Epiphoney Columns

A word on resolutions

We go down that hopeless path every year. Maybe this guide will help cushion the inevitable fall

It really doesn’t help that the word resolutions is so darned close to revolutions, for that is precisely the kind of expectations we set on the former. Men would sooner expect to give birth than kick a nasty habit just because it’s a new year!

So much for validating our existence, this undying need to refine ourselves annually. We should reconcile to the notion that we really are a pointless form of life, a waste of space and time in all schemes of things continuum really. But no. Instead, every year end, we allow ourselves to postulate plans for self-enhancement, well-knowing that we won’t see them through. This desire is still so strong because eventually we wish to be the version of ourselves that we admire, or the one that we put forth on Instagram. In that sense, a resolution can be seen like a long-term filter that we try to apply to our lives.

This handy not-wordy guide is to assist you down this hopeless path because, if you are wont to repeat this mistake every year, you might as well try and contain the damage.

1. Think small

Gandhi said, be the change you wish to see in the world. Those are ambiguous words, also big words — so aim smaller. Like change your underwear every day. That’s a start, hygiene. The sense of accomplishment may seem low, but at least this is one resolve you can see through to the end of the first week of the new year. Hopefully.

2. Be selfish

There are no rivals as far as self love goes, unless, of course, you suffer from multiple personalities. So invest in yourself; charity begins at home and all that. Think of what makes you happy and run with it. Caviar, puppies, and trick-turners, not necessarily in that order — find what you love and let it consume you. Or till your accountant tells you to reel it in.

3. Sock it to society

Nothing gets in the way of self-indulgent fun than wondering what others will think of it. But not you, you are a go-getter, or a go-snatcher, whichever, as long as you don’t get caught or have a solid alibi.

4. Falsifiability

This is the crux of all scientific theories. What this multi-syllable word says is that for a theory to be true there must exist premises, no matter how ludicrous, which can prove it to be false. The same applies to resolutions — if it can’t be proved to be infallible, then you are chasing a unicorn. But if failure comes in-built then you know you chose well, even if you revert to your old ways a few days later.

5. Time your results

The trouble with most resolutions is that they aren’t time bound. Why we believe that the midnight gong on the 31st of every December will change us forever is beyond me. So if you wish to get anywhere with your fanciful catalytic personality experiments, set a time frame to them. “I will ____ for ____ days.” Insert a habit and a time frame, where the time frame must be an integer no larger than say the days in a week. Don’t sneer, it’s a long time, God built the world in that much! Voilà, now you are all set. The sense of achievement here might lead you to make bigger mistakes, I mean, resolutions.

In failure, it is important to acknowledge inherent shortcomings as justification. Also excuses. Remind yourself that all human life is purposeless; even microscopic bacteria can turn milk into curd (but cooler yeast will turn everything into alcohol). So don’t sweat when the resolutions come crashing down around you.

This column is for anyone who gives an existential toss.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 1:01:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/a-word-on-resolutions/article25797888.ece

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