Building a Better Bing My New Year's resolutions for the next 1,000 minutes.
By Stanley Bing

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Okay, it's late. At this time of year, I would normally have already drawn up a long list of things I'd like to improve about myself and, quite frankly, about you. The year would already be in full swing, and I'd be on my way to completing my resolutions. But this year? What a madhouse.

First I had to go out and get water. Then it wasn't enough water, because a friend of my son's heard from somebody that terrorists were going to poison our reservoirs, and we would need more. So I went out and got more water. Then we needed flashlights, because there would be no electricity, except everybody else seemed to have gone out to get his flashlight earlier than me, so I had to drive around for the best part of a day looking for flashlights, which I eventually found but never used. This wasn't as bad as my friend Tim, who bought a canned turkey as insurance against disaster and now will actually have to eat it somewhere down the road. I didn't go that far. But I was busy, okay?

So it turned out that nothing at all happened, and I was caught without any particular resolutions, and now I need some. So here they are.

1. I'm going to maintain my suit size. It's perfect, and will remain stable. As for my actual weight qua weight, I believe I must be at the ideal one for me, since I don't seem to be able to change it very much, at least on the downside. So I'm just going to keep it where it is and cram the result into my existing clothing, no matter what.

2. I'm going to try to look more Republican. Republicans have more fun than Democrats in business meetings, complaining about capital gains taxes, laughing at the foibles of stupid liberals, and generally talking 50% more golf than their Democratic counterparts.

3. I'm not going to yell at people. I'm tired of being a person who yells at people. What's the point of it, anyhow? Do people do better after you yell at them? I don't think so. I know I don't. Okay, yelling makes me feel better. But I don't think this decade is about feeling better. I think it's about doing the right thing while producing maximum personal wealth.

4. I'm not going to get yelled at anymore, either. This will take long-range planning and a savvy sense of personal positioning, in the sense that it pays to know when you should be out of the room. To that end, I'm going to delegate everything that could possibly get me yelled at. I've been trending this way for a while anyhow, and now I think I'll just step up to the plate and finish my transformation into a real senior manager. The key, I believe, is handing off the work itself--the writing, the meeting, the pitching, the fetching, the catching, all that kind of stuff--to somebody good, then reeling it back in when it's pretty clear that everything is working out okay so that you can get the credit. I resolve to be alert for when that moment arrives and make the most of it.

5. I'm not going to sexually harass anybody. I haven't so far, but I figure I can get some credit for it here. This means being exquisitely tuned to the psychosexual dynamics of everyday office life, then rejecting them entirely. Making this goal easier to achieve is the fact that I'm no longer all that physically attractive.

6. I'm going to eliminate social drinking from my life. This isn't as hard as it seems. How many meaningless glasses of pinot grigio did you swill down this year for no particular purpose? One million? Two? Did you get a buzz off it? Did you enjoy it, even? Wasn't it kind of warm a lot of the time, or excessively fruity? The only reason to drink in business is to get hammered. I'm going to eliminate any drinking not designed for that purpose.

7. I'm going to make a lot of money. This is perhaps my most serious resolution. You may snigger at the implication that one can simply determine to do such a thing. Snigger away, loser. It's the people who make idiotic vows like this one who are considering whether 11,000 square feet is too much room for them, and decide that it isn't because they have so many friends whose names they cannot remember, many of them beautiful.

8. I'm going to invest only in good stocks, not bad ones. By this I mean securities that go up in value during the year, not down. This critical investment secret was imparted to me by my former boss, Walt, who eventually got so rich he received a permanent waiver from showing up at the office. Last year I did pretty well in the market because I followed the advice of my friend Marsden, who knows a lot about some very specific subjects it's possible to put money into, and also listened to Reynard, who is far too rich for his own good. On several occasions, however, I stupidly listened to myself or, worse, my broker, and invested in stocks that did not go up as promised. I'd like to stop doing that.

9. I'm going to keep the rest of my hair. I believe this to be a matter of concentration, nutrition, and the use of hats to trap certain crucial vibrations. I'll keep you posted.

10. I'm going to be happier. I've noticed that joy has very little to do with external matters but instead is driven from within. Of course, this presumes that the basics of life are taken care of, and by this I mean the things that do not themselves create happiness but without which happiness cannot begin to get started. These include food, beverages, friends, a good car that does not break down in bad weather and makes you look good when you drive it, nice housing in a neighborhood you can bring friends home to without wincing, a certain level of physical beauty both in yourself and your significant others, at least one Pentium III computer so that you can play games with huge 3-D graphics, a laptop of less than five pounds with a state-of-the-art modem and good battery life, a couple of decent bottles of wine in the basement for when you feel like complementing that saucy little Brie you found at the gourmet supermarket, and lots of credit so that you can buy stuff when you're feeling unhappy. Beyond these few basics lies a world of spiritual bliss free of material considerations. I want to go there.

11. I'm going to get a fish steamer. I hear it makes delicious, low-calorie meals that fill you up, not out, and should go perfectly with the 1,000 gallons of water I'm going to have to drink every day until the turn of the next millennium, or the end of the world, whichever comes first.

By day, STANLEY BING is a real executive at a real FORTUNE 500 company he'd rather not name.