Four Reasons I Fail at New Year’s

January 1, 2010

It’s time for our annual tradition of kicking off the New Year by setting ourselves up for failure and self-loathing.  Hope you had fun last night with loud noises and slurred songs, because today is the day you pull yourself together, and it may not be pretty.

What’s your promise to yourself?  Getting in shape?  Getting organized?  Getting out of debt?

Sure, I’ve made plenty of resolutions.  They’ve all ended the same way.  I’m still not ripped, and my room is still a mess.

My only resolution that has ever been successful is continuing to be totally awesome.  That didn’t take much work. 

I’ve got no problem with resolutions.  They’re good things.  But no matter how much we promise to ourselves that this year will be different, no matter how much we pray, no matter how much money we spend on a new home gym, 90% of us will give up our resolutions in failure.

I think I’ve got some reasons why.

Four Reasons I Fail at New Year’s Resolutions

One whole day to make a committment
I was recently learning about Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.  Much like us Gentiles, the Jews take New Year’s to be a time of reflection, repentence, and promises of improvement.  It all culminates with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

Know what comes before their New Year’s?  A whole month of psyching themselves up about how much more awesome they’re going to be after the New Year.  That’s right.  They spend a whole month looking at their lives, and what they’re doing wrong, and how they can improve.

I on the other hand, see a random infomercial for a Bowflex, and on a whim decide that perhaps I should go to the gym…right after I finish this box of Oreos.  I spend way more time thinking of what I should tell my family I want for Christmas, than I do telling myself what I want for New Year’s.  Because, after all, I can make the same resolution every New Year’s.  Asking for the same thing every Christmas is just stupid.

In other words, when you compare us to the Jews, the rest of us are kind of only using half our butts on this whole resolution thing.  Anything that is given such a small amount of thought must not be that pressing.

Resolutions aren’t important

You’ve made it this far by being out of shape, disorganized, and dodging bounty hunters, and I applaud you.  If you really needed to change, you would do it.  But people are programed to take the path of least resistance.  Most resolutions have no immediate benefit, either because they take too long, or they just aren’t that beneficial to begin with.

If you want to change your life, it has to be a need.  I’m going to need my doctor to tell me, “Matt, you must not eat any more saturated fats or you will DIE next Tuesday.”  Otherwise, why do today what I can put off until tomorrow?  Most of us have resolutions that would be nice to keep, but not resolutions we need to keep.

January is a terrible time to do stuff
I personally do not like New Year’s Day.  It’s usually cold as death outside, gray and wet, and depressing.  January is a terrible month, and the start of a long, gray season (unless you’re in Australia.)  Everyone’s taking down their dead Christmas trees.  The only good thing is we have a bunch of new Christmas toys to play with while winter drags on.

They need to do a study to determine what is the most motivating day of the year, and make that New Year’s.  I vote for March 25th.

Most resolutions are self-inflicted punishments
Most of us aren’t masochists.  We don’t get some kind of weird pleasure out of inflicting pain on ourselves.  But we pretend to be masochists on New Year’s.  We tell ourselves we’ve been “bad,” and we’re going to have to eat some “whole grains,” or go “jogging” to punish ourselves for all the terrible stuff we’ve done to ourselves.

But within a week or two, most of us realize that we don’t need to improve ourselves to raise our self-esteem, because there are medications that can raise our self esteems just fine, along with extending our lives far past what nature intended.  So what’s the point of living if you’re going to be miserable?

What’s your resolution?  How are you not going to fail this year?