The concept of making New Year’s resolutions goes as far as 153 BC with the mythical king of Rome, Janus. Janus, having two faces (not unlike most people I know), was able to reflect on the past year as well as foresee the upcoming future, and in doing so became the symbol of resolutions. It was the beginning of the New Year that Romans sought forgiveness from their enemies, exchanged gifts and also perceived the New Year as a fresh start and a clean slate of sorts. I, however, have never bought into the whole New Year’s resolution thing… as of January 1st you just get a free “do-over?” Sounds like something invented by Weight Watchers and not the Romans, if you ask me. So here’s an idea: fuck the New Year’s resolutions, you know you’re not going to stick to it anyway. Instead, use these five reasons as your excuses as to why you’re not doing that whole resolution thing… your friends will marvel at your wisdom.
1. Twelve months is one hell of a commitment. It’s nice to pretend that you’re going to wake up on January 1st (probably hungover and reeking of regrets), and start on a whole new path of something. Whether it be running more, being nicer to your neighbors, eating less pizza, or even finally learning how to spell your brother-in-law’s name correctly, twelve months is a long time to keep up any act, especially one that you actually needed to put into effect on the first of the year. If you’re really living an unsatisfying life that needs a change, just do it already, don’t wait for January 1st, because honestly, you’re just setting yourself up to fail. Have you ever met anyone who has stuck to their resolution past mid-January? I know I haven’t, and would kinda be creeped out if I did.
2. Hysteria never got anyone anywhere. It’s the advertising community that really drives the whole concept of the New Year’s resolution and warps it into not just a social norm but a way for them to cash in on the impending life changes that people want to make. From gyms to dieting techniques to even clothing (resolve to get yourself a cuter wardrobe this year!), we, the consumer, are practically forced into a hysteria that all but demands we make at least one resolution in January so as to better ourselves, and of course in bettering ourselves we dig into our wallets. How many people join a gym in January? A lot. How many people have resigned to the couch after work instead of going to the gym where they purchased that membership by February? Probably more than half. Why waste your money on things that you never wanted in the first place? That money would have been better spent on pizza and beer.
3. January shouldn’t corner the market on new beginnings. January thinks it’s so damn special the way it sits there at the beginning of the calendar, looming and making false promises of a new start. What’s wrong with March or July to start anew? And you don’t have to be Chinese to follow their calendar which begins on February 3rd of 2011… that seems like a fine time to start a new direction. Or hey, I have an idea, what about next Thursday? Next Thursday could work too! Everyday that you wake up is a new day and a new array of possibilities! Isn’t that exciting? Looks like January 1st just lost all its meaning… pfft.
4. Simply, expectations suck. It’s nice to have goals and dreams and all that, but setting yourself up with an expectation that you may not even be able to achieve is just a waste of time and energy, and will eventually lead to disappointment. I once resolved to stop writing song lyrics on the bathroom walls of shady bars in the Lower East Side with my Sharpie. I stuck to it for a bit, but the budding graffiti artist in me couldn’t be kept at bay, so when I finally gave into my childish behavior, do you know how crushed I was? I set an expectation for myself that I clearly couldn’t keep, and in failing to do so, I felt like shit. For weeks, I had to rock myself to sleep assuring myself that I still had worth despite my ability to stick to one simple resolution. Needless to say, it set me back years emotionally. Don’t let the same thing happen to you!
5. You’re perfect. That’s right, I said it. While your friends and work colleagues scramble to try to better themselves in some way with a list of all the things about themselves and their lives they want to change, you can sit back and breathe a sigh of relief because you’ve realized something that they haven’t: no sense in changing what’s not broken. It takes a lot of guts to accept your human (and beautiful) flaws in a society that strives for perfection. You managed to get thought 2010, 2009 and every year before that just as you are, so why mess with a good thing? Clearly, you must be doing something right that you manage to forge on in this sometimes cruel and scary world and get to the end of each year a little wiser than you were just twelve months before – no need to condemn yourself to the impossible.
So this New Year’s Eve before the champagne starts flowing and you’re sitting around with your friends as they spout off about their upcoming resolutions, keep these five facts in mind. Resolutions are for other people, because you’re doing just fine.