In North America, the top three New Year’s Resolutions are lose weight, get out of debt, and get organized. These are really good resolutions, but if you make any of them — as they stand — you’re doomed.
Most people approach New Year’s Resolutions as if they’ve just been convicted of a major crime — and the punishment starts January One. That’s not the way to do it. Here are a few simple rules that will almost guarantee resolution success – unless, like me — your New Year’s Resolution is “Quit Procrastinating.” In that case, we can do all this — tomorrow.
Be Specific – “I’m going to lose weight” doesn’t mean anything. 30 grams? 80 kilos? A New Year’s Resolution should never leap into the universe like that. It needs pinpoint accuracy. The difference between “I’m going to lose weight” and “I’m going to lose 5 kilos by Easter” is huge. One is a vague notion and the other is “Freeze! Put your hands in the air and step away from the pie.”.
What’s the Reward? – Let’s face it, without a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, ordinary folks like us tend to sit on our asses, looking at the pretty colours. So when you make a New Year’s Resolution, you need to show that inner donkey of yours a carrot. Quite simply, “I’m going to lose 5 kilos by Easter because the reality is fat bastards only have great sex in the movies.”
Be Reasonable — Your New Year’s Resolutions need a fighting chance to survive. For example, if you owe VISA half the national debt of Italy, it’s not reasonable to expect you’re going to get out of debt in 12 months. A more reasonable resolution would be, “I’m going to pay off just one credit card, chop it into little pieces, bake it into a brownie and give it to my bloodsucking banker next Christmas.”
Have a Plan – Turn “I’m going to get organized” into “I’m going to haul whatever is green and growling out of the refrigerator and throw it away.” Small is better. Downsize the tasks: first the fridge — finish it — then start on the closet. If you try to do everything at once, you’re just going to be overwhelmed and sink back into the debris.
Go Public – Tell everybody what you’re doing. There’s always some jerk who’s going to “I told you so!” if you’re still puffing the Marlboros next Christmas, but take the chance. Everybody needs a fan club, and you’d be surprised how many people are in your corner.
Bring a Friend – It’s a lot easier to do anything if you’ve got company. There’s no rule that says New Year’s Resolutions are solitary activities.
And finally, the #1 Rule:
Have Fun – Always remember a New Year’s Resolution isn’t punishment. If it feels that way, don’t make it in the first place.
Happy New Year — Good Luck!