Kiruba is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, podcaster and a farmer.

New Year Resolutions: 3 Tips from Science

Its the second week of January 2013. The time when our new year resolutions lose steam! Read these 3 tips by my friend Ramnath Subbaraman.

New Year Resolutions: 3 Tips from Science

1. KEEP IT TO YOURSELF: Because, announcing your goal gives you a “premature sense of completeness”, and you are less likely to work hard towards achieving it, according to a study – When Intentions Go Public – by New York University professor Peter M. Gollwitzer. (Via)

2. KEEP IT SMALL: Because, small things – such as doing 10 push ups as soon as you wake up, or playing guitar for 3 minutes everyday – are more likely to become a habit, says Stanford professor BJ Fogg. Check out his site tinyhabits (Via)

3. KEEP YOUR COOL: Because, a relapse of an old habit doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. “It’s like learning to ride a bicycle. Almost everybody falls at least once,” Alan Marlatt says. If you fail once, pick yourself up, fight the abstinence violation effect and keep going.

And, one more, KEEP A SCORECARD: Because, Hawthorne Effect suggests you’ll do better when you are being monitored. (The Nike Experiment: How the Shoe Giant Unleashed the Power of Personal Metrics | Wired)

Have a great 2013! Original article here.


Getting Started on New Year Resolutions.

It’s the birth of a fresh new year. The mind is fresh and filled with positivity. It has always been a tradition for me to write down my new year resolutions in the last week of December itself. But this time, my single minded focus was in completing the 900 kms Tour of Tamilnadu. I was too tired from cycling to whip out a list.

So, I’m dedicating the next two days to jot down my New Year Resolutions list. Previous experiences and wisdom from aging has taught me not to be too strict with it. Its a friendly guideline and not a must-do list.

As with previous years, my resolutions will be kept private. But if you follow my progress, it’d be easy for you to make it out.


The New Year Celebration I Won’t Forget in a Long Time

In 13 years since our apartment has been built, this is the first year that a New Year has been jointly celebrated. When we took over the responsibility of the apartment association during mid-2008, this was on the must-do list. And huge credit should go to the kids for pulling a remarkable event together. I was pleasantly surprised by their organizing skills and financial acumen.


The kids performing a dance for the song ‘Yeh Ishq hai‘ from Jab We Met. I must’ve listened to this song a hundred times while they were rehearing the dance at my home. My wife was the troupe’s choreographer.

Notice the colourful screen in the background. It’s made out of 64 sarees, generously lent by the ladies in the apartment.

There were many games during the 3 hour event. One such is the musical chair contest for men.


The buffet was the highlight of the celebration. Each home took the responsibility of cooking one special item of their choice for everyone. It reminded me of unconferences where folks picked up their own topic to speak. We had over 3o items and I can tell that this can rival any 5 star hotel food.


Just before midnight, we all got together for a group photo. That’s just half of them. Few had to leave for churches and temples for New Year Pooja.


We bought some classy fireworks (these are monstrous guys) and we timed it beautifully with the New Year countdown. Then came a huge cake where the eldest couple and the youngest kid in the apartment jointly cut the cake. Then followed a melee of cream splashing spree!

To see the unity amongst the residents and the amazing spirit and talent of the kids was fantastic. A New Year Celebration I won’t forget in a long time.


The Making of the Community Christmas Tree

Every year, I set up an artificial Christmas tree at my home, decorate it with small goodies and lights. However, it just doesn’t have the festive feel nor the spirit. This time, I wanted it to be different. I wanted it to be bigger and more importantly, make our apartment folks to be involved. That’s when the idea of a community tree cropped up and quickly latched on to it.


This is the tree that’s inside our apartment that we chose. We planted this two years ago and this guys has grown fairly strong. We decided to give it the Christmas look.


Off I went to Parrys Corner. It’s a good one hour ridefrom my place. Worth the long ride. You get the best varieties and the best prices. Picked up stars, trinkets, bells, and other stuff.


There’s a special lane in Parrys corner that only deals with electrical goods. Picked up a whole bunch of ‘china made’ Christmas lights.


The whole idea attracted the apartment kids like Pied Piper. That’s just half of them. A whole lot more joined in soon.


The kids helped set things up and the adults joined in doing the hard stuff like electrical wiring and hanging.


We needed thin metal wires in order to hang the stars and the bells. There’s a nice hardware store nearby and bought these wires.


Meanwhile, another team of volunteers began work on getting the electrical wiring ready. Since all the bulbs were to be fixed as a serial connection, we had to make sure that the connections were perfect. One mistake and the rest of the bulbs won’t glow. I wanted to call in a professional electrician to help but the enthusiastic guys said they’d do it themselves. I was impressed.


A kind gentleman in our apartment helped source a ladder that greatly helped. Once the wiring was done, we began to hang the lights.


As the evening progressed, the day light began to fade making the task harder. The team didn’t want to stop mid way and we laboured on. The thin branches didn’t help either and we had to be careful. The lightest guy in the team took on the adventurous job of getting up the tree.


When we switched on the power, it was a sight to behold. The colourful lights lit up the place brightly. The kids and the folks in the apartment broke into an applause immediately. Seen here are the three guys, Nagesh, Manohar and Rajesh who took on the bulk of the work. Each of the kids went and shook their hands saying, “Thank you uncle”. The joy on the kids face was worth all the 6 hours of hard work.

The spirit was contagious. One of the neighbours even bought a whole pack ‘jalebis’ for the team. Now the folks in the apartment are enthusiastic about celebrating a joint New Year Celebrations on 30th night and plans are underway. It’s the first time in 12 years that this apartment is seeing a joint celebration.

Amazing what a little spirit and a Christmas tree can do! :)