What exactly is new, and when does it stop becoming new? I’d say that depends on the item under question, and how long it can be used. If it’s a soda that’d go flat after the first few minutes of opening the bottle, it could only be called new until you open the cap. If it’s a Japanese car that’s slated to last for the next 25 years with proper maintenance, I’d still call it new if it is in its third year. If the car is from General Motors, then I’d call it new if it hasn’t been recalled by the company yet.
So for something that is perfectly usable for 365 days, I find it wasteful that we only call the year new for the first day of the year. Hey, we’re only in the second week of 52 perfectly usable weeks, and I say the year is still new. Noting that we haven’t really done much with it so far, I’ll go so far as to say it’s in pristine condition – almost brand new. I think that’s enough justification for why I’m writing a piece on resolutions now, and not two weeks ago, like any deadline conscious, non lazy blogger would have.
So yeah, making resolutions is essentially one of the staple, stereotypical customs associated with a new year. It is estimated that almost 40-50% of people make new year’s resolutions, making it THE most common time honored tradition around a new year. The second most common tradition, equally time honored, is breaking new years resolutions.
Breaking new year’s resolutions is so common (reportedly, 92% of people who make them, break them) that very few people nowadays expect resolutions to stand beyond the first two weeks. Statistically speaking, you’re more likely to have broken your 2015 resolutions already than to have taken down your Christmas decorations. The simplest remedy, of course, is to just stop making resolutions at all. Traditions schmaditions.
But then the nagging voice inside me spoke out, “Hamish, you are just being defeatist. Don’t let the world guide you. So what if statistics show it’s a futile attempt? Just turn it around on it’s head.” So that’s what I’m doing now – turning it around on its head; I’m going to break the resolutions first, and make them up afterwards.
So how does that work? I’m potentially subscribed to all the resolutions made around the world, plus a few that nobody in their right mind would make, and they would count as resolutions only when I break them. So that’s it. I’m set. The upside is that I’m already way ahead of most people. Of the umpteen billion jillion resolutions I COULD have broken so far, I still have tons of unbroken ones left. And I will have plenty to last me through the year.
On the flip side, some of the resolutions I’ve broken so far cover the most popular new years resolution items for most folks. Resolutions such as –
1. I Will Exercise More
The question is… more than what? If it were something like “I will exercise more than Garfield, the cat”, I think I would have that covered. But if it is meant as a call to arms in favor of exercise, then, well… The fact is that the most exercise I get is the chewing motion of my mouth when I eat my food, the only games I play are on my phone, and the only muscles I flex are those on my thumb when I flip through the TV channels.
My wife, the Indefatigable Rhine, has embarked on a one-woman quest to drag me out of bed early in the morning for a morning walk. She is determined to get this set as part of my routine, even if she has to carry me to the track herself.
But considering that – so far – I’ve skipped exercise more often than not, I’d say this is just wishful thinking. So I’m chalking this one up as a pre-broken resolution.
2. I Will Watch What I Eat
If this were more literal, and the only premise is to glance at the mountainous load of food I’m cramming into my pie-hole, then it would not be easily broken, and therefore, could not qualify for my pre-broken resolution list. However, the actual intent of this common resolution is to control food intake – to reduce overall consumption, reduce sweets, fried items, cheese/ butter/ oily items, and to have fruits and vegetables occupy a larger percentage of the daily intake.
This one got broken on the first half of day 1 of the New Year. New Year 2015, for me, was in India, in the immediate aftermath of my sister-in-law’s fabulous wedding. The aftermath came pre-packaged with a host of post-wedding engagements that were littered with an artery clogging stock-pile of scrumptious deliciousness. And I chomped my way through all of them.
3. I Will Save Money
There has been complaints within the family circle that I do not take stock of my expenses. I am an MBA graduate with a degree in Marketing. One could presume that I understand the tricks of the trade; how corporations use gimmicky illusions of promotional offers, marketing buzzwords, hidden costs and sales pitches to lure the unsuspecting schmuck of a customer into emptying his wallet for a bunch of useless products and services. One could presume that, of course. But one would not be correct.
