We have New Years resolutions for a reason. They’re a way of hitting the refresh button every year and working towards being a better, more fulfilled person. Kind of like lent, but way longer.
Unfortunately, New Years resolutions have gotten a little bit warped. Instead of actually working towards them, the universal resolution becomes “my resolution is to actually keep my resolution” which obviously doesn’t always happen.
But here’s the big secret for the majority of us: many New Years Resolutions are directly caused by New Years Eve and the holidays that precede it; and thus they’re our attempts to forgive ourselves for holiday gluttony.
Let me explain.
Getting In Shape
What We Say: I’m gonna get in awesome shape.
What It Means: It was just the holidays and I feel like a potato. Ooh, pizza!
This is the go-to resolution for sure. Because it sounds so good. Of course it’s on all our minds – we just got through with the holidays where even seeing the four sticks of butter your grandma put in that cookie recipe didn’t deter us from eating all of them.
But after a good couple of weeks of keeping it up, the real winter actually starts to set in and that trek to the gym is at least 75% of the battle. Then Valentine’s Day comes along and you eat all the chocolate and drink all the wine to fill the empty hole in your heart. And then it’s like “fuck it…fuck it all.”
On a real note, we also put this crazy pressure on ourselves to go from squishy blob to Jillian Michaels in a month. And when you consider that the whole 21 days to form a new habit thing is a pretty big underestimation, you can see it’s not an overnight change. It’s a New Years resolution – not a month.
But hey, even if (when) you fail — that motivation surge will be back in no time come spring break time.
What We Say: I’m going to save money and budget better.
What It Means: I spent so much on the holidays. So. Much.
The holidays are always an insane time, not just because it’s 24/7 family/friends activities and plans, but also because these activities ain’t free. Presents, food, alcohol, tickets to NYE shenanigans – holiday cheer is freakin’ expensive. So naturally, New Years is a good time to set the resolution restart button on your wallet as well.
Actually in a way, this is kind of foolproof. Because compared to what we all spent on the holidays, there’s literally no way you’re going to spend a holiday-level of money until next December.
What We Say: I’m going to quit smoking.
What It Means: …after I finish this pack.
This is especially true for the ‘drunk smokers’ – the people who only smoke after a night on the town. Because it often comes out of “Im going to quit smoking because on New Years I smoked so much that Santa tried to crawl down my throat thinking it was a chimney.”
In reality, this is a fantastic resolution. It’s a great way to get healthy and in turn, allow friends and family breathe a little easier in every sense of the phrase. But the new year doesn’t magically make this easy. The difficulty of quitting smoking varies from person to person, but for many it’s hard.
And if this resolution isn’t paced out and researched, you’re going to be ‘that guy’ who gets a collective groan everytime they say they’re going to quit smoking.
No More Alcohol
What We Say: I’m going to cut back on alcohol.
What It Means: I drank so much on New Years. So. Much.
This is another one that’s great but basically the resolution of any hungover person on any weekend ever. It’s often the victim of the “I’ll quit…tomorrow” mindset and could require some parallel life changes, so this is a good one to do some research on to ensure no failure.
Unless we’re talking about Fireball. In which case, let’s just all cut that shit out immediately. And tequila.
What We Say: I’m going to be less stressed.
What It Means: I’m super stressed about cutting out stress that will make me less stressed
You know that saying “same shit, different day”? This is kind of like “same shit, different year.” Just because it’s the new year, you’re still going to go back to work on Monday and jump back into the same stress pool.
You can legitimately cut down on stress, but cutting down on stress is actually an all-encapsulating resolution in disguise. If your out-of-shapeness, heavy spending and drinking habits stress you out, trying to cut all of them at once is going to, well, stress you the f*** out.
So there you have it. While this may sound cynical, it’s all in good fun. I’m not saying these are all things you should wait on or not even try with, but rather the opposite.
Just don’t do it in a way that is going to fail. Do your research and don’t pressure yourself to see changes in a week – changes that improve you for life usually don’t happen overnight. The new year lasts roughly a year, so pace yourself.
And maybe you’ll actually make life changes that last more than the two days of post-NYE regret.