New Year Resolutions should begin at the stroke of midnight, 1st January. Not 24 hours in, or 48 or 168. They should begin immediately, otherwise they won’t be taken seriously. Reneging on resolutions within the first ten minutes of the year doesn’t bode well for the rest of it.
Which is why I make only one resolution and in doing so set myself on a pathway to success . I resolve to unresolve. An auspicious start to any year is guaranteed! The absence of imaginary rules means they can’t be broken, therefore the first thing I do in January is not feel bad. Surely such positive beginnings can only continue?
Maybe it sounds like a cop-out. Well, I’ve lived with myself for 32 years and I know perfectly well that however I dress up Resolutions as a positive step towards self-improvement, ultimately they will be treated as unwelcome fetters limiting my freedom and personal choice-making. How dare I suggest I need rules to deal with…myself? Immediately I will stage a coup, rebel and systematically break every resolution as soon as it’s made. By knowing this and making none, I act as mental UN Peace Keeper and quell the uprising before it’s begun.
A fairly typical blueprint for my Hogmanay goes something like this:
A confident approach to intoxication (or recklessness, depending on your outlook) will lead to an insatiable and all-encompassing love of smoking. Both pursuits require financial speculation and I will invest wholeheartedly. Dancing will surely result, as will the inescapable by-product of loss of dignity. The next day I will only get out of bed to answer the door to the pizza delivery man.
So, 2013 was welcomed in from my friend’s local boozer. Filled with a brutally honest cross-section of society – teenagers, students, geezers, alcoholics with broken dreams, women with questionable shoulder-tattoos, a man in an Elvis suit, and us – it was so far from the televised, Jackie-Bird-led fakery of the tourist-filled city centre that for our purposes it was perfect. The bar was an open goal, the astronomical ratcheting up of drink prices was not endorsed and the “dance floor” was suspiciously accepting of our attempts to recreate Wigan Casino.
In amongst that kaleidoscope of revelry, when was it appropriate to stop drinking / give up smoking / be more financially astute / be less musically enthusiastic / lose weight? When should I have refused drinks, stood still and preached health? My resolutions would have be thrown to the lions by the end of the first day.
But thanks to not making any, the welcoming arms of 1st January 2013 wrapped themselves around me like a familiar stranger, promised me the world, and with “nothing behind me, everything ahead of me” * it sure looked good to me.
The truth is, I like lager, and red wine, and now and again that alcoholic ginger beer that’s ‘in’ at the moment. I like smoking rollies when I take the notion. I like that my husband, friends and I physically endorse good tunes in spite of the potential for our behaviour to be reported back to Facebook, Twitter or whatever invasive eye-in-the-sky social media site everyone’s using these days. And I can still fit into clothes I wore ten years ago despite my love of food (I”m female therefore I’m meant to care).
I don’t need to modify these things because they’re not what I do all day, every day. Just as they’re not what most people do all day, every day. (Those who do need help far and beyond that offered by a paltry New Year’s Resolution.)
So come on, People! Shun those unnecessary rules. Trust yourself. Resolve to Unresolve! Be free, have fun and then, when you’re called upon in 2013 to make a decision, it will be an informed choice rather than a guilt-inspired rule, and your choice will be the right one. Until then. feel good about yourself and about 2013, because without those cursed resolutions it’s guaranteed to be a success.
* Jack Kerouac ‘On the Road’