I spent all of yesterday doing up my new year resolutions. Yeah, I know new year resolutions don’t work for most of us, and by the end of January, I probably wouldn’t remember where I wrote them down. Just like my resolutions, you probably have yours penned down, and year after year, nothing comes out of them.
While you are doing your resolutions, your evil boss (bosses are usually evil in January) is also writing up your deliverables for the year. Despite the daydream of sending a hit squad after her, by March, you have already fallen in love with the goals and all pumped up to achieve your corporate objectives. Guess what, come December 2017, you are probably done with 70% of the madness lined up for you at work. Unfortunately, you won’t be getting a bonus unless you do more than 100%. That itself is a big if!
Wait, hold up!
Come to think of it; you find it hard to do things that would make your life better and successful yet you can easily, even with your worst performance, hit a sizeable level of achievement of things that would make your boss richer at the end of the year? Ironic!
A question that keeps me awake at night – what if I can run my life just the way I do my deliverables at work?
After ruminating about this for a while, I figured out the reason why: immediate and delayed repercussions.
We are all geared to respond to positive and negative stimuli like overworked Pavlovian dogs. If you touched a life wire, you get shocked. If you cross the road without checking properly, the Danfo driver who drank adulterated paraga would run you down. Everyone knows of the immediate consequences of bad behaviors, so we simply avoid them.
Same happens at work, if you don’t deliver on the targets or KPIs set by your boss, you probably going to get a one-way ticket to HR and your ass would be out of work. If you are consistently late to work, one day you would do it one more time too often; You will most likely be scouring LinkedIn for openings the week after. Don’t even think about getting drunk at work or slapping someone; that kills you faster than a speeding bullet. No wonder nobody fights in the office!
The average professional does reasonably well at work and a miserable job of his career.
So what happens when you don’t do that certification you, the world and I know is going to give your career a boost? Because your punishment is chilling in the future and you probably can’t hear it whistling.
You promised yourself a change of job, but the efforts to tidy up your CV and start networking is proving too hard. Of course, a new job won’t come, and with the economy taking a tumble faster than a beached whale, you can be sure that your life would be more miserable by December 2017.
If you don’t quit smoking as you have promised your wife or girlfriend for the past five years, one more cigarette won’t have your lungs give up immediately. But like a nicely marinated croaker fish, it takes a while, but once your lungs are nicely roasted, nobody has been able to invent a means to un-roast it.
You find it hard to save for your mortgage down payment, but you could easily find extra cash to rock the clubs Friday nights and hit the Bahamas with your homies for the summer. You pay more than your EMI in rent. Nevertheless, you are the one who is driving a cost-cutting proposal for your company and saved $10M last year by canceling some office perks, downgrading everyone from 4 to 3-star hotels while on travel and discovered that nixing the free coffee and buns won’t kill employee morale. You didn’t get a dime in bonus for that; you were freaking doing your job! By the time you are fifty, your rented apartment would have appreciated in value, but none of that comes to you.
So I figured out that if an immediate repercussion could be tied to the fantastical new year resolutions, maybe there could be an impetus for one to achieve them.
Have achievable resolutions
Have goals that are reasonable and achievable. I mean you are smart; you know what I mean. If you try to swallow something too big, you are probably going choke and die. Same for goals too audacious for your good.
Don’t have too many resolutions
Too many cooks upturn the pot, scattering the evening dinner all over the kitchen floor. Too many resolutions mean you would be scared of the daunting tasks after the enthusiasm of January 1 has gone. At best, don’t have more than 5.
Be answerable to someone
Share your goals with someone you admire and respect. Not wanting to disappoint them is a strong incentive to achieve. I mean, who wants to look like a wimp to her boyfriend? Well, unless your boyfriend is also a wimp. If so, maybe your first resolution would be to get rid of him.
Move with the right crowd
Psychologists have studied peer pressure for as long as humanity. They weren’t called psychologists then, though. Most of the bad habits I have today I got from my friends (don’t ask me what they are but I can tell you who they are). Fortunately, my grades in school turned for the better when I started hanging out with the right crowd. If your friends are loafers, you would be one. If you want to have a superlative career, start being friends with those whose lives you admire. In trying to copy them, you could end up even better than them.
Run away from negative people who never see anything good in life, they are like a prick to your enthusiasm balloon. Instead of floating to the sky, they make you fall like a lead.
Bad habits can be good
Trust me, pure envy and jealousy can be a game changer if it drives you in the right direction. Have you ever gone to the mall and you see your old school buddy more successful than you, who tortured you by introducing his trophy wife and his Bentley Bentayga? You probably burned with jealousy but instead of having schadenfreude, why don’t you prove that you are better than him? Just drive yourself insane to achieve your resolutions, and you can have much more. Be careful of getting a trophy wife, though, you can lose all that money faster than you made them.
Time to go
I’m going to try all these methods on myself this year, and I hope they work. If they don’t, we can review other methods by 2018.
With all seriousness, you owe yourself a good life. Fortunately, you have all it takes to succeed, after all, you are a star at work. Apply the same skills you use to balance budgets, deliver projects, learn new skills, take care of customers, etc. to your life and you would see amazing results.
Happy New Year everyone!
This piece was originally written in January 2017.
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