Neil Offen: How to keep those resolutions

Jan. 13, 2013 @ 08:54 PM

You’ve made them already, those little promises to yourself that after all these years of being you, you’re going to be somebody else during 2013. But how are you actually going to keep those New Year’s resolutions?
Here’s how:
Don’t write them down. That way, you’re much more likely to forget them and much less likely to confuse them with your user name and password for your online Time-Warner Cable account.
If you do write them down, write them small, and in ink that smudges, and on that little Post-it note that already has somebody’s phone number written on it, except you don’t know who that somebody is and you really don’t want to call to find out in case it’s somebody from the credit card company offering you a new card with a special introductory rate that won’t quadruple until Thursday.  
Make your resolutions broad, not specific. Don’t resolve to “lose 20 pounds.” Instead, resolve to “not eat any peach caramel toffuti” during the month of March. 
Make your resolutions specific, not broad. Instead of resolving to “stop getting angry at the computer” this year, resolve to “punch Bill Gates in the face” the next time you see him.
Resolve to quit smoking, particularly if you actually did quit smoking in August of 1977. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment.
Announce your resolutions publicly, like in a memo to all your co-workers, so they can understand how difficult it is for you to stop eating pistachios at your desk and strewing the shells on the floor. 
If you resolve to cut something out of your diet this year that you really like, resolve as well to replace it with something even better. For instance, if you banish double-fudge bars because they’re too fudgy, replace them with Breyer’s Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, which is not fudgy at all and is frequently available at the supermarket in buy-one, get-one-free promotions.
Never resolve to get better organized if you can’t find on your desk where you put the piece of paper and the pen to write down that you need to get better organized.
Always include on your list resolutions you know you will be able to accomplish — such as, “breathe regularly” and “check your email more frequently.” It will feel really good when you can cross them off and resume eating peach caramel toffuti.
Whatever you do, don’t resolve to exercise more. You’re already probably doing enough, working the remote strenuously and putting the DVD on fast forward so you can get past the previews to the real movie. Eight reps per hour are definitely sufficient. Plus, think of all the texting your thumbs do.
Ignore the fact that you’ve never kept any of your past New Year’s resolutions going beyond Jan. 15. This is a new year. You still have one more day to break your record. 
Neil Offen can be reached at or by telephone at 919-419-6646.