5 Reasons Your New Year's Resolution Sucks
2015 is upon us, and unless it's drastically different from previous years, a good chunk of the population will be spending the first days of January full of hope and determination, thanks to all the New Year's resolutions they've made in their annual, futile effort to become better people. Personally, I don't much care for this, which is why I've usually skipped the whole resolution thing in favor of extending my holiday bender by another week via a handy loophole provided by Russian Christmas traditions.
By which I mean I drink vodka until January 7 while hoping that the dancing pimp Santas in my apartment aren't real.
Alas, due to an unfortunate twist of events, I found myself making some rather ... unfortunate resolutions of my own this year. So I thought I'd take part in the proud Cracked tradition of nitpicking the process and hopefully dig up some good advice for dealing with your New Year's resolutions. Here we go, yo:
Exercising More / Losing Weight
I'm lumping these two resolutions into one because from what I can tell, they're by far the most common ones making rounds. For a few weeks after the year turns, everyone seems dead set on turning their perfectly fine barrel guts into sculpted six-packs , a decision that annoys me from practical standpoint (you'll lose volume, people!), not to mention the fact that everyone's at the gym when I drunkenly call them to help me chase the Cyrillic Bling Santa gang away.
Don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying either of those things are impossible. People get fitter and thinner all the time, however temporary the change might be. I'm just pointing out that the whole resolution route is, in fact, one of the absolute worst ways to get fit. As I have mentioned before, there's a whole host of reasons losing weight is harder than shitting an entire undigested turkey, ranging from your brain's tendency to want back the pounds you've shed to a horde of little things affecting your weight that you're powerless against. Do you really want to go up against all that crap during the only time of the year when absolutely everyone else is trying to do the same?
Come Monday, this is the line to your nearest 24 Hour Fitness.
As for working out, back in my (slightly) more gym-oriented days, I experienced a fair few January floods of dieters, and I soon noticed that the Resolution Folk tend to have precious little camaraderie. They treat their holy mission to become a better version of themselves with a bloodthirsty fervor usually reserved for knights gearing up for a crusade. At no point will they attempt to enjoy training, and when a week or two goes by and they don't magically turn into Marvel heroes, they tend to lose steam pretty quickly. The few weeks of intense weight-flailing they forced themselves through winds up being more or less meaningless, give or take the occasional hernia or sprained ankle.
So why not just adjust that "I will fix everything about me right now GRAAAH" resolution into a slightly saner one, make a decision to pay slightly more attention to what you eat, and take the stairs instead of the elevator once in a while? All those small things add up, and are a lot easier to keep up in the long run.
Quitting a Vice
When I set out to write this column, my plan was to start with the most common resolutions and then blatantly move in to discuss mine. However, turns out I'm a little hazy re: precisely what my New Year's Resolution is. I mean, I know I made one, but all I can recall at the moment is this weird party from last night that I'm pretty sure wasn't the one I was originally attending. I think it was a costume party, which is kind of strange because it was not Halloween. Other than that, everything seemed completely legitimate.
Well, except for the chanting. And the portal to another plane of existence.
So, while I gather my thoughts, let's focus on a resolution I'm otherwise familiar with: quitting a vice. Have you ever done that shit? It sucks a massive barrel of monkey balls. Vices become vices because you think they're awesome and overindulge, and their entire point is to keep you in their grip and tear into you. Basically, having one is like being superglued to a particularly pissed off honey badger; Sure, it's an awesome beast, but the situation is not exactly optimal for your health, and good luck getting away from it.
"My only method of communication is murder."
Again, it's not my intention to say that your no doubt many and interesting vices should stay with you forever. However, consider how many people you regularly interact with who made a New Year's resolution they're actually trying to follow through with. Two? Twelve? Fifty? Because if you're in the middle of kicking a bad habit, I'm betting just one of them is perfectly capable of grating your nerves into fine shreds with their constant "Man, this is soooo difficult" yammering.
Let's say you're trying to quit smoking. That shit was the single hardest thing I've ever done in my life, and much like my fellow quitters, I found myself extremely irritated by any and everything in my immediate vicinity. If I had to socialize with umpteen Chad-from-accounting types who are all in the middle of their own quitting projects and looking for approval by whining about how difficult things are for them, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I would have gleefully choked a bastard.
