Bob Goldman

You should be ashamed of yourself. 2012 is already here, and you still haven't made your New Year's resolutions. Obviously, you need to hurry. How can you break a passel of resolutions if you've never make any in the first place?

Of course, being a perfect human being, you may feel you really don't need to make any resolutions. After all, 2011s "try to share my genius with others less brilliant than me," resolution really didn't pan out.  Alternately, you could adopt the technique described by Elizabeth Bernstein in "The Wall Street Journal" and do what caring corporations do -- outsource the job.

It makes sense. As Bernstein writes, "who better to tell us how to improve ourselves than someone who knows us well -- perhaps better than we know ourselves -- and even may be all too happy to offer up some tough love."
 If looking for an "all too happy" provider of tough-love, I suggest you avoid your manager.  The person you ask should find you only slightly flawed and eminently fixable. Unless you want to declare open season on your headcount, don't open a floodgate of resolutions from someone who could instantly spew out a dozen ways you could be a better human being.

This leaves our loved ones as the preferred sources for resolutions. "We all have blind spots, but the people we are intimate with can see them," is the quotable quote Bernstein extracts from couples therapist and psychology professor, David Palmiter.  And, in fact, the article does include a case history of a couple that did provide each other's New Year's resolutions and lived to tell the tale.

Basically, he was told by she to start eating healthy, start a new business and stop hanging around the house. "Get out of my hair," were the loving, constructive words of that final resolution. When it was he who had to provide resolutions to she, the husband proved he was a master of marriage dynamics. His resolutions included "Be more adventurous" and "Stop criticizing yourself so much." (Personally, I would have added, "Resolve to treat yourself to more costly spa treatments, since you so clearly deserve the very best in life," but, then again, I've been married for a long, long time.

Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

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