Thursday, December 31, 2009

What's the word?

"So what's your New Year resolution?"

It's the last day of the year and you see this question flying everywhere around you.

I got to thinking. Why do we make New Year resolutions? (Anyone saying "To break them!" will get the final whack of 2009 with my hypothetical rolled-up newspaper.)

Why is it that we need to make a resolution? Why can't we just wake up on any given day and carry out whatever constitutes the resolution we want to make, without saying it out loud to ourselves and others? Why do we make it for the New Year? Why not on any random day? What is it about the New Year?

And then the following points struck me, which answered the why, when and how of resolutions.

1. There is always something or the other about ourselves we want to change or improve.

2. We are inherently lazy.

3. We are easily distracted.

4. We need a plan and a deadline to do what we want to do.

5. Sometimes we need a friendly nudge (and at other times, a kick in the ass) to carry out what we want to do.

6. Sometimes we need a new slate because we have written so much on the old one and crossed so many things out that nothing makes sense anymore.

And a sum total of all of the above points is what makes us make New Year Resolutions. All kinds. Get better marks, get into institution X, play better, exercise more, keep the house clean, get a six-pack, blog more, read the news regularly, watch less TV, make time for hobbies, learn a new language, run the marathon, lose weight, get a promotion, stay in touch with loved ones, retire with XX dollars in the bank, judge less, learn to play a musical instrument, eat more fruits, grow plants, remember to use sunscreen, drink more water, control anger, forgive and forget, etc. etc.

When we declare our resolutions, it's a virtual contract we make with ourselves, and when we tell people, we get them to sign as witnesses. We need them to give us that friendly nudge (or kick in the ass, as necessary) to do what we set out to do. All of us need one another to do that. And we know how much we need the nudges and the kicks to get anything done.

However, there are two sides to having such witnesses. I read an interesting article somewhere that talked of a study which proved that people who share details of their resolutions with others (in an effort to push themselves further by bringing in more witnesses, I presume) are less likely to carry them out. Wow. Never thought of that. The reason given was that when people ask how the resolution is going, the person is likely to make up a couple of milestones achieved and actually believe them to be true! To the point that at the end of it, we may have achieved only 30% of what we set out to do, but we truly believe that we did 100%.

Here's an example. There is a difference between going to the gym and actually doing something in there. Sure, it sounds totally awesome to say "I go to the gym thrice a week, for two hours each." when someone asks "So how's your gymming going?" But what we do in the gym for those two hours is really up to us. And at the end of it, we may actually start believing that we work out for two hours each, thrice a week, but there are just no results. The resolution becomes a burden. And then we give up. We curse ourselves for sharing our resolutions. Hell, we even curse ourselves for making those resolutions in the first place.

But of course, there is the flipside. Of not sharing your resolutions. Of not telling anyone what you want to do, but having very specific objectives and a timeline. The problem? No witnesses. The deal is between you and you. So if either one of you wants out, the deal falls through without any dispute or settlement.

So there we are. Confused. To tell or not to tell, that is the question. Sure, we need the friendly nudge to push us into doing what we want to do, but we definitely do not want to have the questions flung at us when we're not able to achieve our targets.

So from now on, this is what I am going to do. I will come up with an extremely general word, which will stand for everything that I want to do in the new year. The plans, objectives and results will only be in my head, so no one can ask me specifics about my progress (and I wouldn't have to 'eat my word', so to speak), but a friendly nudge now and then on "So how's your [[extremely general word]] coming along?" wouldn't hurt.

My word for 2010 is 'discipline'.

Bewdas, do you have one? Consider the comments space a blank contract and feel free to put down your word for 2010. Just one word, okay? And if you leave your email address, I promise to send you that friendly nudge. Or a kick in the ass, whatever works for you. :)

Happy new year!


Tejal said...

GOLD!!! :D

Tejal said...

My resolution is to 'live' this year.. u know like really live.. not crib, not complain, not get frustrated, not give up, not expect, just learn how to how live this year to the fullest.
hmm.. sounds cheesy but then thats what New Year Resolutions are supposed to be! :P
Happy Near Year Bhai and Viv!
See i'm not the last one to wish u this time! hehehe!

Kanan said...

Happy new year, Sayesha!

Silver :D

Anonymous said...

hmm... lakshya... my word is lakshya (:
great post

Unknown said...


Manasi said...

Hey.. you simplified making resolutions yaar! With the 'word' theory, it doesnt feel like there is a burden! Good one!

My word would be 'Enjoy'.. :)

Happy new year to you!

Srinivas B.P said...

My word would be "Consistency"

- (for nudge )

Consistency in terms of work, joy,discipline, anything for that matter :)

Happy new year Bhai :)


Hi Bhai,

Happy new year 2010.

My word would be happiness.

I want to be happy and make others happy.

Iddy Albatross said...

