The Fastest Way to Failed in 2024

If you want to dominate 2024 and achieve more in the next 12 months than you ever imagined possible, there’s a cold truth you need to face:

If you use conventional strategies––the odds are stacked against you.

And chances are that 2024 won’t be “your year.”

  • Most of you won’t achieve the resolutions you set (by some estimations only 9% will succeed)
  • Most of you won't achieve your big goals
  • Most of you won't be that much different when you arrive 12 months from now.

It isn’t because you’re dumb or ugly or unmotivated

In fact, science has shown that the men who read this contentare 69% more intelligent, handsome, and disciplined than the rest of the population.

It’s because you’re playing an unwinnable game

In this first edition of the Evolved Letters, I’m going to explain exactly what this means and how to solve it.

And by the time you’re done, you’ll have everything you need to be one of the few men who actually ACHIEVE the big goals they set on January 1st.


Winnable & Unwinnable Games

"The programmers of this game want you to fail, and when you do, they write 'Ha ha!' on the wall and they laugh about it!"

Noah Antwiler on Dirty Harry: The NES game

Back in the 1990s, when gaming was still in its infancy, certain developers found it amusing to publish “unwinnable” games.

Games that were either

  1. Literally unwinnable (meaning that no matter what you did, you could never beat the final boss).
  2. Or where a single misstep or mistake sent you back to the beginning of the game.

Deleting hours of progress and pushing you closer and closer to homiciding a game dev.

In the case of Dirty Harry, the game would regularly send players to a “Dead End Room.”

These rooms looked normal.

But the moment you set foot inside of them, the game was over. Because now? You couldn’t leave and you had to hit the ‘restart’ button.

It’s easy to laugh at this silly––albeit mildly abusive––trope in the context of video game design.

Yet every single one of us, whether we realize it or not, fall for this same trap when we set our goals and resolutions.

Without knowing it, we’ve made the game unwinnable. We’ve paved our path to success with dozens of “Dead End Rooms.”

  1. We set ABSOLUTE resolutions where a single misstep sends us back to the beginning and leaves us feeling like an equally absolute failure.
  2. We base our goals––and thus our identity and sense of worth––on OUTCOMES that we can’t control
  3. We don’t keep score to KNOW if we’re winning. And if we do? We score ourselves against an unrealistic ideal instead of a personal baseline.

But unlike the game developers, these design flukes aren’t intentional. And we aren’t laughing when we have to hit ‘restart.’

But the good news is this:

A few small adjustments can––and will––transform the results you’re able to achieve in this New Year.

Allowing you to achieve more while stressing less and enjoy the journey.

And to know that even if you don’t execute every goal perfectly, you’ll look back at the end of 2024 with a smile knowing that you made massive progress.

These are those adjustments.

The On Ramp to Success: Pick Your Game

My friend and former client Craig Ballantyne, author of The Perfect Day Formula has a saying:

Success is simple once you accept how hard it is.

He’s right.

The problem for most men is that they underestimate the difficulty of a given goal or resolution.

Thus assume that they’re capable of achieving more goals and transformations than is realistic.

In a given year, they try to:

  • Build a 6-figure side business
  • Lose 20 pounds of body fat
  • Run their first marathon
  • Learn a foreign language
  • Compete in BJJ
  • Get a promotion at work
  • Find the woman of their dreams
  • Travel to 10 new countries

And somehow still have the time to play Baldur’s Gate 3, read 52 books, and go out drinking with their friends every weekend.

They’re then shocked on December 31st, when they’ve achieved none of the resolutions they set and are, more or less, exactly where they started in January.

The truth is this:

Most things will require twice as much effort and time as we believe.

They seem simple at first. But as we begin to take action, complexity multiplies.

When we’re pursuing multiple goals at once, this complexity compounds rapidly.

As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, most of us are only capable of achieving 2-3 meaningful and big goals each year.

We can try to resist our limits––convincing ourselves that there’s a shortcut to mastery and success and that we can do it all.

Or we can embrace them.

Committing to a single game and focusing all of our time, attention, and energy on winning that game.

Before we can win a game, we must first select a game.

