A Mixed Bag – A bit of everything under the sun

Archive for the ‘things to do’ Category


Another year is going by and we are all making preparations for the next. This time of the year is always filled with resolutions and new found confidence that you will follow them come what may. In general, this year and every year, you plan to become more disciplined and more awesome!

But … How many have honestly followed a resolution? Well, truth is bitter.

Why do resolutions fail?

1. There are too many – Seriously, our small brain cannot hold those many at once and follow all of them. We are bound to sideline some of them. The optimal number, I would think is just one at a time.

2. Self talk does not work – Can you keep saying to yourself that you will do a task regularly? It is not long before my own mind starts to ignore me. How consistently can I keep writing to myself that I am going to follow my resolution and put them where I can see them? Before long, I will walk right past it without even noticing. Such measures honestly don’t work.

3. The problem always lies elsewhere – There are so many steps to a goal and the reason for failure is always a basic problem lurking somewhere in the process.

For example, if my resolution is not to eat out often and I fail to do it, it is mostly because I would have come home tired and not found anything ready to eat. Being too lazy to cook then, I’d have opted to eat out.

I’d do better by deciding my resolution to be “to cook in advance” than not to eat out. The least indivisible the step is, the better is the probability that it’ll succeed.

4. It is too much of a deviation from our usual self – You are a night owl and suddenly from tomorrow, are you going to become an early riser? Is that realistic? Of course, even before you decide that, I can state you will fail. Inertia sets in and the body will resist it with all its might. We never make it easy for us to follow!

So how do we make them work?

1. Keep one resolution at a time – Enough said. That is indeed the best number. You will fare better deciding on one resolution a month than 12 all at once.

2. Make it as indivisible as possible – The ultimate goal should only be a consequence of doing something else, not a resolution by itself. Your resolution should lead to it.

For example, if I want to lose weight, a better resolution would be to go swimming. As a result of this I will lose weight. The fewer the steps involved in achieving it, the better.

3. Make it the most convenient thing for you to do – The best way to follow a resolution is to arrange everything else so that it is the next natural step to take. It will not take as much effort as required then.

For example, if I plan to journal at the end of the day, do you think I’d follow it if I keep the journal in my study room?

Instead, picture this.  I keep the journal on the bedside table next to where I sleep with a working pen next to it and a bedside lamp which I can switch off right there. How much of an effort is it then to write a line before going to sleep?

4. Pre-prepare: Have everything ready – When you plan to kick off something by January 1st, decide the steps you are going to take beforehand. If you wait until the D-day and you are clueless about what to do, you are going to lose the enthusiasm. Instead use the energy to catapult yourself by keeping all the required resources ready. Have an action plan ready, gather all the materials necessary, keep them in strategic locations, all before January 1st. That way, when you wake up to the New Year, you have everything you need to carry out your resolution.

5. Excite the inner child in you – Remember the school days when we would be excited to start school again when we bought the new books, uniforms and pens? Remember the days in kindergarten when they would make our days exciting by fun things to do like coloring, painting etc? The child still lives in us; excite it by adding fun elements into your steps to keep you going. These fun little steps should make you want to follow your goal.

If I want to lose weight, I would have a colorful chart stuck to the door with a nice felt pen beside it to chart my progress. Seeing my weight go down and down, I would definitely want to do more of it.

I would buy pretty little inexpensive boxes to make frozen dinners that would make me want to use them. Each of us will have something that will make us happy in a childlike way. Recognize it and use it.

6. Make a specific list of steps you will take – Keeping all the above factors in mind, write out a detailed plan of what actions you will take to achieve your goal, how you are going to make it easy for yourself, what materials you require, what obstacles may creep in and how you will get around them. The clearer you are, the better you will succeed.

That being said, are you going to expect a 100% success? Of course not, there will be times when we stumble, but the most important rule is to get up soon before it is out of your mind. Reading anything remotely related to your resolution and talking about it helps you not forget your goal altogether and keeps you motivated.

I hope these ideas help you. A detailed plan about my resolutions will follow soon.


Long weekend is usually the time to plan a vacation, especially for non residents who’d like to see most of the country while they are here. But for some of them who can’t make it this year, either due to lack of funds or lack of friends(to carpool), you may have to spend it at home. There’s no need to be disappointed. Here’s a list of things you can do to have some holiday fun while not spending too much.


1. Call a few friends for dinner

You can have a potluck lunch or dinner with a couple of friends. Or if you are fond of cooking, you can cook a gourmet meal yourself. Then follow it up with some fun group games like bluff, scrabble, poker etc. A good way to pass the time and enjoy.


2. Rent a movie.

There is nothing unique about it except that, you can make it more enjoyable with a proper setting. Play it on a big screen, dim the lights, draw the blinds, make yourself some popcorn and then cuddle with your loved one and watch it. You can invite friends along for added fun. And charge them for the tickets too!


3. Have a picnic.

Maybe you can’t go far this time. But you sure can plan a day trip to a place nearby. Check out the unexplored areas in your vicinity. They might be visit-worthy after all!


4. Go to a bookstore

This one is for book lovers like me. Just go to a bookshop near your place and get lost in the world of words. You can sit there and browse for as long as you like. If you are a coffee junkie, they have that too!


5. Have a housie party in your apartment

Put up a poster asking everyone to sign up. There may be many others in your apartment who’d be bored out of their skull. For a nominal fee, they will be willing to participate too. Use up that money for prizes and gifts and lo! You’ll have an evening full of fun. Browse the net for tambola tickets and there, you have a party going!


6. Just relax

Get up late, have breakfast in bed and just laze around if you want. After all, you’ll have to run to work the next day!


One last word, do not use up the weekend for menial chores around the house. There are other weekends for that!