Making New Year’s resolutions is a negotiation with yourself. So instead of just making a list (and checking it twice,) do what negotiators all over the world do: throw in some things you know you can keep. And add some you don’t care about not keeping others.
--I resolve to not shoot anyone. Most of us can go along with that, except for a handful of gun nuts who like hunting little kids in classrooms, moviegoers, gay people, Jewish people, black or Latino people and maybe a few bank and convenience store robbers with itchy trigger fingers.
--I resolve to not buy a $4,000 exercise machine and if I do, I resolve to not follow the DVD exercise that come with it, free (a $500 value.) These things arrive. You set them up. You use them daily for -- oh, say -- a week. Then (the recommended) three times a week. Then once. And you realize it will cost you a small fortune to return it, plus the five year loan means only a small payment each month. And it looks so … so … athletic sitting in the basement collecting dust.
--I resolve not to buy chickens unless they’re labeled “no antibiotics, ever.” Easy to keep this one. Makes you feel like you’ve done something for your health while being kind to the chickens. Except it’s illegal to sell chickens that aren’t antibiotic free. And you’re not being kind to the chickens. They’re mistreated by the Chicken-Industrial Complex no matter what they’re not injected with.
--I resolve not to vape. Another easy-keeper. Nothing replaces the fine, satisfying cancer causing fumes of real tobacco.
--I resolve to be a kinder gentler “me.” Nonsense. If you have to do behavior modification by resolution, it’s never going to work. And you know that.
Here’s a good slip-in:
--I resolve to gain more than ten pounds in 2020. Chances are this is an auto-break. But make sure you use an achievable limit. It almost always works. So you gain 9.4 pounds by December. Bingo. You failed on the side of the angels.
--Pick your top-five Commandments. Bet you already keep ‘em.
Here’s another one that’s relatively easy to keep:
--I resolve to watch less TV. Fine. Get a smaller set and watch all you want. This is a technical keeper. Just don’t confuse less with “fewer hours.”
--I resolve not to be taken in by the hype and then buying a 2020 Corvette. It’s radically different from any other year’s model. And it’s in such high demand at such a (relatively) low price and in such short supply that chances are you will be able to keep this resolution even if you put down a deposit and sign onto a waiting list.
So you win this year’s negotiation. But you also lose. That’s because you’re negotiating with yourself.
And behave yourself at the bargaining table. That’s how the greats in the negotiation business did it. Be more like Walter Reuther and less like Mike Quill. Be more like Henry Kissinger and less like donald trump.
You can do it.
Note to readers: This is our final Wessay of 2019. We will post a “least-worst-of” on New Year’s Eve, next Tuesday and resume new posts one week from today.
Happy New Year.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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