New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Change

My dearest gentlemen, it’s once again time to toast a new year. Hopefully you’ve got your party planned, sorted out your smooch, and acquired another increasingly difficult-to-wear set of numeral-shaped novelty glasses. But there’s definitely one thing I don’t care if you have: a list of resolutions.

Absolutely and without a doubt, I recommend that every member of humanity strive to improve themselves. But I also want the power of flight, millions of dollars without earning it, and for David Lynch to release a third season of Twin Peaks — at a certain point I have to be a little realistic about these things. I’m not saying some of you won’t hit the gym this January, giving it your best, but I’m guessing most of those membership cards will be pressed into your wallet harder than any presses you’re doing in February. Your well-balanced budget will survive exactly until the point that you drunk eBay stumble upon “dalek kegerator” and spend what was supposed to be your vacation fund for the year. Some of you will raise skeptical-but-health-conscious eyebrows at a veggie burger at least four times before you wake up in the middle of the night, dripping with meat sweats and snuggling the empty box of some local pizzeria, the receipt stapled to the top simply reading “XXL CARNIVORE.” How do I put this lightly…you’re bad at resolutions.

So if this sounds like you, what to do? Give up and sink slowly into a bathtub filled with Cheetos and regret? (Maybe, but not for too long.)

I propose to you a better way – a path that will lead you to pride without having to completely abandon those parts of your life that you love. In fact, I propose that your focus should be on maintaining the good you’ve done, and worrying about improvement down the line. I present: New Years Maintenance.

Have you actually gone to the gym this year a bit? Good – do it again this year, and don’t go a day less than you did. Have you successfully avoided drinking various tallboy cans of caffeine and unpronounceable chemicals? Order another year-long embargo. Did you actually visit your ancient relatives on a non-holiday visit and spend some time listening to their stories? You made their day – now do it again.

MAINTAIN! That’s the word of the day. It might not seem like much, but consider the best deeds/routines of your past that are no longer a thing. Nobody’s asking you to somehow instantly become a bike-riding fiscally-responsible yoga-teaching vegan soup kitchen worker overnight, but maybe you can at least strive to be the best you’ve ever been, if not yet the best you’ll ever be. Attrition is real, and all the January workouts in the world don’t change the fact that most of us have fallen out of good habits in some way or another. Find some good you do in this world, give yourself a tiny pat on the back for it, and keep it up.

And if you do find that you accidentally do some brand-new good in the coming year, guess what? You can maintain that do-goodery for the year after. And the year after that. By 2020, we’ll be living in a freaking utopia. YOU’RE WELCOME, EVERYONE.

 (If you have any New Year’s Maintenance Plans, by all means: share them in the comments! Help us become better people through the world’s most powerful force: internet shaming.)

Dan Morgridge plans to maintain his virulent humility for next year.

More from Dan Morgridge

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