Here we are, basking in the holy glow of our New Year’s Resolutions. We haven’t eaten anything but lettuce since the December debauch, we’ve taken the books and jackets off the treadmill (that’s a twofer!) and haven’t whipped out the credit cards for two-and-a-half whole days. This is going to be easy, right? WRONG! Statistically, New Year’s Resolutions have a 99% failure rate, and chances are good by the time it’s bathing suit season, most of us won’t be able to cram ourselves into the damn thing — even if we could afford to buy it. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The problem is most of us approach New Year’s Resolutions as if we’re contemplating psychological suicide. Here’s the deal, folks! You can’t change your personality by flipping a page on the calendar. In fact, despite what every self-help shyster on the planet tells you, after about age 25, you can’t change your personality at all. Which means, if you’re like me and love chocolate, wine and promiscuous procrastination, you’re kinda stuck with it. So rather than attempting a midnight psychiatric makeover, stop the madness and work with what ya got. Here’s how to bully your subconscious into doing what it’s told.
Get real – Pull your head out of the clouds (or some other place.) If you owe enough cash to fund a Monaco casino, getting completely out of debt in 2020 is not a reasonable resolution. Aim low. 25 percent? 10 percent? 5 bucks a month? Make sure it works before you start shooting your mouth off in some airy-fairy internal monologue.
Quit being so vague – Thinking, “I wanna lose some weight” is crap. You know exactly how many kilos are too many: you’ve seen yourself naked. Say it out loud. Write it down. Glue it to the fridge. Now, remember your momma didn’t raise any saints, so pastry is never going to be off the menu. Check item #1, and precede with caution.
Nothing happens without a deadline – You’ve known this since grade school and, yeah, you might be feeling all adult these days, but that’s not a Hogwarts’ incantation to self-discipline. Create a date and put in on every calendar you can get your mitts on – including a telephone countdown. Without a crash-and-burn deadline, our minds tend to wander. They need to be slapped into focus.
What’s in it for me – This is where most people screw up because you can’t reward a successful diet with birthday cake or a loan payment with a spending spree. So, if you’re going to show your inner donkey a carrot, make sure it isn’t the very thing you’ve been trying to get the donkey to avoid in the first place.
All it takes is a little psychological warfare, and next November you could be rockin’ a black Look-At-Me/Look-At-Me Speedo at an exclusively expensive tropical resort of your choice. That’s what New Year’s Resolutions are for — aren’t they?