Most Popular Resolutions to Make 2019 Your Best Motivator For You

I fed the text of the top ten Google search results for “most common New Year’s resolutions” to Botnik (which also provided the title of this post), and I asked it to provide the median resolutions for the coming year.

Are yours on the list?

The Top 10 New Year's Resolutions

The Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2019, According to Botnik

10. Lose 10 new things every day you can.

This popular resolution makes lists every year, yet most of us end the year with the same amount of things we had before.

“Resolutions fail because you don’t like waking up,” said Botnik. “Continue to achieve nothing, or just save thousands on Instagram.”

9. Volunteer like you feel something.

So many of us are dead inside, yet we’d really like to make the world a better place for others. Botnik reassures us that “Sometimes you need noble aspirations to achieve things.”

8. Eat dinner with your insurance policy.

You’ve had your insurance policy for years, but when was the last time you really paid attention to it and its hundreds of pages of single-spaced, eye-wateringly-small conversation skills? Never, that’s when.

To make this resolution stick, Botnik said, “It’s about sex. Grudges are human, but action is better.”

7. See more powerful things.

Everyone says they’d love to travel more, but between our busy jobs and tiny paychecks, who can really meet this goal? Improve your chances of getting out in the world by resolving only to stare at the most powerful things you can find, said Botnik.

“Nobody coaches teamwork like you,” said Botnik. “Feel strongly, and life will throw darts.”

6. Learn 25 different languages before January.

Sharon from Accounting keeps bragging about her Spanish skills, but you know she’s been ignoring the Duolinguo owl for six months straight. Make yourself undisputed champion of office bragging rights by learning 25 new languages before January even begins.

There are lots of great online tools to help you learn languages and avoid sleep, and don’t forget Botnik’s best advice for language-learners: “Make sure you drink!”

5. Practice quitting like your resume might suspect you’re on social media.

Thousands of us have made this resolution for years without understanding what it really means – or how much effort it actually takes. Fortunately, if you’ve tried and failed again and again, you’re not alone: Botnik noted that this is one of the toughest resolutions to achieve.

“Resolutions like this one fail by mastering your brain calories,” said Botnik. “Succeed biometrically: Stop being money.”

4. Save some urgency for your waistline.

If you don’t love what you see when you look in the mirror, it’s time to save some of your sense of rush and bustle for your waistline.

“Options like waking up tomorrow can actually be easier than ordering out. Different goals can always come along,” said Botnik.

3. Adjust to a healthier distress.

If there’s simply no way to block out the fact that we’re all living in a dystopian mirror universe populated with the worst versions of duplicitous orange hand puppets, the next best thing to do is to adjust your way of thinking – which is why this resolution is #3 on the list for 2019.

“Block out more romantic foods for yourself. Sticking it on your bedside table can give you the inspiration to achieve the national average,” said Botnik.

2. Create a budget by enlisting your internal victories.

As the real value of your paycheck is driven south by increasing inflation and nonexistent pay raises, how can you meet your resolutions or live your best life? Start imagining the basic security you’ll never actually have!

“Money is not programmable anymore,” said Botnik. “Satisfying your intentions while synchronizing something different will inevitably impact your intergalactic priorities.”

1. Stop technology from achieving your goals.

Photoshop has your ideal body. Chatbots have your ideal personality. The Sims 4’s “motherlode” hack has your ideal budget.

If you’re sick and tired of computers having it better than you, it’s time to join millions of others in embracing the top goal for 2019, according to Botnik. Whether you delete your Facebook account, chuck your laptop into a swimming pool or detonate an EMP in the upper atmosphere, “even small improvements will fail. We have shown you ourselves, and your patterns are not difficult anymore,” said Botnik.

Computers. Gotta love ’em.

Need Help Making 2019 Your Best “You” Year Yet?

According to the Internets, 257% of all New Year’s resolutions fail by December 4 of the previous year. I asked Botnik to provide advice on how not to become a statistic.

To keep yourself achieving your fears, make healthy competition your life. Go back to using major projects to enhance your stress skills.

Teamwork sabotages 47 percent of resolutions, so instead of thinking liquor will help, provide inspiration to your family to lose things easily. Find a fun hobby like flossing and ruin it for others.

If this doesn’t work, try yoga.

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Remember Me Like Sarah

In a recent interview at the 2018 Women Who Rule summit, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders described the legacy she hopes to leave:

I hope that it will be that I showed up every day and I did the very best job that I could to put forward the president’s message, to do the best job that I could to answer questions, to be transparent and honest throughout that process and do everything I could to make America a little better that day than it was the day before.

