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Don’t make New Year’s resolutions for yourself… make them for others. It’s easier, more fun, less trouble.

January 1, 2014 by  

Happy New Year


It’s the time of the year for the obligatory New Year’s

resolutions. You know, what I mean:


I plan to go on a diet and become chic and svelte

by Valentine’s  Day.


I will go to the gym every other day, so help me

Hannah. Muscles and enticing curves, or bust.


I will eschew the delights of eating one sugar-soaked

Little Debbie after another.


I will… but you get the idea.


There is something abhorrent about admitting

that you are imperfect. I don’t like it at all.


New Year’s resolutions imply that you have somehow

fallen beneath the high standard of perfection, that

there is something not quite right about you, a nagging

something that needs instant attention.


But what could that be?


Like you, I look in the mirror of a morning and, despite

advancing age, I see nothing but the spitting image of

one who is, indeed, the fairest of them all. It affronts me

to think otherwise.


Thus, while wishing to do my bit to uphold the

traditions of Auld Lang Syne and making resolutions,

I find it hard to do so… as I have nothing to improve

and everything to enjoy.


Hence this modest idea: give up resolution making for

yourself… and focus your full attention upon the others,

lamentable, imperfect, with a pressing need for overhauls

small and large.


Draw up a list of persons known to you with glaring,

jarring imperfections.


Do not stint. Remember, you are performing a useful

act, a noble act, and act of kindness and empathy. As

such, let yourself go… think of your aging peers and their

shocking habits… of your relatives who have outlived the

excuse of “puppy fat.”


Think of your loud,  too boisterous, ear-splitting friends…

and the motor-mouths whose decided opinions on

everything under the sun are, perhaps, de trop.


Think of the always-late delivery boy and those

with too many unattended felines in a confined

space and the olfactory discomfort thereby occurring.


Think, I say, think of  prevaricating politicians…

and those with nookie on their minds and an acute

inability to contain it. Look around you and weigh in

with a will…for you have many resolutions to craft

and far too little time in which to offer them.  Timing

is everything, after all, and New Year’s resolutions

in March seem, well, tardy. Act now.


Now write the New Year’s resolutions — for others.


This part could be troublesome and demands your

full attention and craft. Resolutions must be simple,

straightforward, honest and at least potentially do-able.

Thus, calling your insufficiently loved and abundantly

padded brother-in-law fat just won’t do. Try this instead:


New Year’s resolution of brother-in-law Bob:


To lose 15 pounds by month’s end.


And then your signature and the date.


Keeping your resolutions short, sweet, and to the

point is de rigueur.


Mail the resolution… email the resolution. Only

ensure that your kind thought for their betterment and

perfection reaches them early in January.


Imagine how grateful, how pleased the recipient will be when

he of pronounced embonpoint receives this missive and its

kind and thoughtful message becomes apparent.


Send your New Year’s resolutions even to those near and

dear who share your abode and are bosom buddies and

dear companions on your earthly journey.


The temptation, even for those expert and experienced

in providing life enhancing New Year’s resolutions for others,

will be to personally deliver, message upon hallmarked silver

salver, your resolutions to the people near at hand, spouse,

children, impecunious sons in law, etc.  You will think of

their profoundly grateful responses, you will think of

the affection and love in their eyes. You will hear with

delight words so lavish and abject that even that practised

purveyor of the obsequious Uriah Heep would be put to

shame. No, you do not want to miss a moment.


But you must.


For your recipient will need a moment or two to

compose himself and, no doubt, let fall the grateful

tear, that you should care so much and have gone to so

much bother on their behalf. Allow them a moment

of reflection in privacy, as they think how grateful, how

very grateful, they are to have such a one as you in

their (otherwise imperfect) life.


Savor this moment, glass of grog at hand for

you have done the very best of deeds. Sing under your breath

this little-remembered chorus from Robert Burns’ immortal

annual anthem of maudlin sentimentality, Auld Lang Syne:


“We two have run about the slopes,

and picked the daisies fine ;

But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,

since auld lang syne.”


And now,  gratitude, indeed.


As I was finishing up this practical report,  there

was a knock at the door… then the telephone rang…

then I noticed a decided up tick in my email.

I was not surprised… I was expecting such a deluge.

After all, I had contacted many with a hearty abundance

of resolutions, necessary, specific, in depth, all

resoundingly honest to a fault. Now, no doubt, the expected

responses, the epistles of gratitude and fulsome thanks

were at hand.


Ou la la!


Imagine my surprise upon reading the first of these



New Year’s Resolution of Dr. Jeffrey Lant…:




your loving sister


Then the one signed by my (concerned) brother, my

(worried) father, one jointly signed by my (still affectionate)

niece and  nephew, my (who-else-could-tell-you?) best friend,

my (long suffering) partners… even my (silent-until-now) driver

and  his wife.. .and all the very many others.


It was jolting to be sure to learn that so many felt

so strongly there was so much of me to enhance and correct.

But these messages, profoundly honest, stimulated

the only New Year’s resolution I shall make this

year: to love them all, warts and all, and be

profoundly glad I have them in my life.


Happy New Year, 2014!

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of

Worldprofit, Inc., where

small and home-based businesses learn how to

profit online. Attend Dr. Lant’s live webcast

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