Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

Three realistic ways to improve in 2017.

Did you know that only 8% of Americans keep their New Year’s resolutions? I’m honestly surprised it’s even that high. Wouldn’t it be great if we could actually come up with reasonable resolutions for a change? Well, I’ve decided to take a crack at just that. Here are three resolutions – that with minimal effort – we all can and should keep.

1. Declutter your inbox. OK, I’m totally embarrassed to write this, but at this moment I have 98,000 unread messages in my email inbox. Yeah, that’s not a misprint. Most of these emails are special product offers, newsletters I don’t read and spam that I haven’t filtered out. If your inbox is an unorganized mess like mine, try doing two things.

First, create at least a few folders within your email account. You might label them: urgent and not urgent. Then when emails come in and you can’t answer them right away, simply move them to the right folder. Second, use a service to bundle and filter any promotional messages. One of the best I’ve found is It lets you easily unsubscribe from lists, but protects special offers you want to keep.

2. Eliminate boring business cards. I have nothing against print, but we’re in the promo products business, people! There are so many great logoed items we can use as business cards: pens, magnets, lens cloths, keychains – the list is endless. You’re selling prospects and clients on your creativity, right? Shouldn’t it start with your business card? Not only does a unique business card help you stand out, it shows you have faith in the very items you’re pitching.

3. Be more patient. Back in the 1960s, Stanford professor Walter Mischel conducted a study involving four-year-olds and marshmallows. He placed a marshmallow in front of each of the children and told them if they went 15 minutes without eating the treat, he would give them another one. Only 30% of the kids waited – the rest started snacking. The professor then tracked the children over many years, eventually finding that the kids that were patient in the experiment wound up performing much better in school and at work, while also having healthier social skills.

The point? If you want to be successful, being patient is very important. The next time you’re in a tense conversation, try to listen more than you talk. You can also improve your patience by giving yourself a timeout. Walk away from the situation for five minutes, collect your thoughts and then act. Remember, too, to be patient with yourself.

Whatever you resolve to do next year, here’s wishing you, your family and friends all the best in 2017.