The new year began with a whimper and not a bang. A colossal hangover started stormily brooding in my cerebral cortex when I lost at Kings. I drew the final card and was forced to down a concoction of beer, Jaegermeister and ‘other’. It wasn’t a hangover at the time of course, but a few hours later as the sun stabbed my eyes and some fool banged a bongo drum in my head, all I could think was ‘Why?!?’. The reason, of course, is that I never learn. And that’s the same reason I’m making New Year’s resolutions again this year.
Rumour has it the world is ending. 21 March 2011, to be specific (the Mayans say 2012 but po-tay-to po-tah-to). I’m not sure why, or how (haven’t read the mail) but just the fact that it’s possible makes me wonder – why bother with all the guilt? I mean, resolutions. Why bother with all the resolutions. After all, resolutions are about long term gain and eventual happiness, right? You’re going to exercise this year so you’re healthy, fit and thin (the ‘sexy’ part of Mission Succexy for me); but if we’re all dying in March? I’d like a Bar One please (it offers a 25-hour day after all. That’s an extra hour alive. Don’t knock the power of chocolate).
It’s not like we’re going to succeed at our New Year’s resolutions – as an article published on Psychology Today very kindly and very dishearteningly pointed out. Our annual goals are “a way of motivating ourselves” (no duh, genius. How long did you study to work that one out?). The author writes: “You may think that if you lose weight, or reduce your debts, or exercise more, your entire life will change, and when it doesn’t, you may get discouraged and then revert back to old behaviours.”
What I learnt from this article is to expect the minimum from myself, and to set realistic resolutions. Another point: as David McRaney writes in his blog (and it’s a damn good blog too) “When you’re planning ahead, your better angels point to nourishing choices, but in the moment you go for what tastes good.” That, dear readers, is called Present Bias. “Present bias is why you’ve made the same resolution for the tenth year in a row, but this time you mean it,” continues McRaney.
So, when I took out my new, shiny diary, clicked my pen and scrawled NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS 2011, I realised with an internal organ shiver that my goals were pretty much the same as last year. Mission Succexy (success + sexy) was still on full throttle! Success is still out of my grasp (though I can see it, sometimes, glimmering on the horizon – if I may use a Harry Potter analogy, like the Golden Snitch: present but elusive). I’m still working on the ‘sexy’ part, too. I do not look like this quite yet:
but rather like this:
Don’t get me wrong, 2010 was both wonderful and awful, fun and dreadful; and I did actually reach some of last year’s goals during the course of the year (high five, me!) I was despondent to see 2009 leave but had mixed emotions about the end of 2010. My life was shaken like a snowglobe at the end of the year, and I’m still not certain how the pieces will settle.
But in another way, 2011 is depressingly the same as last year. Normally a new year means new classes, new teachers, new subjects. But as a grown-up a new year means… the same deadlines, the same work, the same desk. And the same goals.
Well not this year, dammit. It’s a new decade! If that doesn’t mean new, new resolutions (realistic ones) I don’t know what does.
So here goes:
1. I will drink at LEAST one cup of coffee six days a week.
2. I’ll save money by self-diagnosing on WebMD (will a placebo work for a hypochondriac?)
3. In the same vein, I will stop resisting opportunities to make money. As the (very real) ads below indicate, the internet is simply littered with them. Only a fool wouldn’t sell their dreams. A fool!
4. I’ll allow people to buy me fancy, shiny presents (to all my friends reading this, if fear of me rejecting your gift was what kept you back, fear no longer!)
5. I WILL make a cake-in-a-mug.
6. I’ll continue not smoking (check!).
7. I will, often and regularly, fall asleep with my make-up on.
8. Gymming will be an irregular occurrence.
9. I’ll nap when the mood takes me (note to self: bring a pillow to work).
10. I’ll embarrass my brothers by oversharing regularly in public; about both my and their lives.
This decade may have started with a whimper, but it’s going to end with a… hang on, how does the line go? Well, like that. Happy New Year.