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F*#k new years resolutions

Welcome to today’s issue of Conversion Alchemy Journal. If you received this from a friend and enjoy it, subscribe here.

Hey Reader,

Please, don’t tell me you’re one of those people who sets “new years resolutions”… You know they never work. If you are, I’m going to fix you.

Why wouldn’t I apply what I learn in the copywriting trenches to my personal life??

Think about it, as copywriters or marketers, we get to learn and take advantage of hundreds of years of studies on how people make decisions and behave. If this stuff works for influencing others, why shouldn’t it work to influence you and how you think and act?

Want to change how you think? Start from realizing you’re no different from everybody else.

Then dive into the Jobs To Be Done framework to understand why you do what you do, and how to change it.

One of the foundational principles of JTBD is called the 4 forces of progress. The other day on a walk with my brother I explained it to him, and he was shocked. 🤯

For the first time he had a simple, easy to remember mental model to understand how to create change.

Here’s what it looks like:


Source: The re-wired group

The 4 forces of progress are:

  • The push of the situation
  • The pull of the new solution
  • The habit of the present
  • The anxiety of the new solution

It’s an amazing way not only to frame your user research interviews, but, turns out, it can also help you understand why it’s so hard to stick to new years resolutions.

When it comes to creating a new habit at the end of the year, you are motivated by either current lack of progress, a couple extra pounds, crappy relationships, the need for more excitement in your life, and so on.

In short, the current situation is PUSHING you to change.

But then you have your current HABITS. They are likely rooted deep into your subconscious and lifestyle. It’s hard to get rid of them. And as if it wasn’t enough, you have all the ANXIETY of the new routine or goals you’re thinking of embarking on.

The only thing that can tip the scale in your favor, is the PULL of the new prospect you set for yourself.

Problem is:

  • starting to work out 3 times a week when you’ve been couch-potatoing for years doesn’t sound so compelling
  • putting in the extra hours on weekends and evenings to finally build your side hustle is overwhelming and doesn’t guarantee you’ll make it
  • committing to tracking your every single thing you eat day in and day out, is daunting and feels like you’re gonna miss out
  • etc…

The pull of the new (re)solution and the push of your current situation are not strong enough to balance out the two negative forces. So you commit for the first two, three weeks – and then decide it’s not worth it.


Instead of leaving your ambitious goals to chance, understand the 4 forces and put them to work for you.

Here are the only 2 ways to do it:

  1. Look at your situation and find a way to realize how much you need to change. Visualize how much better it will feel when you stick to your commitment. Then, reflect on your current habits and feel how unhelpful they are. Let it sink in, make it painful.
  2. Build systems and use constraints to make the new habit, goal or way of doing things, as easy as possible to follow through with. Start small, and plan ahead. Future-proof your success.

A great exercise here is Tim Ferris’ fear setting.

If you still can’t commit to it, then you know why. Your current situation doesn’t suck enough or the new solution is not compelling enough.

And as you do all of this – study yourself, how you behave and how you think through the process. You will start internalizing how knowing these 4 forces can help you sell more with your copy.

Screw new years resolutions. Go for new years progress.

📚 3 things to get better at copywriting

1. How to make anything entertaining

Sabri Suby managed to make an ecommerce website teardown entertaining as hell. Highly recommend you watch this even if you don’t care about ecommerce or conversion optimization. It’s a masterclass in giving an interesting spin to commonly “boring” and very specialized content.

2. Are you building your customer personas the right way?

Because there’s a bad, useless way and a better one. I 100% agree with Rand Fiskin in this article over at Spark Toro. Speaking of Spark Toro, if you don’t know it, it’s a pretty cool tool to find out where your audience hangs out, what they talk about, who they follow and a lot more. I started using it for both internal biz dev and for client work. I’ll report back with a guide on how I do it.


Source: Spark Toro

3. Do less, do it slower, do it better.

I loved this post from Justin Blackman on how important it is to cultivate your craft and do the work that’s required. Even in the age of AI – especially now – this is how you stand out.

Experience. Results. Presence. Effort. Generosity. That’s how you earn your title. – Justin Blackman

✅ Don’t miss it

  • Last week I posted a video walking you through my framework for writing and structuring the flow of a B2B SaaS homepage. Today, we’re looking at a couple of examples from past client projects, so you can see how it all applies to the real world.

🤔 Thought of the week

“Humans are not driven by the past. We’re pulled forward by the future we’re most committed to” – Dr. Benjamin Hardy, Be your future self now

Don’t waste time trying to rewrite a past you don’t like, invest it in writing a future you want.

I’m headed home to Italy for the holidays and I’ll be back with these emails after January 8th.

Wish you and your family happy holidays and a great start of 2024!

p.s. I have lots of things in store, but I’ll share more next time. 😊

Have a great weekend!

Chris Silvestri

Founder, Conversion Alchemy

🙌🏻 Let’s be friends (unless you’re a stalker)

23 Greyfriars, Eastgate Street, Winchester, Hampshire so238ea
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Every week I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

Let’s nerd about decision making, persuasion, habits, and conversion optimization.