The Joseph Group

Kinder, Gentler Resolutions

January 26, 2024

To Inspire:

Believe it or not, here we are at the last weekend of January. How are your 2024 resolutions going? If you are struggling already, don’t feel bad. The second Friday in January is known as Quitters Day – the day when many people give up on their resolutions. So let me suggest a kinder, gentler approach.

Studies show that something like 80 percent of resolutions fail. Especially ones that are all-in, things like “I will work out every single day.” “I will never eat junk food again.” Hopefully, you read Matt Palmer’s recent advice on making your resolutions SMART – notice the R stands for realistic – and set achievable goals. But if you have already given up, here is a simple idea to make positive changes in your life: turn up-turn down lists.

Here is the concept – ditch resolutions and instead list things you want to do more of and less of this year. Instead of setting huge goals, think about what you are already doing and decide what you would like to devote a little more time and attention to, and what deserves less.

This means you are not trying to make big changes, not eliminating or denying yourself anything. You are just trying to move in the right direction consistently. Spending less time doing things that aren’t good for you; spending more time doing things that benefit you.

Your turn up-turn down list could include things like spending less time on your phone, taking more walks outside, keeping a closer eye on your budget, spending more time helping your neighbors, or reading more books.

Just because this approach seems simple doesn’t mean it won’t help you make positive changes. Being flexible is the point. Writer David Cain, a fan of this approach, says, “The kind of person you want to be is easy to remember when you look at your list. The lists help you move in a direction you know is better, yet your aspirations for the year aren’t torpedoed the moment you eat some junk or bail on some plans. Whatever happens, you just keep making the A-things happen more often, and the B-things less often.”

Some people excel at extreme goals, but most of us stumble then give up and end up getting nowhere. Some of us have given up on making resolutions entirely. This approach can help set you on the right course to making your life better.

Take a few minutes this weekend to sit down, think about some things you might like to change in your life, and write your own turn up-turn down list. Then take on the rest of 2024 letting your list gently move you in the direction you would like to go.





Written by Michelle O’Brien, Manager of Marketing & Communications