Penance or Pleasure

So the holidays are over and we’re a few weeks into the New Year.  How are those New Year resolutions going for you? Have you lasted only a day, or maybe you’ve managed to stick to your guns for longer?

Who the heck came up with this idea anyway? This idea that we need to change something in our lives, however trivial it might be, kick starts a whole philosophy that occurs on an annual basis across the globe. Marked by a key date, 1st January, the philosophy commences by igniting in us a sense of guilt, of indulgence and more alarmingly, a sense of inadequacy that one feels compelled to change in some way. At least, that’s the way I feel about it!

Seeing the bulging exercise classes in my gym is proof of this. It’s not just an attempt to shift a pounds gained over the festive season. It’s a driven need to start the year as you mean to go on. The whole thing smacks of very unnecessary penance.

I’ve had various resolutions over the years: to lose weight, to give up sugar, to stop eating sweets, to go to bed earlier, to write more. It’s a sad fact but due to having a shockingly bad short term memory, I’ve usually forgotten my ambition within the first two weeks of the new year! I’m hopeless!

I read a newspaper article that lifted the mantle of guilt that I wore. According to the article, most resolutions started at the start of the year, or at the beginning of a week, are abandoned. That’s why you’re always advised never to start a diet on a Monday. Whether it’s true or not is irrelevant, I was just delighted and hugely relieved to read it.

These days I forego all attempts at setting myself annual resolutions. Here’s my humble advice, garnered from years of experience: Sit back, chillax and forget about feeling compelled to deprive yourself of some harmless pleasure. If you want to make strides towards self-improvement, whether it’s weight loss, or learning a new skill, it’s far easier and more achievable to set regular goals throughout the year. Instead of giving up something, aim to enhance your life by adding to it.

So 2013, bring it on!