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The lifecycle of a New Year resolution

Given the scheme of things, January 10th is touted as the date by which 95% of the people that bothered to make resolutions have broken them. Why 'new year' resolution and not new month, new week or new day resolution? The New Year gives us a false notion of excess time. 365 days to change everything we don't like about ourselves. If a careful analysis were to be done, all resolutions follow a pattern, much like a product lifecycle.

To put this into perspective, let’s put the lifecycle of a universal resolution under the microscope- one to lose weight and get fit. Your neighbour speaks glowingly of the princely sum she paid to look like a princess at the swanky new gym - and taunts you by saying she'll be unrecognisable in a few weeks. The newest lifestyle magazine in tow says love handles are injurious to attraction. The celebrity doctor says you live longer if you minus the extra flab and the sex doctor says your love life will give the neighbours insomnia. The benefits of losing weight are beginning to add up - long life, wild sex, and eternal youth. So you zealously enter the first stage of the resolution cycle - intention.

Intention is the stage where all you need to do is go around telling people (and yourself) that you are going to change in the New Year. As history will show, it is the stage in which most of mankind is indefinitely stuck. Try and find someone without good intentions. But a serious few make it to the second stage – resolve. This stage is where one goes out and buys an overpriced pair of running shoes, strikes biscuits off the grocery list and resolves to keep a calorie count each day.

On day one, you are dutifully presented with your first challenge - a piece of chocolate lava cake that has somehow made its way to your table. Immediately, you shift to a new age mantra where you are taught to visualize all that can go wrong if you ingested that luscious piece of cake. Clogged arteries; love handles that won't get you a vegetable juice date at the gym. Then you introspect. If the world went to nuclear war tomorrow and this was your last day, would you spend it denying yourself a piece of chocolate lava cake? And you slyly enter the third stage of the lifecycle- compromise.

The cake is delicately cut into half, with a self made promise that you will put aside the other half. Much to your outer dismay but inner delight, the lava comes gushing out. It is obvious at this point that the cake cannot be saved for another day. The sensible decision is to enjoy the cake and make a new sub-resolution – no more lava cake that will tempt you to break your resolution. But for this moment, the resolution lays suspended and you shamefacedly enter the fourth and final stage of the cycle – defeat. And the short life of the resolution meets an untimely end.

The New Year resolution is an industry in its own right. For where will all the people who depend on it do for a living? Who will shelter the health food stores, the gyms, the nicotine patch manufacturers and buy the motivational books? It is all because of the New Year resolution. The perfect way to get a new start – on old habits.


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