Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year Resolutions 2014

There is a lot of help out there when it comes to making more effective New Year Resolutions.

One place to look is Gretchen Rubin’s happiness blog. Here are five questions she suggests we ask ourselves.

1. “What would make me happier?”
2. “What is a concrete action that would bring about change?”
3. “Am I a ‘yes’ resolver or a ‘no’ resolver?”
4. “Am I starting small enough?”
5. “How am I going to hold myself accountable?”

I personally like Gretchen’s No.2. It’s always about concrete action. Whenever we had lessons in achieving objectives when I was in the marketing business, the emphasis was always on “concrete action.” Those seminars also contained No.4 and No.5.
Steps to achieving a goal need to be tiny. People ask me how to write a novel. My typical answer is “500 words a day.” Small steps done consistently over the necessary time period will get you to within grabbing distance of that big goal you’ve got in mind.
Then comes No.5: holding yourself accountable. One way to help with accountability would be to use the spreadsheet suggested by Nik Morton in his How to Write a Western in 30 Days.

The website WikiHow gives suggestions, too.
1. Be clear about what you want.
2. Understand why you want it.
3. Be specific about what you want.
4. Be committed to the outcome.
5. Put it in writing.
6. Chart your progress.
7. Get support.

In other words, your plan for the year (your resolutions are basically your plan) is not something you come up with 10 minutes to midnight on December 31. You need to think about what you want, what you need, and how to get both. The successful New Year Resolution is well thought out, well planned in specific steps on a specific timetable, and written down. Progress is important. You need to know how many words you have written as well as how many words you plan to write to finish the project. Subtracting one from the other tells you how close (or how far) you are.

More advice can be found in Lifehack’s website. Here are the six things they say you should be aware of or do when coming up with your plan for 2014.

From Healthful Life
1. Reflect with Gratitude
2. Value Yourself
3. Start by Adding In
4. Self-speak with Care
5. Assess Your Values
6. Consider Embodiment

Notice that Lifehack’s suggestions are more than just a list of things to do. They encompass what might be called mental training, too. They say to look at ways your life is good, reflect on that goodness, and perhaps write down those things. In a way, setting New Year Resolution is like going on a diet. And here are some of the things that help and hinder dieters. They say that weight goes up as sleep goes down. They also say you should worry a little bit. Meditation is always good, and—now here’s the real point—write down three things you are grateful for EVERY DAY.

Lifehack says to celebrate the good things. (That does not mean go on an eating binge because you lost five pounds or because you got 100 pages written.) Pick a little mental exercise you can do once a day, for example.

How much are you worth. Add it up. It’ll turn out to be a fortune. Every person is unique. Everyone has something to offer the world. You. Me. Everybody.

Add instead of subtract is a good idea, too. Don’t deprive, life is about abundance, Lifehack says, and I agree.

Every day presents choices for you to make. Perhaps there’s a way for you to make choices that puts you a little more in control of your life. That helps keep you on the track you resolved at New Year’s time.

Make a list of what’s good about yourself. Celebrate. I watched a video done by a police sketch artist, you know, the one who sketches a suspect from descriptions of the eye witness. will show you the process. The interesting thing is, the descriptions of the self were invariably different and not as accurate in a negative way as the observers. The final conclusion: You are more beautiful than you think.

ABC News gives us five strategies for effective New Year Resolutions.
1. Balance good and bad
2. Focus on process
3. Think "If/ Then"
4. Replace don't erase
5. Keep on repeating

Here’s hoping we can make New Year Resolutions that make us more productive, more creative, more empathetic, more sympathetic, and ever more one of a kind.


  1. What a great perspective on how to live a good life daily through yearly. Wonderful links. May everyone have a year of met resolutions. Doris

  2. Charlie, awesome, awesome blog. I believe too many of us look at the negatives in our lives instead of the positives on an everyday basis. It's hard to break that habit and start thinking good things about yourself more often than the bad things. I stopped making New Year's resolutions a long time ago--that, to me, is a way of setting yourself up for failure from the beginning. Instead, I "resolve" to try to be a better person, to do good when I can do it, and to try to be more understanding of everyone. I agree--baby steps are the way to go, and so many of us bite off more than we can chew and then wonder "Why did I fail?" Thanks again for this wonderful, insightful post and some great links--food for thought on this New Year's Day!

  3. Charlie, I'm going to remember this blog and come back to it from time to time to remind myself of what I need to do.

  4. Hi Charlie,

    The first part of your blog was similar to what I learned in a wellness course for people with chronic health issues. They called it an Action Plan, but it was essentially the same idea. It was the single most valuable lesson in the course.

    I've seen that Dove commercial too and it sure got me to thinking. Excellent post!


  5. Thanks guys. I was just wondering how to set up my 2014 and thought I'd see what was on the web. Such good stuff that I couldn't help sharing.