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