Forget Resolutions, Try FUNsolutions

Image credit: Santorini via @Buona.Forchetta on Instagram

New Year’s Resolutions suck. You know it and your mum knows it. So why do we bother?

Try FUNsolutions instead.

You may still not hit your goals, even with the tweaks given below.

But it may end up being fun to miss them!

Scrawled on a beermat…

A few years ago I’m in a dreary London pub with a friend.

It’s a wet day in early January. Drizzle outside.

Me: Any New Year’s Resolutions this year?
My Friend (tipsy): More beer! More sex!
Me: More holidays! Throw tomatoes in Spain!
My Friend: Do a bungee jump! Go to a man-spa!
Me: Power naps! Learn wine tasting!
My Friend: Make an app for lazy people!

…and so it went on, fuelled by our semi-inebriation.

We began scrawling our ridiculous, half-baked ideas onto a beermat.

And we determined to ‘fail again’ that year but have fun doing so!

Fun ways to fail

The next day I made a list with the year as headline in big letters:

  1. Ski as much as possible
  2. Hack my work to travel to places I love
  3. Challenge my body every day, just for a few minutes
  4. Eat gelato all year round, at least once a month!
  5. Leap up every staircase as fast as possible (escalators are evil)
  6. Watch a comedy clip on YouTube every night
  7. Consume a small block of extra-dark chocolate every day
  8. Develop a secret side gig that makes me smile
  9. Listen to music in Spanish. Set my smartphone to Italian
  10. Change my diet by the season
  11. On 40+ ‘Pomodoro’ weeks reward myself on Sundays
  12. Make someone laugh every day (check every night).

Underneath I scrawled: My FUNsolutions.

Light and easy

I pinned this to my fridge. And felt compelled to add others through the year.

Since FUNsolutions are small and lightweight you can have lots of them. The bigger your fridge the more fun you are having!

Frivolous? Maybe. But I had more fun with this than any ‘proper resolutions’.

And some became long-term habits (if you see a strange guy bounding up the escalators on the London or Milan tube, that’s probably me!).

There are a couple of hacks I use for added oomph shared below.

How FUNsolutions work

Well firstly they are enjoyable! Unlike kids, adults will often forget to have fun. And we rarely do stuff ‘just for fun’ without feeling guilty.

It shouldn’t be like this! Fun is a basic human need.

We may have a deeper purpose in life but fun gives us the energy to fulfil it.

Ask yourself every day: am I having enough fun?

Our brains are hard-wired to resist good intentions when ‘told’ something is good for us (like convincing a child to eat broccoli).

But by reframing actions to obliquely reflect your innermost desires, you plant the seeds of a habit into your subconscious. It’s automatic because it’s fun!

Repositioning a long-term goal as a superficial want excites our monkey mind and somehow gets under our skin.

Fun is a Trojan Horse that helps tease your deepest desires into action.

It is the dash of honey your mother gave you to help the medicine go down smoothly.

Fun is your friend. It makes hard stuff easy.

Frame and stack FUNsolutions

Look at the word ‘FUNsolution’. It has two parts.

First choose things that are fun and harmless because FUN comes first : )

But the ‘solution’ aspect is a powerful add, bringing energy and a purpose to your fun.

Because it implies something you want to improve. A way that your moment of fun can provide a solution. Or part of a solution.

One of the keys here is: don’t be ambitious.

Choose something easy that gives you a spring in your step and which as a side-effect may somehow give you a small benefit. Almost unintentionally!

Something which extends a path you are already on e.g. setting my smartphone to Italian was a natural step and truly fun, like solving a puzzle.

In a way, the less benefit embedded in each specific item the better, as there is no pressure at all…you’re just doing it for fun!

If you implement lots of FUNsolutions then those little benefits will add up!

Stack up small FUNsolutions in place of big daunting resolutions.

For example, daily physical FUNsolutions make going to the gym ‘optional’ since fun fitness hacks already do the heavy lifting (if you’ll pardon the pun).

In my case this ironically motivated me to train more often!

Break down big goals into small FUNsolutions to put them within your grasp.

Schedule your FUNsolutions for year-round momentum

Your gym is packed in early January — a month later it’s back to regulars only.

That’s because New Year’s Resolutions are designed to provide a flying start. But then like shooting stars we lose momentum as motivation fades.

By contrast, micro FUNsolutions have a great chance of evolving into beneficial habits.

To increase my chances, I insert them into my yearly planning journal at the start of the year, as a diary item on the last day of each month.

Since they are bite-sized tiny, you can add several at the end of the month.

Check in and ask yourself: did you have enough fun this month?

How will you have more fun next month?

Final thoughts

Your New Year’s FUNsolutions need not be especially virtuous.

But their design can be tweaked to sync with your long-term goals.

Pick ideas that are repeatable offering a slight ‘edge’ on a bigger goal.

Let them intersect with your major goals without going deep. Being modest gives you a rock-solid foundation.

FUNsolutions can also be one-off events and purely self-indulgent.

These will motivate you and exercise your ‘fun muscle’ which will help you in other ways.

Brainstorm. Come up with lots of crazy ideas to hone down later. Do it with a friend as I did. Keep a few private ones just for you.

Bucket list items are ideal. Have something you’ve put off for years? Make it a FUNsolution this year! Don’t get bogged down in details.

This checklist may help you make your final choice of FUNsolutions:

  • Is it fun?
  • Is it ‘healthy’ (in the broad sense — psychologically, physically, self-esteem, impact on others, etc.)?
  • Can it be framed as a daily habit?
  • Can it be implemented now or easily scheduled?
  • Is it ‘moderate’? Recall your granny’s wise words: all things in moderation are OK

What are YOUR New Year’s FUNsolutions? Share them below!