5 Reasons Why New Year’s Poker Resolutions FAIL – And Why Yours Won’t

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2011 is now upon us and here’s a chance to start the year different, and like every year, you set goals, or “resolutions” for yourself, but let’s face it, did you accomplish your New Year’s resolutions for 2010? Unlikely and I’ll tell you why:

5. Punishment VS Reward – Just like every year, you’ll give up because you won’t suffer any recourse when you ultimately fail. But actually, you’ll fail a long time before this point, because:

4. A Failure to plan is a plan for failure – So your goal is to make $100k in poker this year? Really? How do you plan to do that? You most likely didn’t have a plan, thus you had two chances when you even muttered that resolution, slim and none. Leading me to #3:

3. Your goal is too broad – If you’re a small/mid stakes player with the resolution of making $100k in 2011, if you’ve never done it before, then the task will ultimately seem impossible sometime throughout the year. Instead make small goals every week/month and achieve them, which will inevitably lead to realizing your biggest goals which would have previously seem impossible.

2. Quitting too soon – Everyone has a New Year’s resolution come January 1st, but most will fail and give up within a few months.  Walk inside a gym in January, it’s packed.  And for every month that passes the gym loses members little by little until the New Year comes again and the same cyclical cycle repeats itself. It’s classic human behavioral psychology. Doubt and fear arise and eventually it’s like, “Who am I kidding? I can’t do _______.” One bad experience can derail your entire New Year’s resolution. Leading me to #1:

1. Variance – Poker players often set themselves a total number of hands they want to play, or a certain amount they want to win throughout the year. But along the way variance will hit and make those goals seem impossible.

Ex: A player sets a goal to make $100k, but in January-March he runs several BI’s below EV and after three months he’s up about $3.48 (tree fiddy). That player reevaluates how much he has to make a month to reach a $100k and he realizes that a once plausible $8,500/month has now become a seemingly implausible $11,000+ a month.

It’s at that point where most players give up, and they revert back to their old identity. Change is hard, but it isn’t a river card that’s stopping you from making what you want to make. It’s yourself.

Instead of thinking “I want to make $100k this year,” start planning:

“This month, I plan to make $10k, and to make that goal feasible I will:

  • Only play when I feel like I’m on my “A” game, when I’m not, I’ll quit.
    • To accomplish that, I’ll review and study Tommy Angelo’s series on “The Eightfold Path to Poker Enlightenment.”
    • Other times when I feel like I won’t be playing optimally, or I anticipate distractions or time constraints, I will study the aforementioned series as well as review HH’s in the forums, and watch one instructional video.
      • Create a schedule that frees myself from distractions and constraints.
  • Follow the “+EV Invesments” series on PokerLifestyleDesign.com to find additional ways to improve my game.
  • Join a group of poker players looking to accomplish a similar goal.
  • Purchase software that I was too nitty to purchase before, software that I know will improve my game.

Additional Tips:

-Write your resolutions down! And put it in a spot where you’ll see it every day.

-Tell other people! Or better yet, join a group of other people targeting the same resolution.

-Reward yourself along the way, break your goals into milestones, and as you reach each milestone, reward yourself with something that you will enjoy.

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