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.
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.
Join a Gym
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!
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?
"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.
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.
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.
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!
This is very similar to going to the gym (and is motivated by the same desire), but it seems easier because you don't even need to go out to do it! Of course you'll succeed at this one; no one is around to judge you, no juiced-up man-thong is yelling motivational phrases at you while his vascular sack pulsates in your face, and you get to do it at your leisure. Oh man, look where you just failed.
Doing anything at your leisure is the same as doing calculus on the space station with a chimp that's fluent in Mandarin. That's not a thing that happens. Left to your own devices, you're going to eat healthy by putting a slice of lettuce on a triple bacon cheeseburger. Then, a week later you throw the rest of the head of lettuce in the trash because it's gotten to that stage where it's kind of like leaves of booger wrapped around a crunchy, white center and you're not going to eat that shit.
You won't even eat it when it's fresh.
The CDC says there are about 80 million obese Americans, and that number is likely higher now, because it's from 2010. For scale, 80 million is the population of Canada twice over, plus a few million extra. That's a metric fuckton of fat folks. Eating healthy is not in a lot of people's wheelhouse. Unless that wheelhouse serves a wheelhouse burger with onion straws and chipotle mayo.
Eating healthy is actually harder than exercising in a lot of ways, because, along with all the reasons you don't work out that apply to why you don't eat well, you have additional problems with food. Food is your salty, chewy love muffin. It nurtures you and makes you feel better when you're down. It's a friend when you're alone, and it never judges you while you judge yourself. Damn you, melted cheese! I can't quit you.
You cannot stop eating shit. I'm sorry. I mean, I guess you can, but science says you're amazing if you're one of the few who do. Any obesity doctor will tell you that you can confront a person who is so obese that they're probably about to die and tell them this, warn them that they have only weeks to live unless they change, and they will still sneak food. These people choose, consciously or not, to eat and die rather than change their eating habits so they'll live.
If the drive to eat shit can be so strong as to defeat the will to live, what the hell? Baby steps, bitch. Incidentally, if you're morbidly obese to the point where you're facing death, this will probably not help you, because this is all about the long con. This is you conning your body into craving and accepting new things. That sentence could be about sex, incidentally. Go back and read it in a dirty way. Heh heh. Awesome.
So, what's your game plan here? How about an apple; that's a good symbol of health. Or an orange, a banana, whatever.
It's referred to as "fruit" by the scientific community.
Pick one and then pick any meal or snack you eat all week long. Just swap out one fatty-ass food with that fruit. A doughnut, a bag of chips, a fifth burrito, whatever. Have a mango instead. That's your in. Make it a habit.
The potential hazard here is overeating. Some folks will eat that fruit, then still have the doughnut. Well, instead of the doughnut, you contrary jackass, have another fruit. Eat 10 apples if you need to. You'll regret it, by the way, but you'll learn. You'll be on the toilet, but you'll be forming a habit. A new, gross habit.
Fall in Love
I don't know what kind of jackaninnies are out there making this resolution, but it's a pretty awful one. Unlike the standard "get fit and be healthy," this is some kind of ephemeral, stumbling towards bullshit sort of resolution that is a lot like telling yourself this is the year you're going to find evidence of Bigfoot. Why would anyone do this to themselves?
Any kind of resolution you make that involves accomplishing a goal that requires and is totally predicated on anything outside of yourself is a big, fat instant failure. Even resolutions about getting educated or learning a new talent or skill are still dependent on what you can do as a person. You could learn guitar all on your own if you were stranded on an island and weren't big on raft-building.
But please don't.
But falling in love really does require someone else. And if you set it as a goal for yourself, you sound a lot like the kind of person who sets other goals like "make a skin suit out of the mailman" or "masturbate furiously into this library book because the devil whispers sin into my peenie."
Listen, the devil isn't talking to your peenie; that's just mental illness. And if you want to fall in love, you can never, ever set it as a goal. It will ruin it for everyone involved.
Drop this as a resolution entirely. Instead, look at who you are for a sec. You want to be in a relationship, that's fine. Why aren't you already? Haven't found the right person? Just got out of a relationship? Have a second face on the back of your head that murders circus freaks? We all have a story.
They probably deserved it anyway.
You can never make anyone love you; you can only convince others you're lovable. I do it every week. Hey girl ... s'up? So falling in love isn't the real goal here -- not being awful is the goal. Or, in positive terms, to be lovable. Be interesting and fun and be out there where people can see that about you. Odds are you're doing that already, but if you're not, it's time to start. So what's the habit you need to form? Some kind of interaction. Lucky you, if you're super afraid of human contact, you can even do this online. But you need to do it somehow, otherwise go love a melon with a hole poked in it.
This doesn't need to take any more time than the previous two, because if it does it'll be a thing you just screw up. If you don't have the time to meet new people right now, you won't in the new year unless you ease into it like a hot bath. Or a melon with a hole in it. You might think 10 minutes is not enough time to do anything, and to that I say fuck you, negative Nelly. You know what you can do in 10 minutes? Ten minutes worth of stuff you didn't do when you didn't spend 10 minutes doing it.
Like writing a note to tell people you'll be gone for 10 minutes!
Spend 10 minutes posting on forums you're interested in. Spend 10 minutes talking to someone in the supermarket, or at an event, or god knows what. If you're someplace with other humans and you have 10 minutes, you can figure this one out. Just know it's a process. Don't expect miracles. Don't expect anything. Just do it and have some fun and don't think of it like this resolution looming over you, because that shit will just frustrate you and cause anxiety.
That said, if you have a resolution to send me money or give me a book contract, by all means, hop on that. Anyway, happy New Year, y'all.
For more from Felix, check out 3 Shortcuts to Not Being a Terrible Person and 4 Ways Getting Older Makes You Behave Like an Asshole.
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