Whoever invented New Year’s resolutions must have been a filthy sadist.
At first glance, it seems like a great idea. Who couldn’t benefit from a few positive life changes here and there?
Well, first of all, the timing is just abysmal. After the veritable cacophony of days off, lavish dinners, boozy parties and gift exchanges that pervade the December holiday season, the first month of the new year summarily slaps you in the face with the return of reality and all its attendant monotonous tedium. Does it really need to be more belabored by uncomfortable major life changes?
It’s back to work and school. No more sleeping in, no more vacations and, what’s worse, no more drinking on weeknights. Well, let’s not get carried away; at least not the regular weeknight drinking to which numerous holiday cocktail gatherings have accustomed us. Oh, the humanity.
It also doesn’t help that — in this hemisphere, at any rate — January happens to be the dullest month of the year, bringing with it low, grey skies and, in Virginia, just enough snow to be inconvenient and irritating without being any fun.
Entertainment is sparse. It’s too cold to comfortably do anything outside, the new movies that were going to be released already came out around Christmas, and sports are beginning to wane.
College football is over, pro football is winding down, and baseball hasn’t quite started up. Fortunately, hockey was able to resolve their strike — self-imposed by nonsensical machinations that would make Capitol Hill blush — prior to the two-week NFL hiatus before the Super Bowl. SportsCenter would have been nothing but professionals playing something almost resembling basketball.
So, you’re telling me that on top of all this general gloom, I also have to craft some sort of resolution that will no doubt make my January absolutely horrible? Because nothing makes getting back to the old grind, while suffering the effects of a collective two-week hangover, more palatable than giving up caffeine or sugar or throwing another chore like exercise into the mix.
But there is hope for all you resolvers out there. Just give up, cave in, call it quits and throw in the towel. When you consider all the natural forces lining up against you, it’s no wonder that 97 percent of resolutions are broken before the end of January, according to a new study out of Stanford by Lennay Kekua.
Regardless, sufficient anecdotal evidence exists — as a liberal arts student, I’m all about anecdotal evidence — to suggest that your New Year’s resolution will be broken and broken soon. So why drag it out any longer?
Getting out of bed while it’s still kind of dark sucks enough without cutting out coffee or cigarettes or whatever vice helps you get through the day. Something you’ve arbitrarily elected to give up because 500 years ago, Pope Gregory decided this would be the first month of the new year.
My suggestion — if you’re really married to the whole idea of self-improvement — is to save your difficult resolution for just prior to your summer vacation, when it won’t have to compete with other general drudgery. And, not coincidentally, when I won’t have to share a campus with you as you suffer through bad habit withdrawal.
Or just choose a nice and easy resolution for the new year. Take my resolution for instance: I have resolved to become a Twitter-lebrity. And you can hop on board too. All you have to do is follow me: @KulakCT. Together we can resolve to make Twitter a more interesting place!