a bottom turn, this would be mastering the basic movement sequence plus making sure you have the muscular strength and flexibility to perform it.

3. Sequencing. What’s the most effective order for learning these units?
This is an often overlooked but very important part of learning (to surf). You spend 80% of your time in the water paddling, yet when I tell a beginner (or even an intermediate surfer) “Let’s work on your paddling for a few weeks,” 8 out of 10 students drop out.

Sequencing the work into pieces that give you a sense of achievement and make you come back for more is important.

The order of practice also matters. I know you want to learn how to do a proper cutback, but let’s make sure you actually know how to execute a turn with a perfect form first.

4. Set some stakes. What psychological and social mechanisms can you set up for discipline and motivation?
As mentioned in the beginning, just 8% of people accomplish their New Year’s resolutions. There are three things you can do to significantly increase your chances:

Create your New Year’s Surf Resolutions here with a simple form, so I can check in with you regarding your progress and keep nudging you when you are about to fail your habit.

-Announce it publicly to friends and family what you’re setting out to do. This will create accountability you may not keep on your own.

-Optional. Create a cash stake for it. Did you know that you can use a service to pledge money to a charity or cause that you really don’t like in case you fail your commitment? For example, has a service for exactly this, with a twist that the money will go to a cause you don’t want to support. Choose an amount that would be painful to lose. If you’re serious, at least 1% of your annual pre-tax income is a good starting point.

You can do this without cash but most people take things much more seriously when money’s on the line. The good news is if you come up short most charitable donations are tax-deductible.

Use this form to define how you’re going to improve your surfing in 2018. I will email you resolutions back and will give you small next steps to follow up on it.



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