RSS Feed

Quick! It’s New Year, Your Only Chance to Make a Change!

Sweet Old Lady

“This is the year I take up mountain climbing, front a Death Metal band, invent toffee and become a man.”

I’m not sure if you noticed, but as recently as just yesterday, the date changed. This phenomenon happens every single day, thanks to the Earth’s orbit around The Sun (the stellar body, not the paper, contrary to their belief) and a concept known as The Gregorian Calendar. Oddly enough, this doesn’t seem to cause much rumpus at 15:09 on March the 9th or at 22:48 on November the 17th, but at midnight on December the 31st, the majority of the world goes into a small frenzy, drinking in, not just Champagne, but the magic and wonder of all that could be possible in the coming 12 months, that clearly was not possible in the same amount of human-constructed units just gone by.

This New Year‘s Eve and all of New Year’s Day, people across the land will have been declaring heart and liver felt resolutions, in the belief that because the number they write at the top of their letters will be hastily deleted and retyped with a 13 at the end instead of a 12, that wishes will be granted and that hoping for a better self, they shall be blessed with one within 365 magical days. Well, listen up chumps, wishes are for Disney princesses and magic is for LSD trips. You, only you, can make things happen and guess what? You don’t need a new calendar to do it.

So, you want to learn Spanish. What stopped you from doing it in September? You want to lose weight? Then put down that burger and walk to work in March. You want to be nicer to people? I’m pretty sure you could have started doing that on any Thursday in June! If you want to be a better person with a more fulfilled life and perkier bottom, you could make changes at any time of day, any day of the week in any given month – January the 1st is not the only day you’re allowed to admit that your job sucks more than a hooker on double time and that your list of hobbies stops at digging your undercrackers out of your posterior.

The road to Hell (and an over-priced gym) is paved with good intentions, and saving up all your hopes and ambitions for the first day of the calendar year leads to The Valley of Guilt and Disappointment. If you strike while your “quit smoking” iron is hot in August, you may actually stand a chance of succeeding, instead of attempting to tackle it along with over-ambitious promises to drop 3 dress sizes, explore the Inca Trail, write a novel and going tee total, all at the same time. Any one of those things is enough to result in a small mental breakdown, and yet a few popping Champagne corks and choruses of Auld Lang Syne have us convinced this can all be done by teatime, with time and energy enough to take up rally driving and produce/direct/star in a one-man performance of Shakespeare‘s entire works.

Bravo to those of you deluded enough to attempt multiple major life changes in January, I take my hat off to you. I also use that hat to hide my smug, sniggering face in February, when you come crashing down to reality with a splat, to wallow in the guilt and self pity of failure. If only you’d paced yourselves and attempted to improve your existence as life trotted along, you wouldn’t be one of hundreds of thousands with packets of unused nicotine patches and stern letters from the gym, reminding you that you may as well show up more than once this year as they’re going to pillage your bank account many, many times over.

New Year’s Resolutions are a marketing person’s wet dream. Think about it – you have millions of people, all jumping on the ‘magic date’ bandwagon and they need promises of fulfillment for their starry-eyed wishes. How convenient then, that you happen to have just the thing that will solve all their problems, only, they have to sign up for a minimum of 12 magic (expensive) months. Well, seeing as they really are determined to do it and 12 magic months is, strangely enough, exactly how long they’re giving this miracle to work, how fortuitous for all concerned?! Quick! Buy now before it’s too late and you’re forced to spend another year as a fat, boring, underpaid, sofa-dwelling blob!

Hang on, can’t you get these same deals, steals and chemical peels the rest of the year? You can? Oh.

I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions a long time ago. Actually, my last New Year’s Resolution was to stop making New Year’s Resolutions (that’s a head twisting paradox right there, if you’d care to think about it. I don’t.). I wanted to start a blog; I started it one August. I wanted to take up yoga; I took it up one random day in June. I once decided to take dance classes and that happened in the very same week one September. All these things were achieved, adhered to and enjoyed, not because I wished for them on the 1st of January, but because I spend (almost) every day of every year doing the things I want to, in order to make my life better, and also because I know to pick my battles. A month of sobriety when I have at least 2 birthday parties to attend? I don’t think so. Be “nicer” to people? Where’s the fun in that?!

This January, by all means think nice thoughts and wish nice wishes, but why not stick two fingers up to the ad men and shun the January rush to the treadmill. From now on, make any day the day that you reflect on a year gone by and as soon as you have the notion to do something great with your life, seize it! You don’t have to wait for the popping of corks or the 12 chimes of Big Ben to be a better you.


About prettyfeetpoptoe

I live in London and have both my own legs so I am fortunate enough to get out and about on occasion. I form many views on the things that I see and do and love nothing better than a session of linguistic gymnastics in order to share these views.

32 responses »

  1. You are so right! I don’t understand what the frenzy is, when last year and this one are only one day apart. So how is anybody resolving to change their lives in the course of one day?

