Your Best New year’s Resolution and One Simple Trick to Maintain it

Divide the goal up into small daily challenges.

Pick one at random – then just do it!

Another round of New Year’s resolutions – but you can keep this one!

Set yourself free from the failure syndrome – the let down and annual mistake of making wild and abstract demands of yourself that are guaranteed to fail. If they are unrealistic these good intentions can turn on you and generate a wall of resistance and negativity. Reactions set in and often the overweight person, manic depressive or heavy drinker, for instance, will revert. They become worse off for making a New Year’s resolution. What you resist will persist and it does! So join us for a thrilling and fun-filled self-improvement game and meet – the new you!

New year project

Here is the strategy for the new you – for keeps!

A game of chance, of randomly selected daily challenges. But you get to design your own, with the help and guidance of family and friends or even a therapist who also would like to play what I call the New Year’s Revolution. The game can be set up on a computer or mobile phone. People who have IT skills will be able to get a random number selector to replace the beloved cookie jar! If anybody wants to make their own random selector they can use the demonstration using a CD spindle.

Here is a simple old-fashioned way to play the game. For this direct hands on version you will need: an exam pad, diary or notebook to keep as a journal and obviously a pen. Then find 365 small pieces of paper or sticky notes and a cookie jar. (These are used for the daily lucky draw.) Also find an old plastic box. Write on it, the word DONE! this will be to keep the used notes for reviewing or repeating if needed. I have one with 3 compartments, so I can keep groups of challenges according to those I felt really worked, those I thought were pointless and then a neutral group. We use the notes again or can exchange them with friends.

NB: write on post it sticky notes with a soft pencil so the writing does not show through the paper. With a felt tip pen like the one you see in the photo, the writing is visible on both sides.

Evaluate the responses

Now choose a good friend or member of the family who is equally keen to overturn a persistent personal problem. The competitive element, as well as the support will help maintain the dynamic – day by day. At a later stage you can set up a similar process on your computer or mobile device. But for now, it is nicer to start the challenge during the end of year break – accompanied by a healthy array of delicious festive food.

We have to set up the first stage of the project. So get together with your partner or group. If you want to include internet pen friends then share you can share your data with them as soon as you have refined and reviewed your own New Year’s challenge. For writing up the daily challenges, you can work a month at a time. People can join you for the following month and by then, you will get the hang of it. You can maintain this New You Revolution and expand the effects by including people in your group and interacting with them on the social media.

Planning the daily suggestions

You each need to have  the following information available on file: 

1 Your personal goal. Describe what really bugs you about yourself. Write it down.
2 Justify it. Use valid reasons why the situation needs to be addressed.
3 Write down a list of 10 other aspects that relate to the central issue.
4 Write down 10 things you really enjoy doing.
5 Write down 10 things you really hate about other people.
6 Lastly, describe how you would feel if the problem went away.

Now be honest – sometimes we use excuses to indulge our central problem

For instance, if you suffer from high blood pressure you can’t exert yourself, if you have allergies you can’t do this and that. Oh really? Basically if you already have an excuse you are guaranteed to fail – to abort the project. So you are not being asked to lose weight, stop smoking or to overcome addiction or depression. No, that is not your New Year’s resolution. All you promised to do is draw out a daily challenge! To stay in the game you have to do whatever is written on the piece of paper. But after 365 days you will look and feel different – better!

What resolutions?

Every day you must be ready to take a note out of the cookie jar and read it. Then during the day you have to do whatever the challenge suggests. At the end of the day you can tick the card and place it in another container marked: DONE!

The notes either contain easy, pleasant fun things to do or they can be confrontational. You will all write your own suggestions with the help of your game companions. You can formulate your own rules. They must include daily ways to deal with the 10 aspects that relate to your central issue. Remember the way we are told to eat an elephant: in bite sized chunks. The success of this challenges is based on that daily chunk. Because it is assigned at random, curiosity will get the better of you. You will be sharing your challenges with your buddies  so it becomes a game you can all play with passion. There are a number of variations and of course rules we need to customize as we go along. But for now, get started, even if you only write enough to last for the first month. Let the game begin as soon as the clock strikes midnight!

10 examples of easy daily challenges to get you started


  • Drink a glass of water before and after you have a glass of wine or a cup of coffee.
  • Get some flowers and put them in a vase. Enjoy them.
  • Smile at everybody you see or talk to. Also smile at animals – especially birds.
  • Do not eat any bread or chocolate or potatoes today. Eat only apples and salads.
  • Go and read something trivial for an hour or two. But eat three apples and drink two glasses of water.
  • Listen to an inspirational talk – try TED on You Tube. Do this while you cook a nutritious meal.
  • Take off your shoes and do some stretching or yoga outside for half an hour. Water some plants, get your feet wet to ground yourself.
  • Clean out all your kitchen cupboards. Throw away anything rotten or bad. Give away the food you no longer should be eating. Now wipe down the shelves and doors.
  • Buy some multivitamins, Omega 3 capsules and some extra zinc. Take them every day.


Get the idea? Now write out your challenges for the first month

Start writing down a list practical ways to face your main challenge. Balance out nice things with more difficult tasks. But always make sure they can be done within a day. Some can become a daily habit if liked, others can be repeated with a few variations and so on. Fold up the notes and place them in the jar. Every day take one out at random and do whatever is required of you. No cheating!

         To keep your New Year’s resolution:

  •  Dip your hand into the cookie  jar and take out a note
  • Read it and carry out the suggestion of the day
  • Before bedtime tick off the task and write a comment
  • Fold up the note and drop it into the box marked DONE!

Just do this every day!

For the next month:

You can use some of the same suggestions again, should you find they really help you. Now reset the list – load the cookie jar or write up the new list of challenges for the following month. Your rate of progress will prompt you to take further action.

This game can become compulsive. especially because curiosity gets the better of us. The rule is that once a note is read, it becomes mandatory to complete the task for the day – regardless of how many notes you have opened. No picking and choosing. Nada! Commitment is the choice you have already made.

Share your experiences with your buddy or group. A fun thing to do is exchange your used notes with friends and they can add their comments to them. Also give them some personal challenges that you know will be good for them.

But don’t be too mean or unreasonable because every note that is opened is a commitment. If there is an exception, the note must be returned to the cookie jar or declared as unjustified for a reason that may offend you. (Like streaking across a rugby field, or hurting somebody’s feelings. No nasties are allowed. But some daily suggestions will not be suitable on a particular day – for instance, if it is raining you don’t water the garden!

At bedtime deposit in the DONE box

I am going to use my i pad and the internet for sharing with my buddies. And of course, Face Book will be a wonderful place to share and laugh and support each other. But keep your activity discreet.  It is important to play the game with serious intent and check your progress month my month, day by day. But this is the year you get to maintain your pledges!