It’s that time of year again: you’ve woken up hung over for the fifth day in a row, the Christmas ham has taken on a greenish hue, and even your most dysfunctional friend, who you last saw taking a drag from a cigarette he picked up off the street outside Metro Fremantle, is starting to suggest that you “need to do some re-evaluating.”
The best way to combat your freshly cultivated paunch, withdrawal symptoms and the resentment of your ordinarily patient family and friends, is to approach 2018 with a fresh ‘new year new me’ attitude (or ‘new year new meat’ in the case of the rotting ham).
Your New Year’s resolution might be anything – from learning Portuguese to breaking out of prison – but the core principle behind it is the same: you have many shortcomings that must be addressed, one at a time, in a superficial, annual format. Too often do these lofty ambitions fall by the wayside amidst the realities of everyday life, but applying the right strategy to your 2018 reinvention can often be the difference between you remaining a human dumpster fire and fixing at least one of the multitude of issues that make you totally intolerable.
Rome wasn’t built in a day
How many times have you set yourself a target for the New Year that turns out to be totally unattainable? Going to the gym five days a week might seem like a reasonable undertaking when you’ve drunk yourself into a stupor, alone watching Charley Pickering host the fire-works on the ABC, but in the cold light of New Year’s Day, it’ll pretty quickly become apparent that you’re not only a bottom feeding couch slug, but also a defeatist. If you set yourself targets you know you have no hope in hell of achieving, you will resign yourself to the kiddie pool of self-loathing mediocrity that you have been wallowing in for the last five years.
The best way to live up to your #goals is to look for objectives that are achievable given the quality of person that you are. Instead of giving up drinking, why don’t you commit to giving up drinking during major military commemorations? (April 25th and November 11th) A book a week might be attainable for someone who isn’t drug-fucked, but re-learning how to read is probably something to work towards for someone in your position.
Pick your battles
While it’s important to make sure that as many people as is physically possible are told about your New Year’s resolution; they’ll be likely to dismiss it as the ramblings of someone on the brink of total collapse, owing to your demonstrably limited capacity for personal development.
Do not be deterred: if your friends and family don’t trust in your ability to do something as basic as staying hydrated, you should work towards even more incremental changes, year after year, until they finally start to believe that you are a functional human being with agency.
New Year Identical Me: Resigning yourself to consistency
If you can’t achieve even the smallest improvements to your living standards, you can still work towards maintaining the status quo. Not only does this drastically reduce the amount of effort you have to put into not fucking up nonstop for 365 days straight, but it also gives you a clearer idea of what your future will be like. The better, aspirational you is laced with a menacing uncertainty born out of a fear of progress, and you’ll quickly find that there is something deeply comforting about the toxic familiarity of having no expectations of yourself. Honestly, it’s already four days since New Years, you’re still drinking beer in the shower, and I’m not even convinced you know what Linkedin is, so I think sticking to your guns and aiming low is probably the best course of action.
Not only does this path allow you to nestle back into the warm embrace of base-line subsistence living, but you can also put a positive spin on it to win acclaim from loved ones. If you pretend that your New Year’s resolution was to drink only sewer water and exist on a diet consisting solely of a single stock cube and a cup of brown rice, you’ll find that people are actively impressed by your commitment to drinking only sewer water and eating like a North Korean political prisoner.
With the right attitude, a supportive community, and a good hard look in the mirror, you too can become the sort of person who, while profoundly broken and incapable of basic life-skills, can technically claim to have fulfilled their extremely limited aspirations for the New Year.
Hugh Hutchison | @ugh_hutch