New Year’s resolutions, what’s the point?

It’s that time of year again, that time when we all start to think about something we’ll do next year, even if we don’t want to. I’m talking of course about New Year’s resolutions. Chances are you’ve made one in the past, and we’ve all seen a random drunk person at the bar make a spectacle over how “this ish my lasht shigarette ever” (it may have been you). It’s at this point that someone will ask what your resolution is. Having not thought about it before you look around the room for some inspiration before realising that the one thing you always, sort of, maybe wanted to do was go jogging, as such you blurt out that your resolution is to get into shape. I know this because that was me about 5 years ago.

Of course we’re not all impulsive, some people actually think through their resolutions. They’re the kind of people who knew all year that there’s something they should be doing but were just waiting for something before they do it. We’ve all talked about how we’ll start saving money or quit meth ‘tomorrow’ (not necessarily those examples, but if it’s meth, quit that shit now – crack is better). You’ll say this all year, until December that is, then tomorrow is replaced with ‘next year’. On the surface there’s nothing wrong with either way of coming to the conclusion that you need to make a change, it takes a lot for someone to realise there’s something they would like to change, even if that realisation was after you downed a bottle of sparkling wine and numerous shots. But when you dig a bit deeper there are serious issues with all resolutions.

Much like the moral ambiguity of Breaking Bad characters. Bloody meth

Much like the moral ambiguity of Breaking Bad characters. Bloody meth

Firstly, the snap decision. How is it possible for you to find the determination to achieve a goal you’ve only had for five minutes, especially if it’s one you were pressured into thinking up? Let’s take the most common examples of a resolution; quitting smoking and getting into shape. When do you start your quest to achieve your new goal? I can pretty much guarantee that anyone drunk will not be able to quit smoking at midnight, and those wanting to get into shape are highly unlikely to get up the next morning and go for a run. The reason for this is because old habits die hard at the best of times, especially when alcohol is involved. So if you don’t wake up with the same determination you had the night before (assuming you remember making a resolution), you have clearly already failed.

As for the long term planned out resolution. Well, this one will also fail, after all if you’re really determined to do something why not do it now? The reason is quite simple, you don’t really want to achieve this goal and you keep hiding behind the facade of tomorrow, safely aware that tomorrow never comes. As such, regardless of how long you spend thinking up your resolution you are pretty much guaranteed to fail.

"If I drink more today I'll clear this hangover tomorrow"

“If I drink more today I’ll clear this hangover tomorrow, right?”

OK, so let’s say you’re the exception. You knew there was something you wanted to change and you had a perfectly logical reason to do it in the new year, more to the point you woke up on January 1st more determined than before. How long do you feel that determination will last? Well, to decide that let’s look at another two events of the year – Christmas and Valentines Day. Just in case you weren’t aware, Christmas is about spreading goodwill to all mankind and Valentines is about showing how much you love your partner. Now call me crazy (you won’t be the first), but these two things should happen all year, however for one reason or another they don’t. Could it be that being ‘that person’ all year is tiring? Probably, and the same applies to maintaining your resolution as it can become difficult and tiring, especially if it’s something you’re not used to doing. We’re all human after all and people regularly fail.

But why do we set a resolution? Well in all honesty, I don’t know. Most people do it as they want to convince themselves they can be better than they are, even though the minor changes they try to make aren’t likely to make any real improvement to who they are anyway. The start of a new year is somewhat symbolic as well, but why can’t the striking of midnight every day be equally symbolic? Some people in this world see every day as a new start and an opportunity to achieve something new, unfortunately others don’t. OK, so I see how it would be difficult for some to set themselves new goals every day, however there’s nothing wrong with trying something new whenever the opportunity arises. That’s exactly how I live my life nowadays. I treat every morning as an opportunity to achieve something new, and I’ve never been happier.

As always, Calvin says it best

As always, Calvin says it best

Please don’t take this the wrong way, but this Monday, don’t make an empty resolution because you feel it’s what you should do, after all you’re pretty damn awesome as you are. OK, so if you do want to make a change do so, I’m not trying to discourage you from that, all I’m saying is that you should only make changes if and when you really want to. Let’s not forget that today is a new day and it’s the perfect time to start the next chapter in your life.

Here’s to a great 2013

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