Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Making resolutions that don't hold

Every year. Without exception the start of every year has been a time to recharge and correct misdirected ways. But with us being slaves to habit, these resolutions are bound to end in debilitating defeat. Can you stop biting nails immediately? Can you stop potato chips right now, as half a crisp sticks out between your lips? It's impossible. By January 4th you don't have nails left. This failed attempt is terrible, because it goes beyond the mere act of not biting nails or hogging on chips. It, in effect, becomes a question of willpower, of questioning whether you're strong enough and such to resist temptation. Naturally, you will feel horrible about it. And you should. Am I terrible human being with no willpower whatsoever, you will ask. What have I come to, you will wonder, and it will be the first of several dark, probing questions you will ask yourself over many dark and probing days. Serves you right for making resolutions in the first place.

Did you know studies show that 98.9% of all resolutions are broken within the first month? Did you? Actually I haven't seen any such studies, but they'd say something similar, don't you think? "Man attempts to give up smoking two packs, gives in by noon," or "Boy resolves to lose four kilos in a month but - dammit! - why do burgers taste so good?"

It dawns on everybody one day, I suppose. I'm sure it will. New Year resolutions do nothing. They're just a spurt of false ambition. But don't let that stop you. No, for everyone else's sake, you must carry on. Everyone else has failed, and so they will be watching you. But they won't be watching to see if you succeed, but to see how long you hold out. Good luck.