Action Step:

And my invitation to you is simple:

Narrow your focus.

Pick just ONE primary goal or resolution for 2024 and 1-2 supporting goals––at most.

Ask yourself:

“What is the ONE thing I could achieve this year that would have a disproportionate impact on my quality of life?”

What is the ONE thing that makes everything else easier or obsolete?

Is it transforming your body? Elevating your financial status? Creating more freedom in your career? Improving your marriage?

Focus on THAT.

And trust that a rising tide will lift all boats.

It’s better than achieve one massive transformation a year, than a dozen micro transformations.

And once you’ve selected your game? These are the steps to win it.

Step #1: Abandon Absolutes & Embrace Thresholds

Imagine that you’re back in school––nightmarish, I know.

And you’re taking a class where the first test is worth 80% of your final grade.

Fail it and it’s impossible to pass the class no matter how hard you study or how much you improve.

How will you feel going into that first test?

What happens to your motivation when you fail it?

Will you want to continue studying for subsequent tests? Will you pour energy into completing assignments or doing homework? Will you be excited about engaging with the teacher knowing that you’ll be back next semester no matter what you do?

When a single failure constitutes total defeat––anxiety spikes and motivation drops.

Now flip this scenario.

Imagine you’re taking the same class but now, there are twelve tests.

And the first one is a freebie that has no impact on your final grade.

No matter how badly you fail, you can still finish the year with an “A.”

How much more motivated would you be to continue studying after that initial failure knowing that you can still “win.”

How much more energy and engagement would you have for the class?

If the answer is eluding you, I’ll give you a hint:

A fucking LOT.

Because the human psyche can only persist toward a goal when the hope of success is possible.

Yet when most of us set goals or resolutions, we treat our performance like the test in the first scenario.

We set absolute resolutions where a single failure means total defeat.

  • Go to the gym 5 days every week
  • Meditate every day for 10-minutes
  • Completely abstain from porn / cigarettes / weed / alcohol

The conditions for success––aka winning the game––are absolute.

  • If you don’t go to the gym FIVE days EVERY week, you’ve failed.
  • If you don’t meditate EVERY day, you’ve failed.
  • If you watch porn, smoke a cigarette, or drink a beer ONCE, you’ve failed.

Just like in the Dirty Harry game, a single failure, a single misstep and it’s back to the beginning.

There’s no space for your humanity or the realities of day to day life to influence your actions––and the explicit perfectionism demanded by these goals destroys motivation and progress.

What’s worse?

By setting these unreasonable standards for yourself out the gate––instead of building to them over time––every “failure” reinforces a slew of negative beliefs and identities:

  • I’m not a man of my word
  • I always screw things up
  • I never follow through
  • I can’t change

So what’s the solution?

Give up?

Accept mediocrity?

Relegate yourself to a life of chain smoking, booze drinking, midget porn watching degeneracy?


Instead, we want to use a tool I call “victory thresholds.”

Good, Better, Best: Leveraging Victory Thresholds to Increase Performance

About a decade ago, I ran a 4-mile race through the mountains of North Carolina.

Early in the race, I made my way to the front of the pack––almost.

One other runner stood between me and first place.

Every stride widened the gap.

By mile two he disappeared from view. And with him, my hopes of a first place victory.

For the better part of a mile, I ran in silence. Disappointed by the knowledge that 1st place had slipped through my fingers.

But as I neared the finish line, another runner emerged from the pack, on my heels and gaining every second.

And the moment I saw him, I dropped into a sixth gear I didn’t even know I had.

“I might not be able to win” I thought to myself, “But I’ll be damned if I let this sonofabitch take second place from me.”

For the next half mile, I pushed my body beyond anything I’d ever done before. Ignoring the screaming in my lungs and the fire in my legs.

And with less than a foot between us, I crossed the finish line in second place.

The reason I share this story––other than to brag about what a great runner I am used to be––is simple.

It illustrates the power of victory thresholds.

Victory thresholds or “Performance Boundaries” change the conditions of success.

Instead of success being defined by a single, immutable outcome, we have a range of outcomes toward which to strive.