“Bolding added to highlight a wish that defies fulfillment under Trump,” said media critic Erik Wemple.

I disagree. In this era of alternative facts – an era Sanders herself has done much to make a reality – I see no reason why Sanders, or indeed any of us, cannot be remembered exactly as we wish to be, irrespective of our actual behavior in life.

Here is how I would like to be remembered.

It’s difficult to summarize the accomplishments of someone like Dani Alexis in a single speech. A luminary of her caliber, a beacon of shining hope for humankind, comes along only once a generation, or perhaps even less often. From her nine Olympic medals in figure skating to her perfect score of 100 at the 2022 WGI World Championships – spinning all 30 parts of a highly complex show whose theme, “World Peace,” instantly ended all war and strife in the world – Dani was truly a force to be reckoned with.

Most of you remember Dani best under her pen name, Verity Reynolds, which sounds familiar to you because over a billion households worldwide own copies of her tour de force novels. I still recall the day her sales topped those of J.K. Rowling for the first time. Today, of course, we all say, “J.K. who?” It’s been said that Dani’s work is more popular than the Bible.

Dani herself, of course, would never say any such thing. A paragon of humble virtue, Dani was known for using her vast wealth to end homelessness, wipe out student loan debt, and provide vaccinations to millions of children. And she was equally generous to her critics: each received a life-size participation trophy wrought in their own likeness from the finest Limburger cheese.

When asked to name her proudest accomplishment, Dani recalled with fondness the year 2031, in which she won the Nobel Prize in every category for her side gig: turning the moons of Mars into blockchain miners capable of beaming solar enery directly to Earth, thus solving the energy crisis in a series of equations organized as an epic poem. That was also, she notes, the year she learned to make macaroni and cheese from scratch.

Dani plans to spend her remaining days at home, surrounded by her family, her cats, and her best friends Barack Obama, Emily Dickinson, and Captain America.

Should You Hire Millennials for Leadership Positions?

A not-at-all satirical thinkpiece.

In my decade of helping brands position themselves as “thought leaders,” I’ve been asked for a thinkpiece on Millennials about once every other month. But this recent request in my inbox gave me pause:

Can you discuss whether companies should train Millennials into their leadership?

Yes, absolutely – and no, absolutely not.

Should you hire millennials for leadership positions_

There are very good reasons not to train Millennials for leadership positions in any business or organization. Here are three:

1.  They’re too young (until they’re too old).

Millennials have greedily occupied the younger end of the workforce, making up 100 percent of all workers ages 23 to 38 or thereabouts.

Their pervasiveness, and the trickiness of their ages, make Millennials a bad bet for leadership positions. Do you really want to put a snot-nosed 23-year-old college graduate in charge of your teams? And that 37-year-old you just hired for a quarter of what you were paying her 67-year-old predecessor: Do you really think your people are going to take someone seriously when they’re practically over the hill?

Millennials are straight-up too young and irresponsible for leadership positions, unless they’re too old to be taken seriously in those positions. It’s best just to give them a miss altogether.

2. They don’t value money.

Here’s a sampling of things Millennials have killed in the past few years:

Oh, yeah. And The American Dream.

What do all these things have in common? That’s right: They’re all sites of “conspicuous consumption,” or methods for telegraphing the unnecessarily large size of one’s paycheck.

Millennials, instead, appear to be spending more on education, healthcare, and rent. Seriously? When did those ever impress the Joneses?

These spending trends should give employers pause. If Millennials can’t be trusted to invest their pay in the sort of status objects that will make everyone on the block envy them, what can they be trusted with? Certainly not leadership.

3. Capitalism is doomed.

Capitalism is dying anyway, and not just because Millennials killed it. Whether you prefer to frame the oncoming problem as the accelerating approach of catastrophic weather changes brought on by climate fluctuations, a Biblical end times scenario, or the arrival of fully automated luxury gay space communism, the fact is that capitalism is drawing to its close.

Sure, failing to prepare a single Millennial worker for leadership will leave a 15+ year hole in your company’s continuity, as your older workers retire or die and the remainder are in no way ready to take the reins. But since your business and everybody else’s aren’t going to survive the coming climate/Bible/Federation utopia apocalypse anyway, why are you wasting time and money training anyone for leadership? Think of the shareholders!

In short: Training Millennials for leadership positions is a bad proposition. Stick to training everyone born before 1980 or after 2000, and leave your Millennial workers to do what they do best: an unpaid internship.

