I don't think I've ever made a New Years Resolution I've stuck too, and I think it's all down to the way in which I make them: who I listen to, when I make them, how much time I take to develop them et al. Well no longer! I will achieve something this year! To help you along your merry way to self-fulfillment (whatever that may be but if it has anything to do with 'quitting smoking', 'getting the perfect body' or 'finding the perfect partner' colour me cliched) I enlisted a couple of our writers to compile lists of what they believe one should take into consideration when compiling their New Years Resolutions. Do: set realistic expectations. Don't: read Cosmopolitan Magazine, seems to be the crux. The beautiful photographic series interspersed throughout this post is by Greta van der Star, from her summer holidays.
Check them out:
Stay away from magazine antichrists such as Cleo, Cosmo, [insert fodder magazine here] that prey on new year resolution mania and all your darkest fears. Because lets face it, they are totally going help you create a new you that is like amazing with super glossy hair and 10 kgs skinnier! Yay!
Realise New Years is a golden time, the sun is out, you're with friends and family, there is copious of amounts of food, alcohol, parties, romance and sand in forbidden places. Enjoy and relax. You are way more likely to figure what you want out of the year while languidly laying in the sun rather than grimacing over an A4 sheet, writing furiously, snapping pencils and yelling random angry words of frustration.
New Years resolutions don't have to be about all the things you need to improve. What bands do you want to see this year? What food do you want to try? Where do you want to travel? Wish lists are nice.
Remind yourself of all the amazing things in your life. You can make things easier for yourself and you'll be clearer about your goals if you remember this.
It's never going to be the perfect year. As soon as things go a little off the rails it shouldn't be time to abandon the resolutions. Also, resolutions can be made at anytime for any reason. I quit smoking on February 14th. I have no idea why, I just did. It was time. You don't have to start on 01/01. Most of us spend New Years day a slurry mess tentatively sipping on non alcoholic beverages, cowering in the shade.
Ruts are hard. But remember, inspiration and possibilities are everywhere, all the time, always.
Don't publicly announce your resolutions. Once you've achieved them you're welcome to tell everyone, not before.
A bad start to a new year means nothing. I spent New Years riding around with a deranged tuk tuk driver, encountering flash floods, losing my friends and then scrambling to the airport at 4am. It was a disaster. 2011 is going to be great.
Don't be ridiculous. Don't say 'this year I am going to earn $2 million. I am going to meet J.K Rowling. I am going to convert J.K Rowling into a lesbian. I am going to steal her ideas and win the Booker prize. I am going spend my $2 million on a cruise liner and name it 'the Rowling.'
Okay actually you can make a list like that because they are kind of fun. Just know it won't happen. Well, it might, but probably not.
- Rejection and failure is inevitable but if you plan, try and perserve resolutions are yours for the taking.
Consider keeping it realistic:
When it's 11.59pm and you're wrapped up in the sweet, fuzzy embrace ofyour substance of choice you'll be thinking that anything is possible. It's not. Come the morning you WILL want a cigarette, you'll sure as hell need KFC and you'll remember that your work schedule/general financial situation prohibits you from attempting 524 of Julia Child's recipes in 365 days. Be kind to yourself and keep it easy. An example: rather than give up drinking altogether, a friend of mine is instead going to see through 2011 without one hungover-piece-of-shit day - they can still drink, just not to excess. I, meanwhile, have at least expressed an interest in quitting smoking (along the line of "wow, $14.30??!!, I should really think of stopping this... one day"). See? Baby steps, baby steps.
Consider keeping it quiet:
I've already broken this rule through my explanation of rule #1 buuuuut; keep your resolutions to yourself. A: because listening to other people talk about their proposed life improvements is really fucking boring and B: you'll only come to regret those loose lips when your "friend' side-eyes your lunch choice and casually asks how "that New Years resolution is coming along". Bitch.
Consider joining a gym:
Then just don't do it. Congrats, you've just saved yourself upwards of $1000 and thus fulfilled any resolutions geared toward saving money.
