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Resolutions, with Benefits

Posted 01/08/2015 by Stacey Cornelius

I am, at this very moment, anticipating toast. This is a very bad thing, because gluten breaks my brain. I’m also about to break a resolution, even though I never make resolutions in early January, or late December, because I’m not at my best during the bleakest time of the year, when the days are short and cold, and often grey, and I find myself wanting to spend months at a time in a warm bath and my insides crave nothing but comfort food.

But I’m hungry, there’s heroin—I mean, bread—in the house, and everything I can safely consume requires far too much cooking.

Currently my insides are not interested in cooking, just toast. So my unwritten, slightly vague pledge of Healthy and Unapologetic is in serious jeopardy.

I have only the time it takes for bread to become crispy and a small appliance to eject the soon-to-be crispy bread to analyze the dilemma: why is my resolution so easy to abandon? Are my feet made of clay? Is my spine fashioned from some unappealing flavour of jelly?

Or is it (good lord, what has my plummeting blood sugar done to me), that I’ve fallen into that dreaded trap of marketing, and focused on features instead of benefits?

Of course I jest. More or less. I confess I’m slightly appalled at drawing the parallel, but it has some merit. Resolutions often look good on paper, but don’t necessarily go to the heart of the matter. Deciding, for example, to lose 15 pounds needs something to go with it: to be able to fit into those jeans again (thus saving the cash required to buy a new pair), or to just stop feeling listless. The first part of the equation is the bright, shiny thing: the feature. What that thing does is the benefit.

Resolutions, like any good marketing campaign, need to show you benefits. Maybe not in so many words (“Buy my art, you’ll feel great!”), but that message needs to seep into the buyer’s consciousness.

When you make yourself a promise, you’re the buyer, and you don’t fall for gimmicks. You want results.

Maybe you want to make more money this year. The benefit isn’t money (shiny!) but maybe you’ll sleep better with a bigger bank balance. Or maybe you can pay off that credit card you used to buy more supplies. The benefit is what that money can do.

Making more money is the halfway point. It’s awfully easy to quit when you’re halfway if what’s at the end isn’t clearly defined.

So the toast. “Healthy” is a nice feature, but it’s not the best motivator. Uninterrupted sleep, a clear head, and not feeling stupid and sluggish means more creative energy. Those benefits are easy to commit to.


Creative Commons image credit: Amodiovalerio Verde