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Reboot Those Resolutions!

BullseyeWhat ever happened to those New Year’s Resolutions?  Are they tucked away in a drawer, or so obsolete now you just don’t read them?  Time to reboot your resolutions.  Most businesses reset expectations every quarter.  So, now’s a good time for a little house cleaning and resetting of what you think you can really accomplish.  They are:

  1. Kill Your Darlings
  2. Tweak ‘Em
  3. Make ‘Em Mobile

The key steps don’t take long.  You can do it with one hand, eating a sandwich!

Kill Your Darlings

Part of the problem is that many of our resolutions cease making sense.  They are old or your priorities have changed.

With a nod to Stephen King, you’ve got to get rid of those resolutions that you put on your list that get no traction.  For example, “Find Mr. Right” or “Write my Novel.”  Let’s face it.  You’ve put each on your list but can’t seem to get started.  Maybe you’re not even making an effort, or you can revive it for a day or two, then see it vegetate on your list.

The problem may be simply that your goals have changed.  Or, that it is loaded up with emotional baggage.  If so, it’s time to jettison these from your resolution list.

Not ready to let go? It’s easy to say, Kill Your Darlings, but it’s harder to do. Every great writer has a wonderful passage that they have painstakingly refined, only to find it has no place in their work.  So, instead of letting these darlings hang in there (aka granting them immunity), the writer deletes these passages entirely.  Hemingway did this relentlessly.  But as it applies to resolution, you are getting rid of the baggage.  Yes, pretty expensive baggage, since you’ve invested a lot into trying to get it going.

Tweak ‘Em

WrenchSome of your resolutions are not concrete enough.  In other words, you say “Bike to Work” but you don’t have a bike!  You say “Lose 20 Pounds” but your scale doesn’t work.  You say “Go to Work Earlier” but you play games until 2 AM each night.  So you may realize you have a resolution, but you can’t seem to make any progress on it.  And you really don’t want to kill this darling right away.

OK, a slight reprieve then.  Rewrite your resolution so that it has a very concrete next step.  Add a time to get started while you’re at it.  For example:

Old New When?
“Write my novel” “Write a one-page outline for my novel.” Next Saturday
“Get more exercise” “Go to the gym every Wednesday for a month.” Every Wednesday for a month
“Learn French” “Listen to my French phrases on the way to work.” Every Monday for a month
“Be a better husband.” “Do the dishes for a week.” Next week
“Have more friends.” “Invite Jane and Sid over for a glass of wine one weekend.” This month


Yes, these are just the beginning of achieving a higher goal, but that’s how you start.

The key is breaking your loops.  That is, you get into a convenient habit for doing something, or how you like to eat, and you can’t get out of the loop.  When you drive to work, you listen to music, not your French phrases.  Your phone can help by giving you the ability to explore your habits and remind you to do something.

Make ‘Em Mobile

Now that you’ve tweaked your resolutions, it’s time to re-order them in terms of their priority.  You may have had one view of their importance at the beginning of the year.  But now it’s time to refine the order.

First assign an A, B, or C to each one.  A should be put alongside those resolutions that you must do something about.  For example, if you know you’re going to be out of a job soon, put your resolutions that deal with finding new work as an A priority.  B are not as critical, but still very important.  You certainly want to achieve these, but there’s no deadline.  Finally, C is for the nice-to-have’s.  Yes, it would be nice to go to Paris in the fall, but its priority pales in comparison to having a job by October, for example.

Once you’ve prioritize, pick the top ones and put these on your phone.  The easiest way is to simply enter these on a single note into Evernote and attach a reminder.  Then, put this note on your home page.

Here are the steps using Evernote:

  1. Create a new note in Evernote.
  2. Type in your top three resolutions with a title such as “Top Three Resolutions.”
  3. Click on the reminder button, and add a date and time.  This is to re-enforce your resolutions. You may want to remind yourself every week.
  4. Click on the menu, and click “Add to Home Screen.”  This will place it on your home screen with the title.

You can of course add it to your Lock Screen or Splash Screen on Android phones, but this takes an app and some time.  So, try Evernote first.  I like to draw my resolutions with a few characters or an image that I can readily understand.

You can also take those same top resolutions and put them on a piece of paper on to your computer or TV screen or your mirror.  Again, the more reminders the better.

But even with these reminders, remember that you have to break your loops to make any progress on these resolutions.  So, remember to identify the cues that trigger your habits, and interrupt them with something that also gives you a reward.

In less than ten minutes, you have revived your resolutions on your phone and are on your way to accomplishing your goals.

Also see Mobo Brain: A Guide to Mobile Brainpower



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