Thursday, January 01, 2015

The Fat Man’s Guide to New Year Resolutions


I’m not a huge fan of resolutions. Actively changing something isn’t something I enjoy doing, more so because it means that you’re acknowledging that something needs fixing. Which is never nice. But that’s the whole story of human nature; the only thing that’s permanent is change, so the Wolfgang song goes, and it’s up to us to adapt to it.

So maybe resolutions are one tool of adaptation. I just thought that up right now, as of this moment. I’m not going to list everything that’s on my resolution list—that’s like showing your underpants to your neighbors early in the morning. Instead, I’m going to write down the resolutions I made for making resolutions. So without further ado, here is the Fat Man’s guide to making New Year resolutions.

Be Realistic. It’s very easy to make resolutions that’re designed to help us improve ourselves, but just like this article that’s been going viral recently, you need to focus less on goals, and more on systems. Sit down when you’re making your resolutions list, and think: will this resolution be attainable? Do I have the mental stamina to work towards this goal? Or should building my resolve be a more important goal, for now? You can have as many resolutions as you want, but if you’re not going to work on them anyway, then you’re missing the point of having a resolution.

Keep it to a Minimum. Some folks think that having a long list of resolutions is a surefire way of keeping at least some of them. Sure, but that’s not how probability works; you’re basically gambling away your future. A person who’s got a plan for achieving every item in a short list of resolutions is more likely to achieve some of them, than a person with a long list without any plans. A good rule of thumb is to use 20% of your age. That way, you won’t hit the double digits up until you’re in your 50s, at which point you probably wouldn’t care too much about resolutions anyway.

Keep your List Ubiquitous. For most people, the saying “out of sight, out of mind” takes a reality all on its own. While I don’t approve of showing your stuff to everybody, it needs to be somewhere where you can always see it. That means you need to make the effort to ensure that your list can nag you no matter what you do.

Know your limits. This is related to the first item on this list. Can you actually stop smoking this year? Will you actually be able to save ten pesos a day, for a year? Donald Trump can make it his resolution to go on more vacations; a salaryman can’t easily make this decision without planning properly for the long term. If you don’t think you can do it, then don’t even work on it.

That said, I hope you guys have a prosperous New Year ahead of you. Don’t burn off a finger!