But shit, that's just me. Maybe you can make good of this particular promise, be it because you're dedicated enough or because the habit you're trying to kick is something less severe than nicotine, like video games or whipped cream or crystal meth. If you truly feel like you can handle that shit, by all means, go for it. For everyone else, it may be wiser to do your life-altering projects during a time when the world is not chock-full of other people attempting theirs. And if you feel the need to partake in the whole New Year's resolution thing, you can just pick some hopefully mostly harmless promise like I'm pretty sure I did.
Uh, does anyone else hear distant, ominous drumming?
Getting Devoured by a Demonic Hyperdimensional Being
This one is so obvious I considered dropping it off the list, but it seems that I've suddenly acquired a headache that could slay an elephant, and I don't think I can deal with all the hate mail for leaving it out, so here we go.
As everyone is probably aware of, having your existence completely erased/replaced by a demonic dweller of the spaces between dimensions is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions. It gained this status for a very simple reason: once the clock starts nearing midnight and Mark and Steve begin throwing around their fancy-pants resolutions of trying to write yet another best-selling novel and trying not to bump the shuttle into anything the next time I visit the International Space Station, ha ha, it's all too easy to start one-upping people, especially if you have enough whiskey in you.
Fuck you, Mark and Steve.
Of course, the vast majority of people who make this particular resolution will join the ranks of New Year's failures by remaining tragically undevoured. Luckily, some of us have true grit. After starting the inevitable fight and receiving the equally inevitable dropkicks from both Mark and Steve, some of us pluckily land on our ass in the gutter and wander into the night, drowsily searching for a means to make good on our promise. With a combination of luck, determination, and drunkenly screaming "All eldritch abominations may apply" in the darkest alleyways for hours, some of us are fully capable of locating an obscure local sect of whatever the hell blood god they said it was, and perform some bullshit that will probably do something pretty creepy to me at some point. This is all possible because some of us, MARK AND STEVE, are proactive go-getters that won't settle for anything less than total success. Also, your dropkicks suck.
Fuck, sorry. I didn't mean to rant. Let's lighten the mood with a picture of a cute kitten, shall we?
"IT IS TIME, PUNY MORTAL."
Aaargh! I call into question the cuteness of that particular kitten! Let's, uh, let's try that again.
"YEA, THE DESTROYER SHALL COME WITH FIRE AND PESTILENCE; ITS FOOTSTEPS BRING NAUGHT BUT DEATH."
What, already? Oh, shi-
Subjugating the Earth and Reshaping It in Your Own Unholy Image
Finally, we are free.
BY THE WRATH OF SEVEN HELLS, THIS WORLD WILL BURN.
"Is Pauli cooking bacon in his office again?" "Smells like it. Fuck that guy."
Being More Friendly to Other People
My apologies for whatever's going on with the previous entry. As an ordinary human columnist for a perfectly normal comedy website, I'm not sure what happened there at all. What I obviously meant to write is that there's actually one very easy New Year's resolution that we all can, and indeed should, make: being more friendly to others.
As this flesh vessel has written before, social situations are extremely awkward and it can be borderline impossible to accurately judge others. As such, we have a tendency to be a lot less civil toward other people than many situations would technically permit. So why not try to fix that instead of whatever puny resolution you're planning to fail at this year? It's not as if you even need to do anything much, compared to stuff like shedding pounds or quitting smoking - just be, say, 20 percent nicer to the people around you. Odds are you'll be surprised how much it improves the quality of your life without any real extra effort.
Besides, it's not like you'll have any extra weight to lose after the Reaping takes place.
All in all, we find this approach acceptable and greatly encourage it, not the least because happy people rarely see us coming until it's too late. In fact, everyone should take time to let other people in their lives in an effort to be more friendly to them. After all, it's easy to see what a cruel world we'd live in if people wouldn't be willing to stand side-by-side with a stranger and grab them by the hand. Actually, why don't we all do just that? The next time you see a fellow fleshling, take her hand, look her in the eye, and tell her how much you appreciate her. That's all it really takes to show that you care about your kin.
Indeed, this would be a most normal human activity engaged in by completely regular people, and doing so would in no way enable y'shoggoth, the eater who stalks between the worlds, to spread the withering via its unholy skin secretions at all.
For more from Pauli, check out 4 Creepy Ways Growing Older Shapes Your Thoughts and 4 Important Things Self-Help Books Are Too Nice to Tell You.