Well, now that you've said all that, the perennial question comes back again... is there a point to having New Year Resolutions? I've never really done that, for exactly the same reasons that you've said... my resolutions are generally made on extremely random days... and the randomness factor hasn't hit New Years yet! :D

All the best with your resolution... Cheers, and a very Happy New Year :)

prathi said...

Thanx for the post bhai...

My word for the new year is "explore"

Taurus Girl said...

Lovely post...

I have decided to be Happy and live every moment to the fullest... hope I can do that successfully in 2010...

Happy New year to u... :)

Deepa said...


Happy new year to u...

My word(s) would be 'positive attitude'...

Do keep blogging. Love to read ur blogs...i know tht.. whole lotta bewdas too like to read ur posts...

keep up the good work...

Cheers [CLINK]

Manchus said...

My resolution is ORGANIZE. Organize my personal schedule, house etc...I guess it somehow falls into discipline as well...but oh well. Had to be different :)

Manchus said...

Happy Disciplined 2010 to you and Viv. May you write interesting posts as ever :)

Porkodi (பொற்கொடி) said...


Happy new year Bhai!

gugun said...

Enthusiasm !

HNY !!

Anonymous said...

Happiness is the only word...
Happy New year to u too and to everyone..

nidhi said...

Hey Sayesha,
Happy New Year to you and your family. Great post. My word is chillax

Soumya said...

Happy new year Sayesha.
My word is "rejuvenate".

kkn said...

tejal claimed my word already. its true, every time we get lost in our tassles and issues, and lose direction in more ways than one. So, this day on, lets stop existing and start living.

And yes, why is your newspaper hypothetical. Are you one of them who gets news only of the net these days. Or do you still enjoy the crisp feel of newsprint as you wake up to a new morning.

P.S. for the guys who think its a cliche(the living part), it is better to share someone else's wisdom than one's own stupidity. So I quote people freely.

Anusha said...

I have to go with 'happiness' as well. Nothing else matters otherwise, in my opinion.

Feel free to email me sternly whenever you hear me complaining! ;)

bluejay said...

Thats a wonderful thing to do.. :) My word would be Proaction!.. and Promptness. Hope I achieve it this year!. All the best for yours!..

Happy new year :)

Sayesha said...

You know what Viv told me? He said, "Tejal's one word for 2010 is 'GOLD'. That was the first thing she wrote in her comment." :p Materialistic girl! Tujhe sirf GOLD chahiye 2010 mein?? Aaj se tera naam 'Material Girl'! :P
PS: Happy new year from both of us! :)

Thanks and same to you!! :)

Love that word, stands for a lot and is the name of an awesome awesome movie! :)

May you have lots of it! :)

Thanks! Happy new year to you! :)

Happy new year! I'll surely send you a mid-year nudge on that! :)

Happy new year! Will email you in June! :)

Whatever works for you buddy! For some, the old slate works while others need a new one. Happy new year! :)

That's a nice one! All the best. :)

#Taurus Girl,
Thanks! Happy new year! :)

Thanks! Happy new year to you too! :)

Oooh, organize is a nice one, versatile like discipline. All the best! :)

May you be supremely efficient this year! :)

May you be supremely enthusiastice this year! :)

Happy new year! :)

Hahaha! I like chillax, we all need a dose of it at times! :P Happy new year! :)

May you be supremely rejuvenated this year! :)

Tejal claimed your word? You also want gold?? Sheesh! :P

My hypothetical newspaper is not for reading! It's a weapon of (m)ass destruction!!

Hehehe! Sure, will do that! :) Happy new year! :)

Happy new year and all the best with your resolution too! :)

Rahul Katarey said...

'Motivation' for me and everyone


Viky said...

My word is 'write'. covers the code in office and everything else out of it.

kkn said...

@sayesha, I wouldn't mind getting some gold either. It helps "live" in style.

rLn! said...

One word?! Just one!?! i had at least 7 reSOLUTIONs for 2010! They're listed at

But in ONE word? CHRISTlike. Yep, this would say it ALL for me\o/

Tejal said...

ha! Sona mil jaye toh aur kya chahiye?
hehhahhahahahaha *mogambo type laugh*

@kkn- ;)

Stupidosaur said...

Happy new year Sayesha and Viv!

"So how's your discipline coming along?"

Also, kkn & tejal, I guess once you get your gold, I guess you can lay back and rejuvenate all your life.

Tejal, Ajit khush nahin hua. Sona Lion chahiye tha, Mogambo ko nahin ;)

My word? Umm how about...eating?

Jass said...

Yeh discipline hoti kya cheez hai. Mere ko bhi thodi si bhej do bhai. ;)

Swathy said...

normal- that s my word!
happy new year Bhai & viv!

Neha said...



Happy New Year!

Bivas said...


Atulaniya said...


Do not know how I reached your blog but from last two hours, I have been reading non-stop and haven't done any work at office!

will bookmark it!!

two late for the word I guess but better late than never ... mine is 'patience'

Atulaniya said...

too late*