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Happy New Year! No Joke!

Posted by Sue on Apr 1, 2010  

“Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom.”                                                      Elizabeth Gaskell, novelist and short story writer

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When I think of April Fool’s Day, I’m reminded of the pranks my siblings and I played on our parents:  Salt in the sugar bowl, the plastic snake hidden in the Captain Crunch … Knowing a tip would be going out on April 1st, my curiosity kicked in.  I decided to do a little research to see how this odd celebration got started.

Prior to 1582, the New Year was celebrated for 8 days, beginning March 25th and culminating April 1st.   The Gregorian calendar was introduced during the reign of Charles IX in 1582.  But, times being what they were (internet access was atrocious!), word spread slowly.  Years later, folks were still celebrating the New Year on April 1st.  These, understandably backward folk became the targets of pranks – “April Fools.”

Three months ago, on what we now celebrate as New Year’s Day, many of us made pledges for 2010:  We would exercise more, pay bills on time, clean out the garage.  How are you doing?  If you’re like the majority of resolution-makers, you’ve abandoned your well-laid plans long ago.  I know I have!  But now we have a second chance – New Year’s Day on April First!

Here are three suggestions that will increase your chances of success:

First, define the next actionable step for each of your goals.  What is one concrete action that will move you closer to your goal?  If your goal is to clean out the garage, you might need to buy some heavy-duty garbage bags.  The step doesn’t need to be difficult or time consuming:  It simply gets you going.

Second, schedule an appointment with yourself to complete that next actionable step.  Put it in your calendar even if the step can be completed in 15 minutes.  And then keep your rendezvous with the same determination that you’d keep an appointment with a hard-to-reach professional.

Third, declare your commitment! Tell a friend – or better yet, tell several friends.  Ask them to check in with you about your progress, and “coach” them in how tough you want them to be.  Accountability is often the key to unlocking resolution-success.

So, here’s our April Fool’s Day tip: Pretend you’re a fool from 1582 and make your New Year’s resolution today!  But on this New Year’s Day, don’t make your resolution an April Fool’s Joke!

For more about these concepts, see David Allen’s Getting Things Done – a fantastic resource!

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