Consider getting creative:
"Lose weight", "get fit", "travel", "learn a language" - snore, snore, snore. Instead of coming up with the same idea (and failing) every year, think of something fun and again (I can't stress this enough) piss easy like, "this year, I will build a fort out bedding at least once", "I will learn to imitate the sound of at least five common animals" or "I will invent and make my own flavour of ice cream". All of these things are fun/cheap and will take a day max to achieve so come April, when everyone else is having a wah about how hard it is to stick to their yawny resolution you can be like, "oh, that. Yeah, I fulfilled mine back in January". And BAM - cheap but satisfying sense of smugness.
Consider writing a letter to your future self:
And then remember what a stupid, embarrassing idea that is.
Konsider the Kardashians:
And make a resolution to stop fucking watching their stupid show or anything to do with them. The sooner we pretend they don't exist, the sooner this reality will be ours (this rule can be applied to the derision-beckoning subject of your choice)
Consider how you felt on New Years Day:
And accept with the fact that you are probably just starting the year as you intend to see it through and end it - hungover at Great North Rd McDonalds and having a comedown cry about your gross house and shitty job. Be at peace with this.
If your resolution is going to make you an insufferable asshole that everyone hates (the kind of person who writes status updates like “wow, I wish all my friends realised how much fun travelling is!” - my own brother did this and I did not answer his call on Christmas day) then consider not doing it. Or, be prepared for a very lonely year.
Consider not making a resolution at all:
Can you hear that sound? It’s the rubbing palms of millions of gym owners, diet companies and self-help gurus, aka, the only people who really benefit from New Years Resolutions. Just be happy and take each day as it comes.
DO take into consideration:
Friends: who know you well enough to understand what you will and will not achieve, and whom you spend enough time with that their subtle mind-prodding might help you achieve.
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: and his song ‘New Years Kiss’. So even if you did something akin to the drunken self-depricating behaviour the protagonist in this song did you know A) you’re not alone and B) something really quite lovely could come from your totally shit actions. Listen to this track and get scribbling heartfelt black inked ditties in that Moleskine of yours.
The Chinese: because even if in the next three weeks you slip up on New Years Resolution maintenance, you have until February 3rd, the official day of Chinese New Years to properly nut out your goals.
Personalized Plates: because these are the lowest common denominator of upwardly mobile Westerners and thus, you can navigate 2011 (and its streets) knowing that no matter how lacklustre your Resolution attempts are you can never fail as heavily as people who dress up their vehicles with “witty”, sexualized innuendo.
Writer Andy Borowitz: and his brief but revalotory account of why he did not achieve he failed to attain his goals in 2004.
The fact that almost every argument made here is less about attempting to successfully achieve New Years Resolutions and more about removing guilt when one fails is not lost on me, and I feel extremely apprehensive about my A) relationship to New Years Resolutions more generally – why do I hate them so much! and B) my ability to achieve them in 2011, but alas, let's continue:
DO NOT take into consideration:
- Cosmopolitan or Cleo magazines: and their horrid, idealized and poorly written diatribes that include, but are not limited to A. getting your dream body B. getting your dream job C. getting your dream man EVERY SINGLE YEAR. Ladies, maybe a culminative New Years Resolution should be to stop buying magazines like this so that the female writers who purport these ideas loose their jobs and drown in a sea of single, sexless, self loathing.
2.U2: and their song 'New Years Day' because even though it was included in the Pitchfork 500 (if you needed a yardstick for credibility) and even though it is about the Polish Solidarity Movement which was an honourable cause, the world would be signicantly better off without what A. Bono’s sunglasses have done to fashion tastes and preferances and B. what his vocals have done for the proliferation of emotionally charged rock music. Furthermore celebrities in politics is a bad scene and as a poster child for this movement Bono has a lot to answer for.
The Mayans because if the world only has one more New Years left in it, shit’s bleak.
Facebook. And in fact, this transcends 'Considerations' and should become a Resolution. I just removed my wall and am now not one of those people I despise; someone who constantly posts inane updates and refreshes their page eagerly awaiting comment. You can do it! Possibly one of the more difficult resolutions, but SO satisfying.
Anyone who has ever treated you badly. And in fact, another transcendental consideration. You don't need these people in your life. 200 true friends on Facebook is better than 1000 judgmental, critical acquaintances.