January. A time of reflection. A time when people stare back at the previous year’s achievements or lack thereof, and, with a heavy sigh and a glare at the weighing scales, sit down at the writing table, suck at a pencil and write their annual list of resolutions.
These resolutions tend to be structured on delivering to the individual the triumvirate of self-actualisation: Health, Wealth and Happiness. Unachievable goals concentrated around self-improvement and good living. Hence dreams of a lean, toned body dissolving in a pile of Creme Egg wrappers, adult education courses that result in nothing more than a scant knowledge of basic tourist Spanish and a January ending in liver failure and paranoia.
Want to banish such feelings from sneaking up on you ever again? Want to bounce out of bed on January 1st* (before collapsing in a heap on the floor as you are so battered from the night before that you still can’t feel your legs)? *bouncing is at user’s own risk; author accepts no liability for accidents that might happen.
If so, then read on to this handy 5-step guide for ensuring that your lack of self-control is managed in such a way to absolve you of all guilt, and can in some cases, deliver a sense of self-righteousness and piety.
Firstly, Consider Why You Are Making Resolutions
Is it because you actually want to make any difference to your life? No! You’re presumably pretty happy with the status quo (unless, of course, you are in Status Quo, in which case, you may well be suffering from repetitive strain injury) and have no need to change anything. Resolutions, at their heart, are done for other people. They are done to impress people, to make others believe that you have strength of character to break a bad habit, make a new one or just finally give up smoking.
Once you realise this, suddenly everything falls into place, which takes you to Step Two...
Manage People's Perception Of Your Resolutions
Tell some people you’ve given up boozing, and then when you do see them, just do something else instead. But you must restrict such a story to only a select group of people. This must not get out - the more people that hear about it, the fewer people you can drink with. Got people in your life you want to ditch? A simple pilates class with irregular class times will absolve your guilt. On the other hand, that upholstery course (simply ratified by a quick trip to Ikea) can quite easily free up your Thursday nights for sessions on the sofa in a onesie, gorging on pizza. Starting to sound complicated, isn’t it? What I am saying is that for this technique to properly succeed, you need to apply the third step...
Remember Your Lies
To make this work properly, you must not get found out. What if you forget who thinks you are studying Chinese? What if you get caught out having a cheeky pint one Monday night? Suddenly, the whole web of conspiracy and deceit is undone, and you get the same sense of shame that you would normally. Fortunately, help is at hand. The digital revolution has brought much with it to aid those who are trying to subvert the course of the respectable and this situation is no different. Have a look on the app store, there is almost certainly something in there that will enable you to remember who thinks you’ve quit fags, who thinks you’re on a diet and who thinks you’re on the wagon.
Don't Act Too Piously
So there you are with your friend who has pushed themselves too far; withdrawn, pale, shivering. It’s January 14th. They haven’t had a drop in a fortnight. They look at you: strong, fighting fit, and yet you too have been through this hell. How have you done it? Don’t start referencing finding Jesus, as no one’s going to believe that (Scientologists, possibly), but use phrases like “self-control” and “will power”. People will look at you with new levels of respect and admiration. And surprise.
Finally, Enjoy It
After 12 months of not altering your behaviour in any way whatsoever, come December 31st, you will feel a great sense of pride. You have set out everything you wanted to achieve! You did it! You didn’t give up smoking, you stayed exactly the same weight you would have done but didn’t endure the faddy diet and sporadic exercise. You carried on getting pissed and made new friends! All’s right with the world, Happy New Year!