Procedure for the regular New Year’s Resolution:
- Diagnose your overwhelmingly worst fault or bad habit
- Promise faithfully, in public, to turn a new leaf, transform yourself, etc…. to the maximum degree (ie use all the absolute adjectives – ALL, NEVER, WHOLE, ENTIRE, EVERY…
- Even believe yourself if you want to.
- Set a date this will all begin to take place (but not Jan 1st – that’s a bit harsh)
- Drink to it. Preferably a few times.
- Feel sanctimonious.
- By approximately 17th January, abandon all recollection of the resolution.
- Maintain amnesia and continue with bad habit.
- Repeat next year.
The problem with this scenario is there’s no plan. Ah. Bliss. The no-guilt, no-brain resolution that requires zero effort. Pass me another Mai-Tai.
I’m not resolute about anything for this New Year. Except perhaps how to get from A to B without encountering the mother of all traffic jams, ensuring I have an empty bladder for fireworks viewing, and making sure #1 son goes out with a full charge of mobile phone battery. Other than that, my expectations of New Year’s Eve and it’s accompanying resolutions are, as usual, very low.
My home town, Sydney, Australia, always puts on a cracker of a fireworks show (pun intended) but it costs enough to feed and clothe a small third world nation. That is, to me, a bit of a Debbie Downer. Global Priorities don’t seem to feature much in the Sydney City Council agenda for January 2017, which includes such unmissable events such as The Tomboy Survival Guide, Regurgitator performing the Velvet Underground & Nico, and something called You and Me and the Space in Between??? Sounds riveting. If my New Year’s resolution could be to cancel the City’s attempts at being hip and with it, and donate all costs to pursuing a cure for cancer, I would. As it is, I can only resolve to boycott. But that’s not a proper “Resolution,” is it? A REAL resolution is one that involves losing fat, or learning a language and then forgetting all about it.
I’ve been thinking a lot about something my friend said to me recently. How she always makes a resolution, then feels fantastic that she’s decided, and that absolves her of all the guilt that she has in never ACTUALLY carrying through with it. A wise piece of self analysis.
New Year’s Resolutions are dumb. It’s like you have to think of your worst fault, tell all your friends about how you will change, and then not do it. Most resolutions last about as long as the bang of the crackers at midnight. I’m pretty sure it’s a syndrome, New Year’s Amnesia. This enigmatic phenomena is not caused by alcohol or drugs, but our inability to plan our way out of a wet paper bag. For some people, who are unable to plan a drink in a brewery at the best of times, it is nigh impossible to forge ahead with a resolution.
And it’s not spontaneous. It’s forced upon you to come up with something earth shattering. Timed even…to the hour! 11pm, 31st December – 12.15am January 1st. Picture this – the Gang around for New Year’s drinks, you’re all having a giggle. It sounds like this…
“What’s your resolution?” they all want to know. (Now we’re going to swap negative statements about ourselves.)
“I’m so unfit, I’m going to run a marathon this year.”
“I eat too much junk food” says another. “Meeee ttoooooo!” everyone chimes in.
“I’m going on a diet on January 2. I want a bikini body for (insert tropical place name here.)” Everyone nods understandingly, thinking of their own stores of cellulite and thankful for their
“Harvey and I want to go to Tuvalu, we’re going to save up,” pipes up one friend. (I can see some of the group cocking eyebrows ….Tuvalu…isn’t that some kind of skirt?) “I’m hopeless at saving money, but THIS time I’m really going to.”
We all nod in Clayton’s understanding of eachother’s struggles, but file a mental note particularly when it comes to the ones who are going to ‘fully Spring Clean the house, sort the junk in the shed and the store room, and who are NOT going to buy any more stuff.’ I’m feeling mildly guilty. Perhaps I should have picked one of those….
Most people follow the Regular Resolution procedure (listed above) and the most popular resolutions revolve around vague hopes of health, happiness and money.
Perhaps this year we should try something different. The New Year’s Revolution. This unusual procedure involves actually maintaining some memory of your pre-New Year resolve, a modicum of a plan, and extraordinarily, the aim of doing something about it. Choose something achievable – preferably something that doesn’t send you into convulsions thinking about it. (eg permanently giving up chocolate …. errrggghh) Just choose a little thing. Pick something you’re good at, something you CAN manage. Something positive, that will make a small difference in your world or in someone else’s. Think about what you will do to set this plan into action. What will you need? Where will you start? Diarise it – make the time! Who will help or support you?
Choose something that’s been niggling at your life. (I don’t mean your Other Half)..(or maybe I do). Perhaps your health, maybe your financial situation, or your lifestyle.
- What are some things that could improve it? Write a list.
- Before you have apoplexy and see red spots in front of your eyes, downgrade your ‘expectations.’ What small step can you take towards those goals? eg: reduce junk food to once a week, tidy one cataclysmic cupboard a week, visit your parents every fortnight….or…er….month.
- What do you need to do this? (time? money? effort?)
- How will you get that? This is the hard one….where we mostly fail and amnesia sets in. The clincher: If you fail to plan, you will plan to fail. Will you save $10 a week? will you set aside 1 hour on a Sunday? Will you research cafes, parks and bushwalks? Do you require a helper?
- Diarise it. Mark it in your diary, notebook, smartphone, calendar….whatever. This is not just/only a start date but a reminder that you can do this.
With much smaller chunks in my ‘to do’ list, and a planned date / time it will occur, I’m less likely to conveniently forget. AND You don’t have to wait until Jan 1. Do it now.
Can you remember last year’s resolution? Did you achieve your goal? Leave a comment below!! I’m willing to bet the Key Lime Pie in front of me that you did not. So what have you got to lose? Not your memory this time.