Positives of negative New Year's resolutions

By this time most of us (at least those who care to make our lives better) have made their New Year’s resolutions. From what I hear here and there most of these resolutions are around new things which you are going to do this year:

  • work out regularly
  • read more books
  • spend more time with family
  • improve foreign language skills
  • etc.

As you see all of these resolutions are about new things in your life, they are about doing things you did not do before. However, there is another popular resolution, which is, in a sense, exactly opposite:

  • quitting smoking

This resolution is about not doing something, thus creating a room for new things in your life. Indeed, ten 5 minute smoking breaks give you 50 extra minutes each day, when you get rid of this bad habit. Extra bucks that you save on not buying cigarettes give you additional opportunities to do something meaningful to you and those around you. And this is not mentioning your health and wellbeing. At the end this negative resolution creates additional time and resources capacity you need so much to act on your positive resolutions.


I believe that each positive New Year’s resolution should be complimented by a negative one, which will make it possible to do what you resolved to do.

If last year you spend substantial amount of time fixing and reworking what your subordinates did, you need to resolve to stop doing that and instead focus on improving their skills to avoid those reworks in the first place.

If last year you engaged in many activities simply because somebody asked you and technically you can do that (and, between us, do well), you need to stop doing that and make your own conscious decisions about what you do and what you don’t.

We only have 24 hours a day and we always use them up. Each day. In order to start doing something, you need to take time from something else. Unfortunately, we can not create time out of nowhere.