    • It’s ok though, when they fail to drop half their body weight by the first week of January, they can always look forward to the Chinese New Year. Another New Year, another new you!

  2. This is awesome. I couldn’t agree more.

  3. I’m always nice to people, I’m pretty much tee total, I don’t smoke, or do drugs and I only do Ben and Jerrys recreationally. My new years resolution for 2013 is to change my surname and maybe not eat quite as much! Pfffft who am I kidding?!

  4. Yes – as an astrologer ( not the newspaper trivia kind, by the way….) I go by planetary cycles. The Planet Pluto ( yes, I know it was recently demoted, let’s have that argument another time) takes 248 years to complete its orbit round the Sun. Uranus conjuncts Pluto every 170 years or so – the last time, communism collapsed. The time before, Karl Marx was born. Go figure. So – the Sun returning to 10 degrees of Capricorn every 365 days does not excite me much.

    ps by the way, the planet Saturn returns to its natal place in your horoscope ( and mine, and everyone else’s) every 29-30 years. The Saturn Return. Now THAT’s a good time to make life-changing resolutions….

    Happy New Year – and keep going with this great blog. It’s my second favourite!

    • This is one of the rare times that second is as good as winning. Thanks and Happy New Year to you (seems a bit late to say that now but flu has been messing with my calendar).

  5. Missy Amber

    I have recently made a resolution to reduce my considerable bulk, as my “baby weight” seems to be increasing in line with the size of my child. Who is now 2 and a half.
    This is nowt to do with new year, but rather more influenced by my unsuccessful foray into the post Christmas sales. To borrow a turn of phrase from the sainted Stephen Fry, the Debenams mirrors presented me with a view of a bin bag full of custard. I shall henceforth abstain from eating custard.
    But not until after I’ve had me second Christmas with the in laws this weekend, natch.

  6. I agree. I stopped making resolutions when the task of even thinking about them drew great anxiety. People put a lot of pressure on themselves at New Year’s and for what? What you’re saying is true: positive changes can be made any day of the year. Great post.

  7. I agree- that’s why if I want to do something because I think it will make my life better/me happier/help others, I will do it. Any day of the year- including January 1 😉 I still make resolutions. It’s just a tool/moment to sum up the things I want to achieve, to remind me of the goals I have, to reflect on the previous year and just a quick check whether I’m on the right track. I do it in the summer as well.

  8. Most people are going to laugh at your humorous post and walk off missing the fact that is it so very true!!!
    My list of resolutions this year was to write my story for January, keep doing my posts on a daily basis, and try to keep the house clean now that it is.
    I think those may even go along with your ideas.

  9. Ahahaha my sides hurt. So many great lines. “Well, listen up chumps, wishes are for Disney princesses and magic is for LSD trips.” I may just memorize that. “New Year’s Resolutions are a marketing person’s wet dream.” Not only true but it just sounds so good with a bit of cynicism dripping off the tongue. And I like your point. I wrote about the same thing (only with an unfortunately much smaller quantity of humor and focus) in my first post of the new year.

  10. We are so on the same wavelength. New Year’s resolutions are just an excuse where, for a brief period of time, you can feel less shitty about yourself because “you’ve resolved to change!”
    It never pans out. Changing is so much easier than everyone realizes, when you stop making excuses not to.

    • That last part is so particularly true. Scientists have found that 98% of people’s failure to change comes from making lame excuses.

      (I may have made that up)

  11. Liver-felt resolutions are *so* much more effective with a curmudgeonly attitude.

  12. I think I go through at least five big new ‘resolutions’ throughout the year! Let alone at the beginning of one! Far too impulsive!

  13. Couldn’t agree with you more! Doubly so, because here in Australia January is smack bang in the middle of summer and therefore, party season. What a dull time it would be to stop drinking, flirting shamelessly with boys, buying unnecessary shoes.

    Saying that, as one of the ‘ad (wo)men’ my industry does encourage people’s stupidity on this matter…

    • The New Year’s Resolution would die a death in the UK if we had Australian summers, seeing as most of our resolutions are based on trying to get our bodies in a suitable state for our summer, so we have plenty of time as that occurs every 2-3 years.

  14. I accidentally quit smoking at the beginning of December, I guess I’m a huge failure. I guess it wasn’t so much that I quit – I just had the last one from my pack and got bored and figured I was done with that. I had a few at NYE because my friend had some and wanted me to smoke with her, but then I haven’t smoked again. I have noticed a lot more people in yoga since January 1st, which is slightly irritating, not that I don’t think people should exercise but when the classes get over crowded so that you can barely move and they are all just conveniently coming right after January 1st but the classes were tiny all through December what does that look like? Mind you, I did have a bit of fun this year with the resolutions – a guy at the convenience store asked me what my resolution was going to be and I told him that I really wanted to start recycling more – he seemed very disappointed in that answer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: