Tag Archives: Advice No-One Asked For

New Year’s resolutions

New Year’s resolutions… That has to be one of the prime clichés, right? Ah, of course, there is an even bigger cliché: the resolution that remains unfulfilled year on year. 

That doesn’t mean that it’s silly to take resolutions. It is better to have a goal and fail than not to have one.

Of course, if you’re going to make a resolution, better to try and create conditions that give you some chance of fulfilling it. These conditions are not always obvious, and they certainly will not be the same for everyone.

I knew a girl who made her New Year’s decisions not at the end of the year like everyone else, but on her birthday. For her, that was when the year began. I thought it was a deliciously egocentric attitude, but if it worked for her, who am I to argue?

That’s not to say that you’ll find similar success, but who knows? You might. I wrote my resolutions on a pocket notepad a couple of days ago while waiting for a friend at a café. At the time I didn’t even think of them as New Year’s resolutions, I was just thinking about things I would like to do / change. But then I became aware that it was December.  A year is a convenient span of time to measure goals, so why not?

Truth be told, it is difficult to gain practice in something that  you only do once a year. If you only write your objectives once a year, it follows that you won’t achieve them. You probably don’t even have a good idea of ​​what is achievable.

So now is a good time to start practicing for the end of the year. And then in January, that might be a good time to review them! And so on…


“This sucks!” Isn’t helpful. It might be your gut reaction, and it might even be right. But it doesn’t point the way to improvement, and it almost unfailingly makes people get defensive. 

(Side note: telling them not to get defensive almost always produces the exact opposite effect.)

Ask questions instead:

  • “What was the thinking behind this word choice?” 
  • “How do you think the user will interact once they reach this page?” 
  • “What are you trying to convey with this color scheme?”

Questions start a process of improvement. Judgement, valid or not, prevents it.

Three Things

Three things cannot be retrieved:

The arrow once sped from the bow,

The word spoken in haste

The missed opportunity.

— Idries Shah, “Caravan of Dreams,” citing Ali the Lion, Caliph of Islam

Don’t make a threat that you’re not willing to make good on. And think over your words; only fools believe that people who take their time when speaking are slow.

As for opportunities, I don’t think it’s so dangerous to miss them. There are new ones every day.