New year, new me… sort of

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Slurping on your second St. Stephen’s Day sandwich, gravy dripping down your dressing gown, it is not surprising when the veil of festivities is lifted, and we are faced with our own chinful reflection. Brains trick themselves into believing that a change is due – something radical must be done so that we appear to improve ourselves and the numb humdrum of daily life.

As you feel the weight of your wallet and your waist, you must come to terms with the fact that you are now poor and podgy. January calls to you like a nicotine patch in the distance, promising less toxins in your gut and your social life. As the ads sing about the “crimbo limbo” and week fifty-two floats aimlessly, society and your self-esteem gang up on you and set new year’s resolutions.

Gathering all the insecurities, trends and friends’ best character traits, a plan is formulated to create A Better You™. While binge watching Black Mirror on your backside, you comfort yourself because you know that They, the person trapped inside your mind, doing jumping jacks and refusing cigarettes whilst tipsy, will awake on January 1st and transform your world.

Alas, this is what we call in the business ‘Fake News’. 2017 was a car crash and now your downtrodden self is expected to emerge from the wreck and embark on a journey of self-improvement. The plot to banish toxic relationships seems difficult when you wake up next to them on New Year’s Day. The healthy breakfast routine falls flat when you arrive at the deli counter for a Chicken Fillet Roll at one o’clock to nurse a hangover from hell. And you can tell that daily running routine to jog on. The beacon of hope you saw a few days ago has become a migraine-inducing spotlight, exposing your bad breath and worst decisions, made in the heat of the counting-down-to-midnight moment.

Aside from debuting the New You on the afternoon of a hangover, there are hundreds of reasons why resolutions flop within a fortnight. The most popular, to ‘get fit’ and ‘eat healthy’ do not work as they are not measurable goals, too vague to define and not brought into fruition simply by telling everyone “2018 is the year I glow up!”. The same goes for the promise to ‘get organised’ and to ‘drink less’ – unless you are taking tallies on each night out, it is going to be tough to track.

If Father’s Day was invented by Hallmark so they can charge you three euros for a card, New Year’s resolutions were invented by gyms so they can charge three hundred euros to crush our self-esteem for another rotation around the sun. They are a social construct to convince ourselves and our buddies that life has a smooth positive correlation and that we are in control of both axes.

Truthfully, if you are overwhelmed by the urge to become vegan, keep a journal or experiment with your wardrobe in 2018; that is fantastic and such self-reflection is commendable. However, if this urge is so sincerely important, procrastinating until the most depressing month of the year seems counter-productive. Making honest changes is possible, there is no doubt that individuals do so every day, so why do we wait for a cold, hungover and depressing one?

Progress should not have to wait for a 1 January, a second semester or even a Monday. Having a wake-up call about your habits does not happen exclusively in week fifty-two to allow for a full system reboot on New Year’s Day. Bettering yourself is gradual – if you require one of three hundred and sixty-five days to start, then you are making excuses.

By Grace Kieran

Image via DaPuglet on Flickr

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