3 Can't-Fail New Year's Resolution Alternatives

According to the University of Scranton, whom I hold above reproach in all things, about 45 percent of us will make New Year's resolutions. According to my calculator, that is nearly half. Half is a lot. And also, according to the same source (Scranton, not Casio), only 8 percent of us regularly succeed in keeping these resolutions. If you've ever made a resolution, you know exactly why this is the case -- a resolution is a bullshit promise you make to yourself to do something that is not in your character on a semi-regular or permanent basis.

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You will do none of these things.

You're basically saying, with no motivation other than a whim, that you currently do something bad and that you will magically change this thing. It never works. Or, more specifically, it works only 8 percent of the time.

Convincing yourself to be someone else out of the blue is a silly task, and it's why the failure rate is so high. Lucky for you, I am crammed full of ideas such that they're literally protruding from every hole I have. And one of my ideas is how you can tweak those silly-ass resolutions from something you'll never do to something I'd venture to say you'd probably do. It's all in your perception.

#3. Join a Gym

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Losing weight is predictably the most common resolution people make, and joining a gym is one of the top options for those looking to get fit. Yes, this is the year you're going to turn that sack of pudding you call an ass into a carved shield of oak that would shame any dwarf of Middle-earth. You will be a titan, a monster. You will wear tight shorts, and your dong and/or labia will be outlined like a shining, golden god of turgid, sweaty flesh. Stop reading right now and just roar as loud as you can. Don't wait, do it. Do it!

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OK, that was a bit much.

Ahh, better? Good. But of course you're not going to the gym. Anywhere from 30 to 80 percent of new gym memberships will be left in a dusty drawer full of Twinkie wrappers within five months. Why such a large range? Because literally every source I found for that stat was different. I suspect no one knows how many people quit; we're just pretty confident that a lot of people give up based on how empty gyms are in September compared with January. So, maybe you'll go to the gym five times, but odds are you won't go much more.

The problem with hitting the gym and being healthy is that if you don't already hit the gym and live healthy, you're trying to climb a mountain with a peg leg and a club foot in a wind storm and no ropes. Who does that? If you're not healthy, you can't just say, "Healthy!" and expect it to work. And at a gym? Fuck that, have you ever been to the gym?

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"Now grunt! Loudly!"

The gym is literally the worst place on Earth for out-of-shape, unhealthy people. It's like an alcoholic trying to get off the sauce by getting a job as a wine taster. No it's not. It's like a hobo trying to join a bunch of Wall Street asshats at some sort of investment orgy. It's everything you're not kicking you in the face repeatedly, even if it's unintentional, in a way that makes you feel self-conscious and like you've already failed before you began. You can motivate yourself by staring at chicks in yoga pants only for so long. Eventually, you need to lift a weight.

The other issue here is: what do you do all day now? If you're not finding the time to hit the gym today, it's because you're doing something, right? How can you sacrifice that to go to the gym? Can you? David Wong explained this all pretty well in his article on ways we sabotage ourselves. No offense dude, but you're screwed.

Superior Alternative:

So you and your pudding heiney have a routine that you're pretty cool with right now, and you feel like it's letting you down in the fitness department, but of course it's been doing that since Day 1, right? It didn't just happen that your life got lard-laden and chubbed out. You've been nurturing that shit, even if you didn't plan to. Now you need to sneak in a healthy habit. Mark that word down in your My Little Pony diary and put stars and hearts around it. Habit. If it's not a habit, it's fucking useless to you.

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Download this handy template and change your life today!

You need a new habit. I suggest the simplest goddamn habit you can muster that barely affects the structure of your day. You wanted to spend three hours a week at the gym blasting your quads and trashing your delts and masticating your glutes and fuddruckering your stumps. Silly. I want you to set your alarm like 15 minutes early on Sunday and take a 10-minute walk before breakfast. Or do it Saturday. Or just after dinner one of those nights, or whatever day you don't already work. Or just sometime, in your week, when you have at least a solid two hours of wiggle room in whatever you're doing such that no one will fire you, leave you, or kill you if things aren't done precisely at a certain time. Take a 10-minute walk.

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You can do this! Probably!

If you can do that, once a week, for an entire year, you will keep doing it for the rest of your life, so long as it's something you want to do. There are 10,080 minutes in a week -- this is 10. You work for 2,400, sleep for 3,360 or so, travel to and from work for about 600, and spend another 600 getting prepared for or winding down from things. That leaves you with 3,120 from which to take 10. You can do it. Maybe.

Once you're regularly walking for 10 minutes on the weekend, you'll find it infinitely easier to take what is now an established habit -- a habit like your tendency to eat Big Macs as a snack, to drink beer for breakfast, to watch movies for six hours every night -- and tweak it. Maybe your weekend walk can become being more physically active two days a week. Or for 30 minutes, instead of 10. Or two days a week for 30 minutes each! Holy shit!

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Felix Clay

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