Resolve Cycles

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Crush akrasia, procrastination, and planning confusion with the CFAR technique known as Resolve Cycles.

A Resolve Cycle is five minutes of high-intensity action taken to solve a problem in your life. To do a resolve cycle, simply set a timer on your phone for five minutes, then spend those five minutes solving your problem.

Don't "try" to solve it, and don't make a plan. Actually solve it. Sometimes this turns out to be impossible (so don't beat yourself up if you fail) but often you're able to make surprising progress on a problem.

Instructional Material

Cohort Activity

Every member of the cohort, choose a problem in your life that you would like to solve. In your cohort chat, post a few sentences describing the problem and a short list of relevant resources.

For each problem that you didn't post, spend a five-minute resolve cycle thinking about how you would solve it. Add your ideas as comments in a thread on the original problem.

At the end of this step, you should have your original problem plus a list of potential solutions.

Note. Don't worry too much about accidentally suggesting impossible ideas — they'll be able to prune those pretty quickly.

Implementation (15 minutes)

Now that you have a list of potential solutions, take 15 minutes to execute the three-step Resolve Cycle technique described in the CFAR article. As a reminder, the technique is briefly outlined below.

Step 1: Try to solve the problem [5 minutes]

Spend five minutes trying to solve the problem. Use the list of ideas your cohort gave you as inspiration but don't feel like you have to choose one of those options.

Don't make a plan; actually solve the problem. Any steps left uncompleted after the five minutes should be so trivial that anyone could do them, no matter how unmotivated. Think "open the box I just got from Amazon" level of difficulty.

Step 2: Brainstorm five-minute actions [5 minutes]

If the problem hasn't been solved, spend another Resolve Cycle generating a list of steps you could take to solve the problem. To maximize the chances of you actually doing the steps, each step should fit into a five-minute Resolve Cycle.

Step 3: Do the top action [5 minutes]

From the list generated in Step 2, choose the first or most promising item. Spend a Resolve Cycle to complete it.

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