By Atty. Gilberto Lauengco, J.D.

“Merciful Father, I have squandered my days with plans of many things… For all we ought to have thought and have not thought; all we ought to have said, and have not said; all we ought to have done, and have not done; I pray thee God for forgiveness.” Ahmed Ibn Fadhlan – The 13th Warrior

“You can only do one dot at a time” – Oblique strategies by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt

Every new year, millions of people around the globe proclaim to one and all their so-called New Year’s resolutions. Some of the top New Year’s resolutions are:

1. Exercise more
2. Eat Less
3. Quit smoking or drinking
4. Get organized
5. Spend less.
6. Spend more time with family.

These are actually good goals. Unfortunately, these are also the resolutions which are less likely to be accomplished or sustained.

Why do many people fail to accomplish their new year resolutions? Some say we set the bar too high. We often want to go big or go home. We set sudden diet changes or ambitious exercise regimes only to lose steam.

Others say that change is inherently difficult for most people. It takes momentum to correct a course.

Finally, many say that it is likely that since we rarely set milestones or deadlines, people often procrastinate and then realize another year had already elapsed.


When setting out to fulfill their resolutions, most people often feel daunted. For me, one of my perennial New Year’s resolution is to organize my collections. Unfortunately, after hours of organizing and little progress, it often feels like it is an impossible task. Once you feel the enormity of the task, the temptation of procrastination sets in. This is where many resolutions meet their end.

Some people also say that other than procrastination, many people often just get stuck in the planning phase and never get to the execution stage.


In both the public and private sector, officials and officers alike often squander the opportunities that abound at the start of every new year. Every beginning brings loads of energy and optimism. Rather than capitalize on this energy, officials and officers often get stuck in the powerpoint and meeting phase concentrating on beautiful powerpoint animations and videos and then just proceeding to power point accomplishments.

For these people, perhaps their higher-ups must set accountabilities and timed responsibilities and goals as their mandated New Year’s resolutions.

Politics 2025

As a political consultant, I have been asked lately when is the proper time to start preparing for the midterm elections on 2025. My answer for all has been consistent. The proper time to prepare for the said elections is last year and today. As such, the first quarter of 2023 can determine the political future of many aspirants. Election campaigns has evolved in so many ways. It is now a multi-discipline science that involve information technology, social anthropology, psychology, marketing and high-level math. In its execution stage, it requires a methodical accretion system that takes time to apply. Time is therefore, a key element and the one element that cannot be expanded by human will.

For political aspirants, therefore, their New Year’s resolution this year must be to start planning and executing TODAY.

How can we increase the chance of fulfilling our New Year resolution in general?

Set deadlines milestones or better yet start the steps to achieve your resolution TODAY. Set consequences for missing deadlines.

Motivate yourself. In many instances, people make the changes as a do-or-die matter and insofar as health is concerned it really is a matter of survival. They watch videos about people dying of various health conditions to let fear spur them. Sometimes you need your friends to intervene and give incentives.

Do small steps. Implement your changes one day one part at a time. The important thing is that something happens every day that brings you closer to your goal. Every morning must start with planning your actions and every evening must be an auditing session for what you have done.

In the end, the New Year’s resolutions are all about changing what needs to be changed and doing what needs to be done. The time to start these changes is TODAY and NOW.

This is my oblique observation.

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Office of the Press Secretary. 

About the Columnist

Columnist Image

ATTY. GILBERTO LAUENGCO, J.D. is a lawyer, educator, political strategist, government consultant, Lego enthusiast, and the director of CAER Think Tank. He is a Former Vice Chairman of MECO, Special Assistant of NFA and City Administrator among others. His broad experience has molded his unique approach to issues analysis which he calls the oblique observation.