All clichés are true throughout the years, even the ones that go back thousands. Heres a good example, "A penny saved is a penny earned!" Why is this true forever? Because a penny earned is taxed. A penny saved is not. How far back does that cliché go? Who invented the penny and when? Our penny was first minted in 1787 and designed by Benjamin Franklin. I could quote many more - some taken off cavemen walls and still true today. Heres one taken off one of those walls.
"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." How do I know thats still true? Because Geico wouldnt be using it as a commercial if it wasnt.
So whats up about New Years resolutions? The cliché is that they were
meant to be broken along with promises and laws. So how far back do New Years resolutions go? It is the oldest of all holidays, and first celebrated in Babylon around 2000 B.C. So if the cliché is that they are always broken, why do we all write them down every year and within a week break them?
Good question! Heres my guess. We always make a resolution on something that we hope we can do, but know that we cant. Like: "Im going to finally quit smoking!" Or a weekend golfer says, "Im not going to lift my head ever again." Or the overweight person says, "Im going on a strict diet and finally lose those horrible extra pounds." Sound familiar?
Okay, how about making a New Years resolution that you can keep, and be very proud of yourself? You dont even have to tell anyone. Maybe even write it down in plain sight that you can see it every day when you wake up, and in your office, and before you go to bed at night. Here are a few I have made and kept. "Learn something new every day." Ever watch Morning Joe on MSNBC? They end every show with, "And what did you learn new today? And then everyone has to tell what they learned. I tried that many years ago, and boy did I get smart. 365 new things. Well, I learned a few new things. I tried!
Positive thinking would have helped. Ever hear about the Indian Rain Dance? It always works. So I checked with an Indian friend and he confessed the secret. When the Indians need it to rain, they dance until it does. Never fails! Ever heard of Jimmy The Greek? He was the greatest sports oddsmaker ever. One day when he was attending Gulfstream Park in Florida I saw him sitting alone several seats away and decided to ask him what his secret was. He politely answered, "I gamble every day. If I dont Ill never know which day is my lucky day." Made sense to me, but I decided to pass on that advice. Maybe he was giving me a cliché that sucked. But it was still a cliché that would last forever for gamblers. Coincidentally, several years later I owned a race horse named Tis My Lucky Day. He won three in a row. Go figure!
So now we get to the meat of the message. What can you make a resolution on that you can keep 365 days? Well, Ill give you one that I discovered many years ago, and it worked for me for many years afterwards. Even today I use it. I walked passed an older woman and whistled. She was obviously quite attractive in her day. You should have seen her face light up. When I got closer I apologized and said, "I thought you were someone that I knew." She said, "Oh, I was tickled. No one has whistled at me for years. Thank you." I felt real good that I had made that woman smile. And hey, it cost me nothing.
Now are you ready for my advice? Okay! Here it is! Every day, first thing in the day, force yourself to sincerely compliment someone. It aint easy, but worth it. They will feel better, and so will you for helping them to start the day feeling better. Most people go through days and weeks, and maybe even months with no one complimenting them on anything. And guess what? You will have to concentrate on them for a few seconds more than usual in order to come up with a compliment. Do you think you can handle it? Prove it! I guarantee that you will feel better, and so will they. Whats the cliché in this, you ask? Easy! It is a cliché that has been around since Biblical times. Give and you shall receive. Remember that one? Try it tomorrow morning. I again guarantee that it works every day - for you and for them. Happy New Year to a new person from someone whos still trying.
Roland Hopkins is the founder of the New York Real Estate Journal, Norwell, Mass.