Turn Your New Year’s Resolutions Upside Down

Do you have a New Year’s resolution?  Reading for pleasure is one of mine for 2014.  Since I am fairly busy with my family, career, commuting, and the gym, I decided that “listening” to books counts toward this resolution.

One week into the new year and so far, so good.  Thanks to the Overdrive app on my iPhone and the Mount Prospect Public Library audio catalog, I am currently listening to Antifragile by Nassim Taleb.  More on Antifragile in a minute.  My current reading selection is  Home Ice by Jack Falla which is rather odd since I have never played hockey in my life.  However, I built a backyard ice rink this year for a unique family experience and just to say I did it.  Some people bungee jump, I built an ice rink.  May as well read a book on it.

While listening to Antifragile, Taleb wrote that eliminating a bad habit is more effective than adding a good one.  This one piece of advice really connected with me and it makes complete sense.  Time and energy cannot be created nor destroyed, they can only be wasted or enjoyed.  In order to begin a new good habit and hope to keep it, we must first part ways with a bad one.

My Script (My Story)

When I went “paleo” a couple year’s ago, the focus was on eliminating the bad.  Without getting into too much detail, the most important aspect of paleo is diet.  By eliminating processed foods that are bad for you like grains, dairy, and sugar (real and artificial), you gain most of the health benefits.  As a part of eliminating the processed foods, you will naturally eat more nutritious foods.  You need to get full by eating something, may as well be more vegetables, eggs, lean meats, and the occasional red wine and dark chocolate.

I strictly followed the “diet” for about six months and consequently lost a few inches from the waistline, reduced my difficulty with asthma and allergies, and improved my blood pressure and cholesterol.  I have followed the diet for more than two years by varying degrees, but the benefits have remained.  By framing the lifestyle change as “excluding processed foods” instead of “eating more vegetables”, I accomplished more than I ever imagined.

Your Script (Taking Action)

Below are common general and finance related resolutions with the goal based and elimination style phrasing.  Do any of the goal based resolutions sound familiar to you?  Which resolution would be easier to follow for you?

Goal Based

Elimination Style

Lose weight; be healthy Stop eating junk food
Enjoy life; spend time with family; exercise more; learn something new Stop consuming so much TV and internet
Save more money; pay off debt Spend less money
Make better investment decisions Stop watching CNBC and looking for stock tips

Another added benefit to the elimination style resolution is that you can kill two or more birds with one stone.  By consuming less TV and internet, it is possible to enjoy life more fully, spend time with family, exercise, learn something new, and make better investment decisions!  How you spend your new found time is up to you, just don’t waste it.

As for my own resolutions, I will rephrase them right now (one more resolution helper is making it public).  Here’s to a new year and time well spent.

  1. Spend less time listening to talk radio (more time reading or listening to books)

  2. Put the phone away while eating with my family (be present with my family)

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2 Responses to Turn Your New Year’s Resolutions Upside Down

  1. minborib says:

    Nice post, you’re a great writer! I’d love to read more of your posts, but I’m going to take your advice and stop consuming so much Internet!

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