I’m resolute: no resolutions this year.

2 Jan

I mean what’s the point? Two days into the new year and resolve is crumbling. All over the civilized world, hapless souls in their millions have thought up life-changing new behaviours or privations to which they have committed. In the steeplechase of 2015 most will fall at the first fence but some will steer through the mess of fallen runners and riders and, as that luckiest of all steeplechasers, Foinavon did in the famous Grand National of 1967 , win against all the odds. At 100-1 and with his owner, Cyril Watkins, giving him no chance, the plucky steed navigated his way through the carnage of the 23rd fence and realised that 3/4 of the field were no longer in the race. Eleven only of 44 starters survived beyond that fence. The odds for new year resolutes are far, far longer. Just a few, a happy few, will be sitting smugly on NYE 2015 in the knowledge that they have scored some sort of victory. Pyrrhic? Probably. And who gives a toss?

I can hear do-gooders carping at my scepticism. They can trot out endless lists of genuinely life-enhancing changes that people can make. Cut out the bottle of vodka a day; phone granny once a week rather than once a month; actually give the Red Cross some money rather than using their Christmas card for free. The list is endless. Gym memberships soar in January, apparently; sales of chocolate, beer and cake plummet. Bicycles pour forth, de-rusted, from asbestos sheds; libraries experience a surge of borrowers; TV ratings fall. Simon Cowell and the Strictly crew aren’t stupid.They know that telly-sloth peaks before the old year is out so all reality and other banal TV fodder must, must, must be done and dusted before Big Ben chimes at midnight on the 31st.

I have friends who have serious faults which they should have addressed years ago. From tight-fistedness to cup-half-empty syndrome; from the unpunctual to the impolite; from sexist to other ‘ists’, I have a pretty full set of flawed acquaintances. The thing is, I like them like that. If any of them resolved not to be annoying for 2015, it wouldn’t be them would it?

Imagine my friend Geoff announcing, “I insist on buying the first beer every time I walk into a pub this year!” Or Gill proclaiming, “I know that I have been unreasonable about immigrants so I’m going to give my spare room, rent free, to a Polish builder.” It isn’t going to happen is it? Moreover Geoff and Gill wouldn’t be the same people if they made such seismic shifts. You might be thinking that my friends don’t sound very nice anyway. Well, as my Dad once told me, “You don’t pick your friends son; somehow they pick you.”

Resolutions should be made when the spirit is resolute, not when we are at our weakest, bloated with turkey sandwiches and midnight champers. The distractions of Ben Haenow, Ant and Dec, Sir Alan and Miranda are lost in the mists of Christmas past. We are prey to that dastardly of all illusions: hope. Now they say that it is better to travel in hope than to arrive. New Year resolutions work counter-intuitively, you arrive on 1st Jan before you’ve had time to travel in hope. Disaster.

 

(ps I hope my friends Geoff and Gill will forgive me)

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