GREG RAY:  A resolution that suits

SINCE, contrary to expectations in some superstitious quarters, the world didn’t end late last year, some of us face at least one more cycle of resolution-making and resolution-breaking.

Psychic revisionists, who until recently were assuring us that a calendar left by the long-extinct South American civilisation known as the Mayans was clear on the date of our demise, have gone back to their crystals, runes and other whatnots to discover what the rest of us suspected all along. 

We don’t get out of it that easily.

Across that portion of the globe we fondly term ‘‘the developed world’’, those of us whose fate it is to gorge on excess – while trying to ignore the parlous condition of the majority of our fellow-beings – must confront our new year’s resolutions.

It should not surprise any of us that our resolutions typically fall into a small range of predictable categories.

In a society plagued by the remarkable challenges produced by life in a force-fed environment of almost-compulsory over-indulgence, one of the most common new year’s resolutions is to lose weight.

Most commonly made and most commonly broken, that is. 

Force-fed fad diets along with our oven-baked chips, we binge and regret until the new year rolls around again.

More exercise is the other big resolution, fuelling scores of gym memberships, many of which will languish after a visit or two. 

We’d be better off taking on a labouring job, of course, since directed, purposeful exercise of the unavoidable kind is generally streets ahead of boring treadmill work. But the frank reality is we’d rather not bother, so most of us who cross our hearts on January 1 and swear to sweat more in the year ahead will have another reason to be disappointed in ourselves, not later than March.

Getting out of debt is another biggie.

The lure of financial independence gleams like polished pecs in our mind’s eye. What must it be like to achieve that weightless, carefree state of blissful freedom? 

But in reality, we seem to love our burdens. Because so many of us, when at last we break free of our debt-slave bonds, can’t wait to sign up for another sentence, in the name of some new trapping of success with which to adorn our treadmills and our ruts. 

Getting ‘‘more organised’’ is another high-rating new year’s resolution.

But what does that actually mean? Do we want to better organise our space? Or is it our time?

Or is it both?

Speaking for myself, assuming I’m typical, I feel besieged by nagging obligations that the world continually thrusts in my way. Pay this bill. Remember this PIN number. Make this decision. No, that decision. Keep this piece of paper somewhere safe. Fill in this form. And that form. Send them here. Upload them there. Learn this totally new procedure that will now supersede every other one you had to learn before. Why are you confused?

Being ‘‘organised’’ is a full-time job and I don’t think I want any more of it, thanks.

Next? On the list of popular resolutions another biggie is ‘‘enjoy life more’’.

Now that’s a cause I can believe in. Just show me where to start.

Only problem is, how will I know whether I’ve succeeded? How will I know whether I’m enjoying my life more than I would have if I hadn’t changed anything?

I could embark on some great program of novel enterprises, only to be caught wondering whether I’d have been just as happy without them. 

Confusing. What’s left on the list of popular resolutions? Show more appreciation for other people, especially the nearest and dearest ones. 

Yep, that ticks the boxes. 

That’s my resolution for 2013. 

A lazy, grumpy lump, but a more caring one.  

PROMISES PROMISES: Many a resolution to attend the gym is broken before January is over.

PROMISES PROMISES: Many a resolution to attend the gym is broken before January is over.


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