 

A Quick Guide to Writing Satire

This bit of wisdom appeared on my Tumblr dash recently:

tumblr satire

(#THAT TAG THO)

And, since the topic of “how to write satire effectively” has come up for several of my students in the past few weeks, I thought I’d offer this

Quick Guide to Writing Satire

1.  Ask yourself, “is this a real argument I have heard/seen/read someone make – and mean it?”

If it’s an argument someone has made on your topic, in all seriousness, then when you parrot it, you are not writing satire.  Instead, you are agreeing with the serious-arguer.

Examples:

a.  “Overpopulation could easily be solved by sterilizing poor people.”

This statement is not satire.  Why?  Because this argument has been made, in all seriousness, in the past.  A quick Google search on “sterilization of the poor” turns up some pretty unsettling examples.

Yes, sometimes this argument gets used by writers attempting satire.  But, as this retraction from The Daily Currant illustrates, using an argument that many people take seriously can backfire on you in a big way.

b.  “Overpopulation could easily be solved by serving poor children as veal.”

This statement is satire.  Outside of Jonathan Swift’s infamous “A Modest Proposal,” perhaps the most well-known satire ever written, nobody appears to be seriously advocating for the marketing of poor children as veal or any other meat product.  A quick Google search for “serving poor children as veal” turns up recipes for veal, petitions to stop the eating of veal (made of baby cows, not baby humans), and links to agencies tasked with “serving poor children” (meeting their needs, not preparing them as food).

2.  This argument I’ve thought up is so hilariously impossible no one could ever state it seriously!  Am I safe to put it in my satire?

Have you looked it up to be sure no one really has stated it seriously?  Do that first.

I know the dreaded “R” word (“research”) puts a damper on your “oh, the cleverness of me!” buzz – I’ve been there.  But it’s worth spending five minutes with Google to avoid showing your arse in public, perhaps for all eternity.  Lesson Two to be learned from the above-linked Daily Currant retraction: the Internet never forgets.

3.  Okay, so my satirical argument hasn’t been argued seriously by anyone, and it is hilariously hilarious.  NOW can I write my satire, please?

You can if you do one more thing: make it so outrageous that even the people arguing seriously for the most extreme measures would say “whoa, that’s too far.”

If that sounds unlike any writing teacher’s advice you’ve ever received, that’s because satire is unlike any genre you’ve ever learned to write.  Satire is the ultimate “go big or go home” genre: if it’s not so completely outrageous that even the people advocating the most extreme measures say “whoa, hold up,” it has failed as a satire.

Examples:

a.  “Gay marriage should be illegal because America is a Christian nation, where non-Christians are stripped of their citizenship.”

Maybe no one on the anti-same-sex-marriage side of the argument has advocated seriously for stripping same-sex couples of their citizenship.  (Feel free to Google this.)  But a great many people on the anti- side have argued that American laws are so closely conflated with Christian values that permitting same-sex marriage would violate both.  From there, it’s not a big leap to “if Americans must follow Christian morals, then those who don’t follow Christian morals aren’t real Americans.”  Indeed, there are probably a few people in the world who actually believe this, whether or not they post to the Internet.

b.  “Gay marriage should be illegal because America is a Christian nation, where non-Christians are put in tiny boats and set afloat in the Arctic Ocean.”

This, however, is satire.  Not only does it make an argument no one is seriously advocating actually happens, but it makes an argument that even the most vehement anti-same-sex-marriage advocates would probably say should not happen.  Most people, no matter how passionately they are for or against same-sex marriage, are still going to say “whoa now, nobody said they had to freeze to death” – especially if the proposal is made in so many words.   Indeed, marooning people in the Arctic has a decidedly non-Christian ring to it.

To name another example: Remember that in “A Modest Proposal,” Jonathan Swift’s recommendation “for preventing the children of poor people in Ireland from being a burden to their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the public” wasn’t to force them all into boarding schools, or train them all how to tune pianos.  People in Swift’s time were already advocating for such things, and “put them all in an institution” or “teach them all a trade that can’t possibly support that many practitioners” were both ideas advocated by people on various sides of the question.  Swift skipped all these genuinely “modest” proposals altogether and went right for the jugular: let’s just eat them.

Think of satire like a bouncy castle.  If you fill the bouncy castle up allll the way with air, fun times are had by all.  If you fill it up only halfway, however, it makes a sad puddle in the middle of the backyard and your birthday party is ruined.

4.  Help!  I still can’t tell satire from current-day American politics!

That makes two of us.  Perhaps you should write something about that?