Instead of an “all or nothing” approach to our goals and resolutions, we approach them through the lens of “Acceptable, Good, Better, Best.”

In the example of my race:

  • Acceptable: Finish the race.
  • Good: Finish the race in third place
  • Better: Finish the race in second place
  • Best: Finish the race in first place

By defining our minimum standards for performance––acceptable––we ensure a baseline of progress by establishing a floor that we never fall below.

And by expanding the threshold for a “win,” we not only make space for circumstances we can’t control (like competing against an olympic level runner), but we dampen the motivational blow of failure.

Even if we can’t get first place, we’re still motivated to strive for second.

If we can’t get second, we push for third.

And if we can’t get third, then by Usain Bolt’s left nipple, we’re still going to finish the damn race.

Action Step: Define Your Thresholds

Redefine success based on a RANGE of outcomes instead of a single, absolute outcome.

For example:

If you want to get in better shape and solidify a training habit:

  • Acceptable: Train once a week for 60-minutes
  • Good: Train two days a week for 60-minutes
  • Better: Train three days a week for 60-minutes
  • Best: Train four days a week for 60-minutes

If you want to kick your twice a day porn habit:

  • Acceptable: Watch porn no more than once a day
  • Good: Watch porn no more than three times a week
  • Better: Watch porn no more than once a week
  • Best: Don’t watch porn (bonus points if you get laid with a real human)

By establishing an achievable minimum standard for yourself striving for a range of outcomes, progress is guaranteed.

Instead of failures being fatal to your success, they’re an expected part of your journey to ******success.

You make space for the real world to unfold. For priorities to shift. For shit to happen.

And by doing so, you give yourself the grace needed to make consistent progress over the new year.

Step #2: Focus on Lead Measures

One of the brutal truths of life is this:

Life is not fair. Outcomes are not guaranteed. We can do everything right and still fall short.

Cause and effect are not always linear.

One person can smoke a pack a day for 60 years and live until age 90.

Another person who’s never touched a cigarette could die at 45 from stage four lung cancer.

One man might be shredded year round while eating pizza, drinking beer, and putting in a few half assed training sessions a week.

While another man has to count every calorie and exercise six days a week just to stave off the dreaded dad bod.


Once you get past the inherent inequities of human existence and accept that equal effort doesn’t always result in an equal outcome.

… You’ll find that cause and effect are linked.

Even though there are no guarantees, taking––or abstaining from––certain actions increase your chances of achieving certain outcomes.

  • If you develop a high income skill and market that skill every day, you’re more likely to achieve financial freedom
  • If you exercise regularly and eat a whole foods diet, you’re more likely to have a healthy and aesthetic body
  • If you learn about psychology, conflict resolution, and communication, and prioritize time with your partner, you’re more likely to have a successful relationship

The challenge is this:

The real relationship between cause and effect is rarely immediate.

  • You don’t get lung cancer the first time you smoke a cigarette
  • You don’t get a six pack the first time you do crunches
  • You don’t make a million dollars the moment you register your LLC
  • You don’t get a divorce the first time you stonewall your spouse

In many cases, we don’t reap the benefits or consequences of our decisions for months, years, or even decades.

Yet most men focus on the outcomes––aka “lag measures”––above the process––aka “lead measures.”

They expect certain outcomes to happen in a certain way and in a certain time frame. Even though the outcome is the only thing they can’t control.

  • You can control WHAT goals you pursue
  • You can control HOW you pursue those goals
  • You can control WHO you pursue those goals with

But you can’t control when you achieve them.

And predicating our success, self-worth, and happiness on forces outside of our control is a recipe for misery.

As such, we must shift our focus from outcomes (lag measures) to process (lead measure).

Having a clear goal or outcome in mind is essential.

Without a clear target, you’ll never know if you’re shooting in the right direction.

But once you have clarity on your goal, your attention must shift to the processes and actions you believe will help you achieve that goal.

Action Step:

Look at the goal(s) you set earlier and ask yourself:

“What are the core processes and actions I believe will help me achieve this goal?”

