How Do I Make A Workable New Year Resolution?

Happy New Year 2019!

Every new year, we try to set up resolutions.

New year – new me. Quit smoking. Go to the gym. Eliminate that belly fat. Read books. Start the business you’ve always dreamt of. Prune away toxic people. Nurture relationships.

And we fail. Miserably.

Why do we fail? It’s not just you, there are more people out there who suck at keeping up with resolutions.

“So why does that happen?”

The prima facie reason for this is we are mostly on a reactive mode – we are busy executing our ‘daily program logs’ – answering emails, solving office issues, and pleasing clients/customers. While these ‘daily program logs’ are important to your work, there exists a little room for you to be proactive and cater your needs of self-growth. To add insult to injury, our most ‘resolutions’ are related to self-growth. Sorry.

“Okay, what do I do now then?”

Relax. I’ve got this covered.

Imagine playing Super Mario, and fighting the evil boss right at the start of the game. Sounds stupid, aye?


“Yes I tried that. Still didn’t work.”

One more reason why it still didn’t work was probably due to lack of a visible tracking. Some resolutions like burning the belly fat, or reducing weight, or saving up for an international trip is clearly quantifiable, and thus can be easily tracked. However, some resolutions like working on a relationship or cutting out toxic people can not be visibly tracked.

Also read: What is productivity anyway?

“What do you do about that?”

James Clear, in his blog, explains about how to stick with good habits by using “paper clip strategy”.

In 1993, a bank in Canada hired a rookie stock broker named Trent Dyrsmid. Nobody at the firm expected too much of Dyrsmid’s performance. Despite all the odds, Dyrsmid made immediate progress as a stock broker, all thanks to his relentless habit he used with a visual cue – paper clips.

On his desk, he placed two jars – one filled with 120 paper clips and another empty. Every morning he would start with 120 paper clips in one jar and would keep dialing the phone until he had moved them all to the second jar.

That was it. 120 calls per day. One paper clip, one phone call at a time.


This is a simple, yet powerful visual tool to track your performance, which will help you eventually develop a habit, and achieve your resolution.

Visual cues constantly remind you to push your behavior. We often lie to ourselves about starting something. We are usually rewarding ourselves first, and pushing our actions for later (“I’m going to avoid junk foods from tomorrow. For real from tomorrow. Just the last bag of chips today.”) Days later, our motivation level plunges down the graph. We start being “busy” with our “daily program logs” again. This is why a visual cue is important. Just keeping the record of progress inside our mind does not work at all. Our minds need something visible, some visual evidence.

That’s it. Good luck!

Happy New Year 2019.