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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Contents - Deirdre Macken macken.deirdre@

Here’s the deal with new year’s res­o­lu­tions. We know we’re go­ing to fail so we set the bar low so we won’t feel too bad about it. We want to lose a bit of weight; we want to cut down on drink­ing or get a bet­ter work-life bal­ance. Blah, blah, they are all very fuzzy and nice and, if you pre­sented them to your life coach, she’d tear up the list and say try harder.

So, why not try harder? If we are go­ing to fail at these pledges (some­thing like 92 per cent will), why not make big prom­ises? Set the bar high so that when Fe­bru­ary comes (the av­er­age time it takes for a res­o­lu­tion to lapse) we can con­sole our­selves that we re­ally had a go.

So, let’s don the Ly­cra shorts and a mega­phone and get into a coach­ing ses­sion. This year, we’re go­ing to get spe­cific, go­ing to get bol­shie and, while some of these ideas are big, there are a few stock­ing fillers any­one can achieve.

Sack your tech­nol­ogy hand­maiden. We all have one, even peo­ple who were born with bytes be­tween their ears. It’s time to face the fact we will al­ways be up­dat­ing our tech­nol­ogy so as soon as we learn to do it our­selves, the bet­ter our re­la­tion­ships with the younger gen­er­a­tion will be.

Sort out your dig­i­tal cup­boards. There are bil­lions of files, pho­tos, bor­ing mes­sages and in­crim­i­nat­ing facts on the world’s com­put­ers and half of them may be on your de­vices. Dump them be­fore the cloud starts charg­ing to store your junk.

Make a friend of some­one who is 20 years younger or 20 years older. If that’s hard to do, then you re­ally are liv­ing in a de­mo­graphic bub­ble. Hav­ing a friend from an­other era is as re­fresh­ing as a visit to an­other coun­try.

Cut pro­cras­ti­na­tion in half. This may sound weird, but if you go through the process of cal­cu­lat­ing how much time you spend pro­cras­ti­nat­ing and then fig­ure out what half that time would be, you will feel so fool­ish about the whole thing that you’ll just do it.

Stop help­ing your kids. Con­tro­ver­sial, I know, but if you read the bi­ogra­phies of suc­cess­ful adults who grew up with dis­abil­i­ties, most thank their par­ents for not help­ing them. You don’t have to catch ev­ery stum­ble or pre­vent ev­ery tear be­cause one day the world will push them over or make them cry and they won’t know what hit them.

Sack your work per­sona. Ev­i­dently we all bring a ver­sion of our­selves to work be­cause we’re too afraid to bring our real selves. Un­less, you’re a psy­chopath, be your­self.

On the worst day of the week — of­ten Tues- day — book your next hol­i­day, be­cause Tues­day is the cheap­est day to buy travel on­line.

When peo­ple raise their voices, lower yours. This is like Michelle Obama’s ad­vice that “when they go low, you go high”. But it works; if they’re shout­ing, you’re win­ning. At the very least, you will turn down the vol­ume on world bol­shi­ness.

Write a CV of your life skills to find out where the holes are. If, for ex­am­ple, you can’t draw or sing or de­scribe why you like pinot noir, then take a course in it. You may not get much bet­ter at it but you’ll feel a re­newed ap­pre­ci­a­tion for those who are good at it.

Visit the coun­try if you live in the city. Visit the beach if you live in the coun­try. Visit a mul­ti­cul­tural sub­urb if you live in a place where ev­ery­one looks like you. And, if you’re feel­ing brave, visit a shop where you don’t recog­nise any­thing on the shelves.

Find those miss­ing socks and, if you can’t, ditch the or­phans. There’s a metaphor there.

Grow some­thing from an­other era. It may be a 1950s plant or a 16th-cen­tury beard, but it will root you in time like noth­ing else.

For one week, halve your spend­ing. Fig­ure out what your dis­pos­able in­come is, then spend only half. Think of it as a les­son in mar­ginal util­ity or an eco­nom­ics fit­ness pro­gram and, if you suc­ceed, you can re­ward your­self by dou­bling your spend­ing the next week.

Don’t read lis­ti­cles. Oops, we may have bro­ken our first res­o­lu­tion. But at least we can say we failed fast and we failed small (as they say in Sil­i­con Val­ley), but we’ve still got time to suc­ceed big time. gmail.com

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