Pete's Pen
And your new year’s resolution is?

You will already know that about 5 million South Africans will have made at least one resolution, and by the end of January 4,900,000 will have given up. Most of the rest will have given up by the end of February. Will you be one of those? Of course you will, if you’re normal. Then, after failing, comes the self-punishment.
Last year a friend of mine decided to lose weight. Halfway through January he said to me that he had been on a diet for two weeks and all he had lost was a fortnight.
So what are we to do?
Well, I have not only a theory, but a well-tested practical solution to the keeping of a resolution. This is how it works. First, though, there are some rules:
Rule 1: Any resolution made on new year’s eve with a belly full of booze doesn’t count;
Rule 2: Any resolution made on New year’s morning with a hangover doesn’t count; and
Rule 3: Resolutions do not have to start on 1st January. It’s a new year’s resolution so can start at any time in the new year.

Now let’s have a look at the top 6 resolutions made by people every year. There’s an 80% chance that your new year’s resolution includes at least one of the following:

1. Quit smoking;
2. Lose weight;
3. Get fit;
4. Work Smarter, not harder;
5. Spend more time with the family/kids; and
6. Cut out the booze;

Sound familiar? Here’s my secret (a bit tongue in cheek of course) – I call it my “Failure Free Fortnight”.

All you have to do is make a resolution sort of like this: “I will stop smoking for exactly two weeks starting from….” You’ll be surprised how easy it is to do two weeks – all it needs is a little effort.

However, try doing it for 365 days with that parrot on your shoulder telling you that you’ll never smoke again and you have no chance. You’ll be out buying a pack of fags before lunch on the first day.

But two weeks? It’s the perfect test of will-power. When you have your first cigarette on day 15 you can light up with pride. You have achieved your new year’s resolution. But guess what? The chances are that you will try another two weeks. Then another……….

The system works well for most resolutions that demand some form of willpower, but what about number 4 resolution – ‘work smarter, not harder’.

I have a theory for that too, but as I have already used up my allocated words for this post, I’ll leave it for two weeks. Yes, you guessed it, my new year’s resolution is that I will write a post every two weeks- if I manage to keep to it of course.

Talk soon

Peter Veal