Of clean slates and firm resolve..

January, the month of abstinence, to make up for all the revelry of December, is also an excellent time to take stock of the 12 months that zipped by, and make plans for the next year. To help you along the road to firm resolutions, here is a roundup of the best New Years’ bits ‘n bobs:

Thoroughly delicious calendars from Design Milk :



Lifehacker has an excellent piece on the science behind New Years’ resolutions, and how to use it to keep yours: Set a reasonable number of goals (4 not 40), keep the goals very specific (I will lose 5 pounds, rather than a general “I will get healthier”), focus on the rewards (I will get to fit into that bottle green dress) and tell people in order to gain ‘social support’. And the New York Times has a longer piece with more detailed strategies and tips on how to keep your resolutions.

My resolution for this year is to improve my production : consumption ratio. I consume a lot of information on a daily basis, overwhelming amounts in fact. And despite my best intentions, writing about it, or pulling together disparate strands of thought into one cohesive piece is the one task that falls by the wayside. Case in point: I meant to write this post on the 5th of January, and it is now the 8th. But this year, I am aiming to write one blog post (very specific) a week, and have now put this out there on the interwebs, to gain ‘social support’, or at least the prospect of social censure from the few people who still read this blog (Hi Dad!).

If you, like me, are feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information assailing you on a daily basis, the new year is a good time to wipe the slate clean and start afresh. Clear out the Instapaper reading queue, and aim to be more selective in the media you consume. Although focused on the US election, Clay Johnson has some valuable tips for all of us who are considering going on an “information diet”, if only to keep our sanity. Keep in mind that what you choose to consume has immediate consequence, not just for you, but for consumers everywhere:

So when you click on that article about Kim Kardashian over on the right-hand sidebar of that other website, your boss may not see you reading it, but you’ve made it more probable that she will read it. Your click is a vote, and with that vote, you’re not just saying to your media companies that you want to read it, but other people like you want to read it too. Clicks have a significant, and immediate social consequence.

If on the other hand, you’d like to make resolutions for other people, check out Resolutions for Good, where you can sign up to do something for someone else this year. Be it “Help my sister with her resume”, or “Volunteer twice a month”.

And finally, I leave you, with two of the most inspiring and thought provoking things I stumbled upon in 2011.

A manifesto to live by

And, while drawing up plans for the year ahead, some words to ponder, from Clay Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School, from a speech to the HBS graduating class of 2010 : How will you measure your life?.

Think about the metric by which your life will be judged, and make a resolution to live every day so that in the end, your life will be judged a success.

Happy New Year!

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