Effective New Year’s Resolutions

I recently read about how to set more relevant and effective new year’s resolutions.  At the year’s end, I am typically not a resolution-setter.  My problem with setting new year’s resolutions are three-fold:

  • Focusing on my perceived shortcomings driven by my own insecurities, not necessarily what I really need to work on
  • Setting too many goals
  • Trying to accomplish them all at once

This onslaught of self-improvement tasks is unfocused and overwhelming, and dooms the self-improver to fail.  Like a pimple that looms large in the mirror but no one else really notices, we tend to amplify and focus on own perceived physical or emotional defects.  The resolutions we should work on are better set by trusted third parties, but how can you objectively set your own personal goals?

A better way to approach may be to enlist your friends to set your new year’s resolutions for you:

  • Hold an end-of-year party for you and your friends.  You can do this at someone’s home, a bar or restaurant – anywhere where you can gather together in a group.
  • Each person writes his or her name on a slip of paper and throws it in a bowl.
  • Everyone picks a name out of the bowl (if you pick your own name, throw it back in and pick again).
  • On a new slip of paper, write down the resolution you think that person should have and toss it in the bowl.
  • Everyone picks out 1 slip of paper.
  • In turn, each person reads the resolution and to whom in the group that resolution should apply and why.
  • Everyone discusses.  Often, the group will come to a completely different conclusion.
  • It would be a good idea to cap the discussion at 5 minutes.

This approach keeps you focused on a single issue that everyone agrees needs your focus.  It’s a fun, interesting way to find out how your friend perceive you, lets you focus on a single, relevant new year’s resolution and increases your chances of actually achieving your goal.