At some point in the last few years, New Years Resolutions became dumb. This isn’t surprising to me, because The People of The Internet—a society sent to destroy humans by turning traditional people and hip people against each other on obscure holidays—are good at what they do.
New Year’s Resolutions are dumb because you’re not going to keep them anyway. I understand this because I’ve made resolutions that I haven’t kept—I think this is the great challenge of life. Everyone goes through the same cycle: make a resolution, break it. Make it, break it, make it, keep it a little longer, break it. Repeat until you finally get it, you achieve your goal, and then die immediately.
Resolutions make us angry, though, because it literally means a firm decision to do or not to do something, and when we fail, we feel like losers. “Guess my firm decision wasn’t that firm, and now I’ll never make another firm decision because I might flake on that, too.” That’s why I stopped making them the past few years. Waste of time, I thought. Turns out if you don’t make a firm decision to do, or not to do something, you are subject to the whims of everyone else’s decisions and flow of everyday life.
“Where do you want to eat?”
“I don’t care, wherever you want to eat.”
“Oh I don’t care, wherever you want to eat.”
*blows brains out*
What if I commit and then I break my commitment when something better comes along? What if I’m married to this girl and another girl starts liking me? Kinda popular right now: Commitment is dumb and so is everything else you’ve always thought was good because we’re all just cells. (But also be spiritual because that’s cool.)
January second is a New Englander’s nightmare. The gym is packed—people are brimming with delusional optimism that this year could actually be different. Ugh. You know the ones: they have hope. Please just be miserable and realistic like the rest of us. You’re not going to make any big changes and you’re not going to succeed. Don’t set a goal that you’ll never reach, that’s setting yourself up for failure! Instead, keep failing and hope for a random push in the right direction!
Setting a goal is setting yourself up for failure. You set a goal when you want to achieve something, you don’t set a goal for something you already have. So every time that you don’t achieve your goal, you’re failing to achieve it—you’re failing. You weren’t failing before you set the goal, you were just living life and not accomplishing things that you wanted to do. Maybe you were accomplishing things that you didn’t set out to accomplish.
I want to write a book, but I don’t want to tell anyone that because if I don’t say it out loud, I’m not failing when I haven’t written a book. Freakin’ genius. Having that as a goal means that you need to put things in place to actually achieve it.
“People who explicitly make New Year’s Resolutions are ten times more likely to keep them.”
One of the many knocks on Millennials is that we want to make an impact immediately. We’re not good at waiting. We want to achieve goals by thinking them, and then saying, “ACHIEVE!” Like most generalizations about our generation, I think this is a mentality rooted in good that has produced some bad stuff. We’re excited about making a difference; we’re just not sure how to do it, and we’re upset when it doesn’t happen.
I’m starting simple by writing my resolutions. If you don’t have resolutions, it’s not too late to make a firm decision to do or not to do something. (42 percent of Americans have made a firm decision to not write down resolutions.) And yes, it’s important that you physically write them down and place them somewhere you will see them frequently. It does something in your brain. Find some resolutions, improve, and if you don’t keep them, you’re not alone—instead of throwing the list away, join in this great challenge of trying again.
Bart Tocci (’11) lives in Boston where he writes essays, performs at open mics, and threatens to start taco restaurants. He’s been told that he looks like the kind of guy who stands up for what’s right. And who goes to the store before the party. Read more here: barttocci.wordpress.com