The promise of being careful what I spend money on; of avoiding purchases that I actually do not need; this seems like a logical, simple, and actionable resolution. But considering that less than two weeks into 2015, my purchases include
- An internal hard disk of 6TB capacity, to be used for assembling a NAS system; something more suitable for a small organization than for a private individual at home.
- An iPad Air, an indisputably overpriced, though sleek tablet for personal use, despite already having another 5 month old tablet in perfectly usable condition, AND a 6 month old Kindle with nearly a hundred unread books.
- The Philips Air Frier, a new technology cooking device that promises to fry food with less oil, enabling the guilt free consumption of food like french fries or fried chicken or onion rings . A noble goal, if ever there was any – except that the ideal goal should have been to eliminate unhealthy foods, not marginally decreasing the unhealthiness of said foods.
- About 10 books from Amazon, many of which I already have on my iPad already, despite my declining reading habits.
I haven’t tallied up the total spend so far. I’m sure my wife will do it sometime, following which she will undoubtedly scream in frustration. So yeah, this qualifies as a pre-broken resolution.
4. I Will Give Up Drinking
This is probably the go-to resolution for drunkards – at least those alcoholics who realize they are alcoholics and sees this as a problem; they would probably have this as the leading resolution every year. But it doesn’t apply to me. Because I’m not a drunkard. Really. I can quit whenever I want, I just don’t want to. I only have an occasional drink once in a while anyway.
But for what it’s worth, since I had a drink a few days ago, this is also a great addition to my pre-broken resolutions list.
5. I Will Give Up Smoking
This is far harder to enforce. The chief problem is that I don’t smoke. I may in fact be allergic to tobacco, which is probably the one boon given to me by the health Gods. No, I don’t know if there is a God for health. But there should be. At least, a patron saint of health. Which saint, you ask? I… I don’t know.
Getting back to my point, the problem is that I am not, nor have I ever been a smoker. So logically, this resolution wouldn’t apply to me at all. Therefore, it’s the perfect pre-broken resolution.
Or is it? Come to think of it, the fact that I have never really smoked also means that I have NOT given up smoking. In fact, by definition, it may be impossible for me to break this promise, and as such, it should not qualify as a resolution for me at all. Hmm… It’s quite a pickle. But I’m going to leave this point here, though, because hey… I typed up all of these words here, and I’m far too lazy to replace this with some other point.
6. I Will Stop Being Lazy
Oh. Well, I don’t really know what to type in here. Maybe ‘LOL’ would suffice? Laziness being a core trait of mine, I don’t think that’s going anywhere.
In addition to these, I have also broken some resolutions which are so taken for granted by most sane people, that they are seldom elevated to the status of ‘resolution’. For example, ‘I Will Not Actually Fall Off A Van By Stupidly Being Distracted By The Phone While Climbing Aboard‘ is NOT on the resolution list of the average person. But it made it into MY pre-broken resolution list last week.
I was climbing aboard the company van, balancing my laptop bag on my left shoulder, working on my phone with my right hand, when I reached out and grabbed on to the the grab-handle by the door to pull myself in. Except – I missed the handle by a few inches or so, and I ended up wildly clutching at empty space instead, while still staring at my phone. Spoilers: It did not end well.
I went on a comically brief flailing frenzy before my fall. I managed to grab on to part of a seat on my way down. But it didn’t stop the fall; it merely slowed it down such that I swiveled to one side and banged on the rear door before finally falling butt first on to the hard tarred road. Onlookers were more puzzled than amused or concerned. They couldn’t grasp the reality of the situation for a while, seeing me bounce off two sides of the van while attempting a feat that can be casually accomplished by a competent first grader on his first day to school.
I turned out fine. Nothing was broken. Except my pride. And the resolution. I’m sure there are more of these coming my way. But I’m ready, with my ever growing list of resolutions. 2015, bring it on.