It’s a brand new year, and no doubt after the past two months of carnal debauchery which you justified because “it’s the holidays,” you’re feeling like you need to make some changes in your life. Your clothes don’t fit like they did in October, you can’t even remember most of November, and the last time you coughed you actually yacked up a complete, intact Marlboro cigarette. Yep, as wonderful as the holidays are, you woke up on January 1st feeling disgusting, and for good reason.
Don’t worry though, as you’re not alone. Across the nation, millions of Americans wheezed their way into the new year horrified by how they looked, ashamed of their addictions, and, if they’re anything like me, wondering exactly how long they’ve been sleeping next to the ice bin at 7-11. Still, it’s a new year, and that means we’re all blessed with 12 complete months with which to dodge turning things around.
And that leads us to the New Year’s resolution, which for all intents and purposes is the one-night stand of the self-improvement world. Exciting and fun while they last, full of promise and hope, we all know that by this time next week when you think of your resolutions you’re going to feel a little empty, a little guilty, perhaps even a bit dirty. That’s because in just a few days that promise you made yourself about losing weight, quitting smoking, or doing one good deed each day will be as foreign to you as was the stranger you woke up next to on St. Patty’s day.
There are numerous theories as to why we can’t stick to our resolutions. Some believe we are too strict in our prohibitions. Others say we make unrealistic goals, like losing twenty pounds a month or creating an exercise regimen that has you working out more times a week than you did all of last year. But those are both pandering rationalizations designed to make us feel better about failing. The truth is, we don’t stick to our resolutions because we’re fat, lazy bastards with no will power.
Seriously, if you had the grit and self confidence required to keep your resolutions, you wouldn’t need an artificial starting date like a new year to do so. You would have addressed any personal issues you saw as detrimental years ago. To be blunt, if there are things about yourself that you don’t like, get used to them because if you haven’t addressed them by now you never will.
Still, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make resolutions. But when doing so, keep in mind why we make resolutions: we want to feel better about who and what we are. But feeling better and being better are two different things.
With that in mind, don’t worry about being a better person, a more attractive person or a wealthier one. Shoot for any of those goals, and you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment and failure. Instead of aiming high, you should aim low. And by low, I mean setting goals so easily achievable there’s no way you can fuck it up.
For example, last year I wanted to do something to help the environment and reduce my carbon footprint. Sure, I could have resolved to recycle as much as possible, to only purchase products from eco-friendly companies, and to turn the lights off when leaving a room. But I didn’t make any of those resolutions because, aside from being inconvenient as hell, all three of those things require a lot of diligence. And while I love the world, I’m not sure I love it that much.
Still, I wanted to do my part, which is why I resolved to conserve water by not washing my car. And as tough as that may sound to all of you, it’s been over 13 months since my car has a seen a hose. Yeah, my little Civic looks like a giant bottle of Yoo-Hoo, and inside it kind of smells like a taco from Jack in the Box and a homeless man had a child and then dumped it in an ashtray.
I won’t lie, it’s fucking disgusting. But, that’s the sacrifice I’m willing to make for the world. I should stress that I’m only willing to make that sacrifice because it didn’t take an ounce of effort on my part to do so. Hell, not washing my car actually saved me a lot of time, energy and money—and that allowed me to address another of last year’s resolution.
You see, at the end of 2010, I had put on a little bit of weight. And by a little, I mean something in the neighborhood of a fourth-grader. Clearly, I had to address the issue, but exercising and eating fewer processed foods weren’t options I could live with. That’s why, instead of trying to lose weight, I resolved to buy bigger clothes. Pants, shirts, underwear: the whole shebang.
Keeping this resolution was unbelievably easy, plus it had some rather surprising and positive side effects. For starters, regardless of how fat you are, when you wear baggy clothes people tend to think that you’ve lost a lot of weight. “Dang Mike,” people would say, “those pants are really loose. How much weight have you lost?” Seriously, I heard this all the time. The strange thing was, since people thought I was losing weight, I actually started feeling thinner and more attractive.
No kidding; it was a real ego boost.
Unfortunately it turns out that, much like a goldfish will grow to the size of its pond, a human being will actually grow to the size of their clothing—what can you do, biology’s a bitch. Needless to say, within a few months my once-baggy clothing began to fit quite nicely, thank you. The cool thing about this was, when you go from wearing baggy clothing to wearing shit that actually fits, you’re going to look better no matter how freakishly obese you are. So once again, I found people complimenting my looks.
I’m telling you, it’s a total slacker’s win-win. I didn’t have to wake up with sore, aching muscles from exercising, nor did I once pass on a trip through the drive-thru because I was counting calories. But I still felt thinner, more attractive, more desirable. I felt better.
And so can you.
But if you’re still a non believer, consider one of the primary staples of daytime talk shows: the obese whore who thinks she’s beautiful (and yes Mr. I-Don’t-Watch-Daytime-TV, you know who I’m talking about). She somehow manages to trundle all 400 pounds of her ass up on stage. She’s dressed in what would likely be a muumuu on a normal person but on her it’s a mini-skirt. The tops of her thighs have drooped down over her calves like a freaky flesh sock, and you can’t tell exactly how many boobs she has.
Yeah, you know who I’m talking about, just like you know the first thing she’s going to say once she stops waving her hand and snapping her fingers.
“Honey, I look good.”
Of course, that’s just retarded. She doesn’t look good: she looks like she should either be released back into the wild or strangled to death by Princess Leah. But how she looks is not what matters. What matters is how she feels, and she feels sexy.
Now, be honest with yourself: when was the last time you truly felt sexy? Seriously, do you think you have ever felt as sexy as that bloated beast from the Springer show feels? And can you imagine what you would be capable of, what you could accomplish, if you had that kind of self esteem, delusional though it may be?
Take my advice, folks, and make resolutions you can accomplish. Resolutions that will make you feel better. Screw being a better version of you. When you’re on your deathbed, those six-pack abs won’t mean shit to you, but you’ll regret the hell out of the time you could have spent with your loved ones if you hadn’t been at the gym doing crunches. As for improving the world? If you had that in you, you’d already be doing that. And since you don’t, is it really wise to rub your nose in your own shortcomings the next few months as you’re repeatedly reminded of just how miserably you’ve failed at your resolutions?
No. That’s why if you love to smoke, you should resolve to smoke more. Think donuts are great? Make 2012 the year in which you eat more donuts than vegetables. If getting bombed out of your mind makes you happy, resolve to shock and awe your brain with enough booze to slip an entire frat house into a coma. And if you like whoring around, give me a call sometime.
Of course, such resolutions will not improve who you are or fatten your bank account, but if you accomplish them I guarantee you they will lead to a happier, more fulfilling 2012.
That said, anything beyond 2012 is really dependent upon your doctor, so good luck with that and happy New Year.