Friday, January 21, 2011

Is it Still the New Year?

I wrote this article for the Galway Now Magazine at the start of the year. I thought I'd put it up now that the month is coming to a near end, just to see how everyone is getting on with their resolutions...
It’s the New Year, and I’ve been thinking about resolutions. Luckily, this year I’ve only been thinking about them and not making them. It’s because I’ve realised that not only do I never keep them but that in making them I’m just setting myself up to fail in the first place. Let’s face it, I’ve proven more than once that I can’t stick to a diet, give up alcohol or go to the gym consistently, so why the hell do we all seem to believe that just because it’s January we are all going to set out on the path to a whole new lifestyle? Come on, it’s like, brrr… January: the bleakest month of the year with regards to both weather and finances and we’re still only getting over the guilt of having spent most of December eating, drinking and spending recklessly. Still, everyone else seems to make them, so I normally just tag along by picking out a few of my favourite guilty pleasures and pretending to myself that I’m going to give them up forever. Luckily though, everyone else soon start to break their resolutions, so I tag along with that too and feel good about reverting back to wine instead of herbal tea and watching telly instead of being a middle aged fatty on the treadmill surrounded by skinny young things who feel good when they look at me.

After all, most resolutions are not about what we want to do, rather we tend to set ourselves up with what we think we should do, or what we know other people would like us to do. It doesn’t take long before we get fed up with trying to square a circle, well at least I do, and the good thing about those resolutions is that about two weeks into them it’s the middle of January and I’ve usually run out of heating oil and don’t find the frosty winter landscape one bit romantic when I’m trying to cross the city on ice at two miles per hour. So what else can a body do other than revert to the comforting pleasures of fish and chips, sweet treats and a few hot whiskies?

Studies show that about half of all New Year’s resolutions don’t make it past the first two weeks of January, so my advice is this: just forget it, the timing is all wrong. You’re trying to get over Christmas, you already have enough to feel guilty about and summer is half a year away.

So rather than making New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve decided to go for a New Year’s no change plan. We’ve had enough cutbacks, so I’ve come up with a few things not to change. These days all of the self help books and life coaching gurus tell us to embrace ourselves as we are and I’m going to do just that. No changes. So I won’t be becoming a more polite driver who doesn’t shout obscenities at bus drivers and cyclists and I will continue to throw hissy fits at checkout attendants in the supermarket for overcharging me before realising that the discount has actually been amended at the end of the bill. I will then continue encountering the walk of shame out of the shop whilst muttering under my breath that we’re all being ripped off anyway. Luckily, I can still eat and drink as if every day were the last supper because in my head I’ll be convincing myself that because next week or some other vague time in the future I’ll be starting a diet, now is the time to pig out. And not only will I not feel guilty, I’ll embrace all that and give myself a pat on the back for being myself, because after all, if I’m being myself, surely I’ve reached the goal that we all want to reach by embracing who I am, and being the real me; the only person I can ever be.

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