For example, if your goal is to build a 6-figure business:

  • Send 100 emails every week to potential prospects
  • Publish two videos on YouTube each week showcasing my expertise so I can attract new clients
  • Attend at least one industry event every month

If your goal is to get into the best shape of your life:

  • Track my calories and eat 10% less than my BMR (basal metabolic rate)
  • Lift weights for 60-minutes four days a week
  • Run for 30-minutes twice a week
  • Sleep at least 8 hours a night


Take each of these action items and filter it through the “Acceptable, Good, Better, Best” framework.

Using the “100 emails a week” process as an example

  • Acceptable: Send 25 emails
  • Good: Send 50 emails
  • Better: Send 75 emails
  • Best: Send 100 emails

And now, you’re ready for the third and final step.

Point #3: Keep a Compelling Scoreboard

In his book The Four Disciplines of Execution, management consultant Sean Covey tells the story of a Louisiana high school football team playing a game after the damage of Hurricane Katrina.

After Katrina hit…

The school lost power and the scoreboard was down.

Meaning that there was no way for the audience to keep track of who was winning, how many points had been scored, or how long the game had left.

And as a result?

Even though the game was being hosted to boost morale and unify the community…

After the kickoff, the school lost interest in the game.

Because without a scoreboard there was no game.

Just a sea of testosterone fueled kids running around the grass.

His point in sharing this story was simple.

To illustrate the importance of keeping score.

In the pursuit of any goal, measurement is key.

You need to know where you are relative to your goal––and the rate at which you’re making progress.

The scoreboard keeps you motivated.

When you keep score:

  • You know when you’re falling behind and need to pick up the pace
  • You know when you’re on track and need to keep pushing
  • You know when you’re running ahead and building unstoppable momentum

And more importantly, it gives you a tool to map the lead measures to your lag measure to ensure you’re taking the right action.

When you track:

  • Your progress toward an outcome
  • The specific actions you’re taking to achieve that outcome

It gives you an objective and impartial view of your pursuit.

One of the challenges many men encounter is that they have an inaccurate view of their own effort and consistency.

As a result, they often change strategies or chase shiny objects because they feel like what they’re doing isn’t working.

  • So they change workout routines
  • They try to build yet another business
  • They give up on one hobby and pursue another one

But the truth is, their strategy is just fine.

They simply aren’t executing it consistently enough.

When you keep score, you can look back and determine-–based on data––whether the problem is the strategy or execution.

If you’re pursuing a healthier body, you can look back and see:

  • How many days did you hit your training target?
  • How many days were you on track with your diet?
  • How many days did you get sufficient sleep?

More often than not, you’ll find that the problem isn’t strategy, it’s execution.

But if you’ve been consistently executing a strategy for 60-90 days without seeing meaningful results?

You know that the approach, not the execution, is flawed

Action Step:

Create a scorecard for yourself to track your progress toward your goal.


  1. The objective progress you’ve made toward your goal(s): Money made, pounds lost, new followers, etc)
  2. The lead measure actions you’ve taken: Products tested, workouts completed, food eaten, videos posted etc

Keep this scoreboard going for 60-90 days.

Then, review your progress and ask yourself:

  1. Did I execute on my strategy consistently?
  2. Am I on track to achieve the outcomes I want?

More often than not, the answers to these questions will tell you everything you need to know to get back on track and ensure that you make 2024 the best year of your life.

I hope you enjoyed this one.

Until next week.


Who is Austin?

The Founder of ManEvolved and the creator of The Unbreakable Experience––a system that's helped more than 10,000 men turn the pain of their breakup into the power they needed to rebuild their life.

I've been working in the men's personal development and relationship space for the better part of a decade and I've had the good fortune to study the principles of human psychology, relationship dynamics, and peak performance under some of the top authors, entrepreneurs, and thinkers in the world.

Today, I use these principles to help high performing men level up every area of their life––mind, body, money, and marriage.

I'm a guinea pig who lives what I teach and I've applied the same systems I share to beat addictions, generate millions of dollars in the market, transform my marriage, and achieve huge personal goals (like traveling the world, running marathons, and competing in BJJ).

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