Do New Years Resolutions Ever Work?

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In previous years I’ve made New Year resolutions and they’ve not even lasted a week. Each time it has happened though I’ve used the experience to hone my resolution-making skills for the following year. For example, the first resolutions I ever made included 1. Irrigate the desert, 2 Solve the Middle East problem and 3.Moisturise every morning. I now realise that those resolutions were far too ambitious; there’s no way I was ever going to moisturise, for God’s sake!

The next year I tried to make my resolutions more achievable; 1. Eat a bit healthier, 2. Get a bit fitter, 3. Moisturise once a month. By February, I had plummeted into a deep pit of stinking, vomit-inducing, shit-smearing depression. I sat in front of the TV from March until November; didn’t even switch it on till August. This had happened because the resolutions had been too vague, mundane and uninspiring this time round.

Year 3; I deliberately made my resolutions much more lofty and inspiring. 1. Say one nice thing to everyone you meet every day, 2. Smiling makes you feel better and everyone around you feel better so smile, smile, smile, 3. Moisturise!  I still struggled however. Saying something nice to everyone I met proved to be tricky as I regularly associate with daleks, Dracula Prince of Darkness and Nigel Farage. Also, I found it a strain to have to smile whilst unconscious (ie- while asleep or at work).

Consequently, the year after, I tried to be a lot more realistic and down to earth when setting resolutions. My list read; 1. Use cockney rhyming slang whilst simultaneously replicating the voice of Ray Winstone, 2. Pronounce ‘th..’ as ‘ff..’ as in ‘I ffort you ffort I was ffinking I ffort you was ffick!’ 3. Ffarcking moisturise you ffarking nonce!

None of these resolutions worked and maybe we have to face the notion that the whole idea of just deciding to change something about yourself on some arbitrary day of the year is always going to be doomed to failure. Changing habits is one of the hardest things we can ever aspire to do. It takes planning, persistence, repetition and support. Even the simplest of habits can be so ingrained that it takes a lot of shifting. You can’t just decide to change it and then expect it to automatically change overnight. The real danger in making New Year resolutions is that the inevitable failure to stick to them can make you feel inadequate, hopeless and depressed. Then, change is even less likely than ever. So what should we do instead of making resolutions? Ah… well… haven’t figured that out yet. Definitely going to figure it out this year though. It’s one of my resolutions.

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