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F**k Off, New Year’s Resolutions

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Originally published last year; dusted off for 2014.

 

You’ll pardon my French – sacre bleu! – but New Year’s resolutions can eat it.

While 62 percent of Americans will make new year’s resolutions at some point in their lives, only 8 percent will ever accomplish them. That low percentage isn’t the reason I’m saying resolutions are bubkes (they aren’t), but what is bubkes is the mentality behind them.

Why do today what we can accomplish next year? That’s the problem.

My Aunt Robin –who never made resolutions – always thought New Year’s resolutions were stupid. Why wait for the first day on an arbitrary calendar to make a life altering change? January 1 isn’t the day to make a change. Right now is. If it happens to be on the first day, of the first month, of a new year, well good for you. I mean that.

Now, are resolutions stupid? No. Not at all.

Picking a day in the future to make a change is. It’s easy to rationalize that kind of decision, because that change is then while we’re living in the now. We’re humans, highly evolved animals, and what we can really understand is the present. The now. That instant gratification is hard-wired into our brains is widely accepted by the scientific community, but we’re still trying to understand why.

We can understand the cookies in front of us are delicious, but that case of Type 2 Diabetes we might give ourselves in 5 years? Who says that’s going to happen? Sure, if I eat a pack of delicious Oreo’s every day I might have health concerns down the road. But that’s then, this is now.

I could be a world-famous musician, or writer, or business executive. But right now I’m a lackey in a crummy job. But tomorrow I’ll start looking for work. Tomorrow. Not today?

Why? Because change is inconvenient. We want our cake (being better) but we want to eat it too (the work it takes to be better).

Is that unfair? Sure. But neither is a corporation having more rights than actual human beings. Sad, but true.

If you actually want to do something don’t fucking wait. You might be dead come the first of the year and then where will you be? Dead without having accomplished your dreams. Death comes to everyone, but only we have the power to control how we live.

Make a change now or wait until January 1, 2014. Or March 21, 2013; the Bahai New Year. Or November 3, 2014; the Islamic New Year. It’s up to you. I’m sure your time spent waiting for the next New Year, or the right moment, will pay off.

Jeremia Schrock holds a B.A. in History from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He writes a drinking column for the Alaska Commons and hosts a variety show on KSUA 91.5 FM. He enjoys whiskey, Formula 1 racing, and a bright color palette.

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