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The Tremendous Power of Mini-Pivots

  |  “Instead of feeling frustrated about your goals, change your approach and begin to experience different results, starting today.”

If you’re finding it hard to keep up with New Year resolutions, you’re not alone. It’s what usually happens to most people… every single year. 

Why not break that cycle and try a different approach?

Join us in this episode if you want to find out:


  • Why “evolutionary” goals are more effective than “revolutionary” goals
  • A mind-shifting perspective on how to view change in your life
  • How mini-pivots can guide you to success
  • One activity you can do today to help you create results
  • A tip on how to make your goal-setting more fun

     And so much more.


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Welcome back to season two of the Ivy League Prep Academy Podcast. Equipping you to successfully pursue the college of your dreams. We believe everyone deserves to reach their full potential and the admissions process shouldn't hold you back.

As I'm recording this, we're about a month into 2021 and this is prime season for people to be frustrated over their New Year's resolutions, over the lack of success. Perhaps you've already broken your biggest one or all of them and you've reverted back to old habits. I want to tell you, you know what? You are not alone.

A lot of people right about this time of year have quit going to the gym, have stopped their new diet, have fallen back on their New Year's resolutions. And a lot of that is to be expected. It's something that happens every single year.

So for you this year, let's break the cycle. Let's do something new. Instead of doing something revolutionary, I want to challenge you to do something evolutionary.

Instead of a massive change where you quit cold turkey or you begin something that you've never done before. Instead, what if this year you decide that you know what? Change is a process. It's not an event.

It is evolutionary and not revolutionary, right? All of these incredible ambitious New Year's resolutions that you set for yourself, often these massive changes are so daunting for us that we remain stuck, we are dissatisfied. And so let me propose that this year we do something different. We decide to take more effective, small, subtle changes that steer us in the direction of our lives.

You are going to love this. If you want all the background information and all the research, then listen to the three podcasts from season one entitled Atomic Habits, part One, part Two, and part three. A lot of this comes from James Clear's work.

He's the author of Atomic habits. But just remember, the cost of failure is pretty low. If we've got really small goals or miniature goals instead of massive revolutionary goals, then we've got a lot less pressure on us and so we feel a lot more confident that we can accomplish them.

And when we focus on these modest, achievable goals, we begin to create tangible success. We begin to cast votes towards our new identity as this someone who is a little more healthy than before. So to get a full background on the mindset and the science and all of the different things that you could be doing to integrate this idea, please do go back and listen to those three podcasts.

They're fantastic, if I do say so myself. That's obviously very presumptuous, but I think you'll get a lot of value out of them. In the meantime, this year, today, I'd like you to do an activity that I think is super helpful in pushing you, nudging you in the direction of where you want to go instead of forcing you to make revolutionary changes.

So in order to do this activity, I highly, highly, highly encourage that you make it social, okay? Work with parents or with friends, someone that you trust and someone that pushes you to be your best. All right? And what you'll do together is create a matrix, a two by two matrix. So there's just four squares.

In Quadrant One, I want you to write down things I'm going to do more of. And now, before you begin to fill in this matrix, I want you to think about all that you've learned throughout 2020. Let's not let this tragedy or this crisis be wasted.

Instead, think about all that you've learned about yourself, about your community, about your values, about what's most important to you. Think about what you have learned throughout 2020 and to some extent, the years before that, but particularly over the last year. And in Quadrant One, in the first square, I want you to write down a list of things, just bullet points, a list of things that you want to do more of in 2021.

In Quadrant Two, I want you to write down the things that you want to do less of. Now, you're not getting rid of these things. You just realize that these are things that you've perhaps spent a little too much time or a little too much energy, a little too much of your head space was spent in these areas.

And you think it would be healthy, you think it would be productive for you to spend less time, less energy, less of yourself doing those activities. In Quadrant Two, in Quadrant Three, in the third box, I want you to write down at least one thing, but new things that you want to try in 2021. This is your chance to take a risk, all right? To do something new, be a risk taker.

So write down at least one thing, maybe more things that you'd like to try that you've never done before, but you're willing to go out, you're willing to take that risk, and you're willing to try something new. What are the one or more things you'd like to try in 2021? And finally, in the last quadrant, in the last box, write down the things you are letting go of in 2021. So all the things that you don't want to just decrease your commitment to, but things that you want to eliminate from your life.

My recommendation is that you spend five to 15 minutes filling out this quadrant on your own in silence. And then after you've filled it out, after 15 minutes or so, then share your answers with your best friend, with your parents, with your sibling, with a group of friends, with a peer group. Whoever it is that you're doing this activity with, hopefully it's someone you trust and hopefully it's someone who wants the best for you and can push you towards doing the things that you know you should be doing or want to be doing a lot of times.

For example, the stuff that you want to try, the new things, they might remind you, hey, what about this thing you keep talking about that you're just afraid to try? Let's do it. In 2021, I want you to be that partner for the other people in your group and seek out people who can fill that role for you when you do this activity. The last piece of advice that I have for you as you're completing this activity is that you please, please have fun with this.

You should see laughter, and you should see some surprises. All right? You should talk about why people feel strongly around the things that they want to do more of, or the things they want to let go of completely, and nudge each other towards doing those things that they're a little bit scared of. But let's decide how and when we're going to do the new things in 2021.

Things that we've always wanted to do, but for whatever reason have not yet started. This is your year, 2021. Instead of feeling frustrated that maybe you haven't lived up to all of your New Year's resolutions, all of your expectations that you set for yourself, let's shift that mindset ever so slightly here about a month into the year.

And if you're listening to this and it's June or July or some other time of year, by all means, do not wait until January to start making subtle shifts in the direction that you want to go. Create the matrix. Spend 30 minutes on this activity, 15 minutes on your own, 15 minutes sharing with a friend or with someone who you trust and someone you care about and laugh together and set these smaller, meaningful goals together.

And what you're going to get after all of this is said and done is you're going to have in front of you some nudges, some gentle nudges in the direction of the life that you want for yourself. Instead of revolutionary changes, modest pivots in the direction that you want for yourself. Go and have fun with this incredible activity and make this your most productive, most exciting, and most enjoyable year yet.