With Christmas now behind us, the time has come to reflect on another year gone by. As the calendar prepares to flip from 2017 to 2018, many of you might be tempted to take this opportunity to finally tackle your personal shortcomings. “New year, new me,” is a way overused cliche you’ll see hashtagged on Instagram as those Insta-models you follow crow about how they’re going to lose that extra five pounds of fat you both know she doesn’t have. For most of us, these well-intended resolutions will be left by the wayside like half-finished projects by the start of March. This year, I’d like to suggest we all drop the act that we’re going to follow through with these resolutions.
Rather than resolving to completely change your lifestyle at the stroke of midnight, I propose an alternative solution: just don’t get worse. You know that you’re not going to completely overhaul an aspect of your personality that’s been ingrained in you for 18 plus years, so do the bare minimum and keep yourself from becoming even more of degenerate. So don’t bother with these most popular resolutions for 2018, according to a Marist Poll. Instead, just do it half-assed and make sure that 2018 you is at least as good as 2017 you.
Instead of “lose weight,” don’t gain any more weight.
At the stroke of midnight on December 31, step onto the scale. Take a good look at that number. That is the ceiling, the upper limit which you must not cross again for the next 365 days. You can stuff yourself for the rest of 2017, and stand on the scale with one last eclair bite in your mouth like the whole crew from the Office did before the weight loss challenge (we all know Utica cheated).
Remember, the key to weight loss is 90% diet. It’s a simple formula of calories in vs calories out. But we both know that you’re too lazy and weak to work on a calorie deficit day after day. You’re not going to go full keto, paleo, Uno, or whatever trendy diet this next year might bring. At some point, you’re going to wake up hungover on a Sunday morning and want cheese fries, calories be damned.
But if you’re really committed to dieting, my recommendation would be to ease into it. Do you want to go vegan to get healthier? Just do it for two days out of the week to start. Even the weakest of us can stomach living on salads for just a couple of days right? You need a caloric deficit of about 3500 calories to lose one pound. If dieting just a couple days a week brings your balance down even 500-1000 calories, you’ll be down 10 pounds by the time 2019 rolls around!
Instead of “spend less/save more,” don’t overdraw.
Just like with the example of your weight, take a look at your bank account. Your goal for the year is to stay in the black as long as possible. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have debt, of course, you’ll still have that fat amount of student loan debt staring at your every month. Same goes for credit card debt or a mortgage.
All you’re looking for here is to avoid the embarrassment of getting an “insufficient funds” notification at the ATM. If you gotta open a fourth credit card, do it. It’s not like you’re going to pay off those first three anyway. If it means selling your plasma, kidneys, or ovaries to pay your rent, you will. If it means faking your death to get out of your student loans, well that’s not going to work because for some fucked up reason that’s one of the only loans not dischargeable on death or bankruptcy.
One thing’s for sure, though. You’re not going to try to save money by cutting back on your drinking. How else, besides alcohol, are you going to be able to cope with these hard financial times?
Instead of “exercise more,” cancel your gym membership.
Let’s be frank, there’s a reason you don’t go to the gym already, and that reason won’t change in 2018. Going to the gym can suck. It’s boring, the machines you want are always taken, there’s some weird guy who’s always staring at your ass (Glenn if you’re reading this, I’ve told you a million times I don’t need a spotter for squats), and seeing all the beautiful people who are in shape without even trying can be demoralizing.
Instead of forcing yourself to drive to the gym and do a half-hour routine half-heartedly, a better option is to find something that doesn’t feel like a workout. Whether it’s playing pick-up basketball, working out on the Wii, or yoga at home, do something that you won’t dread all day at the office. And cut yourself some slack if you miss a day here or there. Sometimes taking a little break from your workout will actually make you miss it, and you’ll come back motivated.
Oh and, for the love of God, don’t sign up for a gym membership during January. It’s their busy season when all the New Year noobies are coming in. They’re going to trap you with high rates and a long-term contract that you’ll be trying to get out of in April.
Instead of “get a better job,” don’t get flamed out during your yearly performance review.
I hate to be the one to drop a heavy dose of truth on you, but most people don’t love their jobs. Most of us make an actual living by doing something that isn’t incredibly stimulating. Not everyone grows up to be a firefighter, an artist, an astronaut, or a professional video game streamer. But if you have a job that you’re good at, with co-workers you like, that pays you reasonably, and you don’t dread going into the office every morning, you’re in pretty good shape.
Don’t feel bad that you’re not working your perfect job, and don’t put a ton of pressure on yourself to go out there and find your dream job. As someone who had to do a bit of a job search before transitioning jobs earlier this year, being unemployed or not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from can be scary. If that dream job opportunity comes along, great. If you think you can find another position in your current field that pays more, go for it. Otherwise, if you’re at a job you don’t mind, getting paid a decent wage, just ride out 2018 without getting fired and call it a win.
Instead of “be a better person,” maintain your borderline trash personality.
The most popular resolution for 2018 according to the poll, and the one I–a known overly self-critical man–think we all need to chill out on. Do you have friends? A spouse or partner who cares for you? A dog that loves you whenever you come home? A cat who doesn’t claw your eyes out when you come home? You’ve avoided jail and/or arrest for violent crimes? No one’s spat in your face, called you a “monster,” or wished you burn in hell?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’re fine. As long as you aren’t going out of your way to hurt people, emotionally or physically, and you’re not killing hobos ala Patrick Bateman, you can cut yourself some slack.*
Now, if you’re truly unhappy with yourself, you feel trapped in your own mind/body, or you are truly convinced that you’re a bad person despite answering yes to those questions, go see a professional. Seriously. There’s no shame in admitting that you’re not mentally healthy, and it’s no different than seeing a doctor when you’ve felt like you had the flu for the last month. And if you can’t afford it without breaking your resolution not to overdraw your account, let me offer you this free advice: you are a good person.
If you answered yes to those questions up top, and you truly aren’t trying to cause harm to others, that’s really the best any of us can do. You might rub people the wrong way sometimes, and you might hurt them out of carelessness, but as long as you try to fix it that’s all anyone can ask. You’re fine the way you are, as long as you’re trying your best.
Stay away from resolutions. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to change. Just do your best to be healthy and happy. That’s all anyone can really ask. Happy New Year to you all, and I’ll see you for some more fire content in 2018. .
*Note: this advice does not apply if you are the current President of the United States. Be a better person dude.