Self-improvement is wildly over-rated. Forget real New Year's Resolutions.
Anyone out there think New Year's Resolutions are a little, uh, stupid? What's so magical about moving from one calendar to the next that’s going to give you the willpower to learn Swahili, drop 15 pounds or stop sleeping with any guy that buys you a drink?
It's human nature to seek delineation points. "As soon as I get to college, I'm going to be banging so many chicks." "As soon as I get a job, I will stop boozing on school nights." "As soon as I have a kid, I'm going to stop cheating on my wife." And "My diet starts on Monday." And while sometimes the universe conspires in your favor (i.e. lots of college chicks are slutty, you could lose your job if you drink Sunday – Wednesday nights, you may be too tired from childrearing to actively philander and some diets do start after weekend binges) but generally we're the same person today as yesterday even when yesterday was December 31st of 1999.
But what about the New Year's Resolution (NYR)? People seem to love discipline and the underdog, so some kind resolution is a good idea. What about a resolution not to have a resolution? Clever but people seem to have cleverness with the same passion they love underdogs. And, frankly, it's a cop-out, like wishing for more wishes. Total bullsh*t. So, the secret is to game the system.
There are 3 main ways to effectively resolve in the New Year without breaking too much of a sweat. Though relationship-related resolutions are a little tough to fake, it can all be done with a little planning.
1) Aim Low (it's the tagline from the movie Dodgeball). Low-hanging fruit is your best friend. If you're 40 pounds heavy. Resolve to drop 10 pounds. Your body is dying for you to lose some of that chunk, eat 2 fewer cheeseburgers per week and you're golden. In terms of relationships, compliment your spouse everyday. It's easy and, if somewhat sincere, can go a long way. Feel free to repeat, not only will it save you time thinking of new things, the tautology will really drive the point home.
2) Be ambiguous. Ambiguity, in any measured scenario, is your friend. For 2009, I've pledged to get better looking. Is that even quantifiable? I didn't say I’d bump up one notch on Hot Or Not. Who's to say that I'm not instantly handsomer on January 2nd than I was on December 30th? Pretty awesome, right? My other NYR is equally as flimsy: I plan on being nicer to women I date but less interested in women I meet at the bar. Somewhere along the line I became a crappy boyf and an overenthusiastic flirt. Who needs any of that? I don't plan on using the neg (what am I, an animal?). But I do plan on being blase. And who's the best judge of my individual apathy? Mystery is. But I'm probably 2nd or 3rd in line.
3) Cheat. There are no hard rules to NYRs. And sure, you're only cheating yourself, but in this crazy environment of self-improvement masturbation, sometimes a little smoke and mirrors are in order. For instance, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has introduced us to the wonderful world of girdles for guys. They more closely resemble UnderArmor shirts and are being brought to us by the inventors of Spanx (body-hugging booty and thigh-shapers for the ladies). Sure, your dunlop* will pop out when you disrobe, but who gives a doodle? If you resolve to send your lady flowers fortnightly, just set up some recurring deal with the good people at 800 Flowers. It's easy.
Listen, I know that some of you out there feel like 2009, new president and whathaveyou, is your time to really shine. And I got your back. But the rest of us don't have the time or inclination to make some extravagant promise and actually keep it. If you really don't like what you're working with I can give you some tricks for actually following through with a real NYR just as soon as I bang out my 200 daily push-ups, run 4 miles and read to orphans.
*Because your belly done lopped over your belt. I just spent 6 nights in the Dirty Dirty.