The Absurdity of the New Year, or Resolution Shmesolution

It is apparently impossible to make even the slightest of turns at this time of year without being harassed, either through the internet or print media, to change one’s sinful and damaging ways. A plethora of information on how to quit smoking, lose weight, run 5 marathons and create world peace seems increasingly inevitable to invade the consciousness. And whilst promoting all these wonderful things is equally as wonderful as their respective results, it is all a little absurd. Let’s take weight loss.

I’d assume about 75% of people, in between their third helping of turkey and ham and the obligatory half bottle of wine at some point between Christmas Eve and New Year’s day, waylay any possible guilt with the simple phrase “I’ll lose it in the New Year.” Then January 1st hits, the house is stocked with Weight Watchers and Slimfast, the gym membership securely attained and the resolution of two simple words “Lose Weight” firmly embedded in one’s mind. That new diet plan to lose 20 lbs in two weeks, or whatever other unfathomable promise was floating around in any other number of magazines, has been memorised and intention is set. Surely this is enough.

It is also around this time of year that I start avoiding the gym. Claustrophobically full, it is too easy to get frustrated with the ones strolling along for twenty minutes before stuffing themselves with Cadbury’s finest (assured that they have indeed burnt all the necessary calories) or even easier to become overwhelmed with discomfort, unease and terror as some or other first timer boots a treadmill up to 14kmh and you wait for the sickening moment where they go flying and you simultaneously forget all your first aid training. Luckily, most people have given up by February and the gym resumes its usual atmosphere.

I seem unreasonably harsh and judgemental, an embodiment of Ms. Listen-to-Me McHolier-Than-Thou. Don’t worry, I am still the neurotic chocoholic up-and-down mess you all know and love (who herself wouldn’t hurt from a few changes this season) but I just find the entire concept of New Year’s Resolutions just a tad pointless. There is a reason why resolutions don’t last – they are vague, impulsive, non-commital and entirely dependant on the New Year to make a start. And just as quickly as one embarks on a new endeavour, something or other takes precedent and all good deeds fade away as quickly as the December frost. I mean, really, if something is that important, why wait until January to start? Goals such as losing weight and quitting smoking and what have you are lifestyle changes, not short lived fads to be played around with for 6 weeks before reverting back to your old ways. So this January, don’t think up some random resolution to “Get Firmer* in 4 Weeks”  or vaguely “Learn a musical instrument.” Set a goal, be specific, make a plan and commit!

My Goals For 2011

  • Be Kinder To Myself – this involves maintaining a healthy weight (without binge or starve,) getting enough exercise (without killing myself) and getting a serious hold on nasties like fat talk and body checks. Here’s to a healthy 2011!
  • Run the 10K in the Great Limerick Run – Pa is supposed to do this with me (He traded off doing a mini-triathlon with him, which I also have to see to believe.) If not, I always have my sexy new micoach pacer.
  • Climb Croagh Patrick – Supposed to do this last summer but didn’t. I figure I just need to nag Dad back into the gym with me. Hint hint.
  • See more of family and friends – I actually go months without seeing some people. That is just not right. And I am aware that this has that horrible vagueness which I was talking about. But I can’t seem to be more specific…
  • Get my music act together. This involves making a set list, getting that set list to a performable standard, convincing someone to hire me and getting some well needed experience. I will post as this progresses.
  • Blog/Journal/Meditate at least twice a week – I will do this if it kills me. For it is good for my soul.

What are your goals for the new year?

*As a sidenote, I hate, loath and despise the word “firmer” for a reason I can’t quite put my finger on. Perhaps it has something to do with a seemingly healthier approach to the more controversial “skinny” without the rather negative model-diet connotations. But in the context of January’s obsession with losing pounds and inches, its essentially the same insane message of thin=happy. Make health your goal people.

**As a second sidenote, the ridiculous and self indulgent pomposity of the writing today comes to you courtesy of Kate: Obsessively reading Stephen Fry’s Autobiography for the last seven days.