Every year, the same event takes place. You wake up on the first of the year, having had a great but not up-to-your-expectations evening, filled with resolve. This year will be the year, you think. Everything will be different and better and nothing can bring you down. Well, that is, until the realization sets in that none of your resolutions are going to come true. New Years has seduced your hope glands, and left you wanting.
But you don’t have to succumb to the same trap year in, year out. This year can actually be different. All you have to do is follow one little three-word suggestion:
Lower your expectations.
Now I know what you’re thinking. And no, I’m not a sadness filled recluse with little hope left. Quite the opposite. However, I understand the tricky ruse that is New Years, and know how to defeat such shadowy machinations. New Years resolutions thrive on an overabundance of misplaced hope; the drugged giddiness of the holiday makes you foist grand plans upon your future. All you have to do is fill your celebration syringe with healthy, non-depressive realism.
Usually, we have a set of resolutions, a big jazz standard everyone knows the first notes to. Here’s what they are and how to escape their faux-merry clutches:
December’s a terrible month for fitness. It’s cold and there’s leftover turkey everywhere. So what do you do? You resolve to get a gym membership and get fit, because obviously beach weather bodies are worth indescribable muscle pain. But the gym is expensive, your schedule doesn’t compute, so finally, defeated, you think, “Next year, you guys, next year.” To counteract this cycle, don’t buy that membership to begin with. Your body is less gross than you think–thanks, American expectations of attractiveness–and if you take a few weeks to formulate a workout plan, you’ll avoid the misguided excitement. Take it slow, friendly chubbos.
Every year, we think we’re going to kick that bad habit, like smoking, chewing your fingernails, watching reruns of Scrubs, etc. But if we fixate on breaking the habit, it’ll appear to us like an even more tantalizing activity, especially with the New Years pressure. So give yourself a reasonable goal, like, a little bit less of this a day or week. It’s the slow burn of progress; rushing never works. Small rewards work too, or getting someone to whip you a little.
Because it’s New Years and we’re spending a ton of cash on expensive drinks, we resolve to make more money in the year to come. Because money is the golden key to happiness. Really, don’t bother with this resolution. More money, more problems, as the illustrious Notorious B.I.G. said. So right, B.I.G., so very right.
Now here’s a resolution I can get behind. Most people don’t travel or adventure nearly enough, and that’s a problem. But New Years can give you lofty aspirations, more than your vacation time can handle (not to mention that budget you want to augment). The New Years high will tell you that going to Tokyo then Sri Lanka then Marrakech is a totally viable option, but don’t get your planning pants on till you are in a reasonable state of mind. Disappointment can get under your skin, even if it’s reasonably tanned from your second choice of beach.
Again, I’m in favor of eating healthier, but a New Years diet plan will only make you hate yourself a lot. Cakes, cupcakes, donuts, pulled pork sandwiches, bacon cheeseburgers, mac and cheese, and mince pies (that’s right, UK, I didn’t forget about you) are everywhere, and constantly trying to keep a diet inspired by New Years will only fill you with granola flavored disdain. Add in healthy options where you can, but don’t wreak havoc on your very identity trying to match the diets of online health gurus (because nutritionists are expensive).
We all say we’re going to recycle, and we never do, and the planet is going to die because of it. So, really, no excuses or partial plans. This one’s a must, or this New Years may just be our last. Nothing like a good ol’ fashioned apocalypse to spur real change. Happy New Years, you souls of the future dead, Happy New Years.