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You Say You Want A Resolution

"I can't believe it's a year since I failed to become a better person" was a popular meme on my Farcebook feed as 2017 dawned.

In much the same way as New Year's Eve is always a disaster or at best an anti-climax, New Year's Resolutions are doomed to fail. The pressure is simply too great. Blue Monday - the day when most of us crumble - has become as much a regular fixture of the annual calendar as Christmas.

According to The Sun (spit) "A study from University of Bristol found that 88 per cent of people who make New Year's resolutions fail - while the NHS reckon only one in ten of us will be successful". Fucking hell, The Sun - 88% failure and one in ten success is THE SAME FUCKING THING YOU TWATS.

Nevertheless, virtually every single guide to being more successful / happier / comfortable in your own skin etc says that swapping bad habits for good ones and setting goals is the key to success. The problem is most people choose goals that are unrealistic and doomed to failure.

With that in mind, I thought I'd embark on a year of manageable, bite-sized challenges of exactly one week.

I'm kind of making up the rules as I go along, but essentially the deal is:

Declare one new resolution at the start of each week and post it on the interweb so people know (which makes it more tangible and harder to back out of).

Old resolutions can by carried over / extended, but the new one has to be one I've not done before in 2017 so that by the end of the year I've got 52 individual resolutions.

Since they're only a week long, the success rate should be high, but because there's another one coming along in a jiffy, failure is not the terrible morale-crushing tragedy it might otherwise have been.

Got the idea?

Here's how it's been going so far:

Week 1:

No alcohol
No caffeine
Walk to and from work every day

Week 2:

NEW - No Nicotine
No alcohol
No caffeine
Walk to and from work every day

Week 3

NEW - No buying anything
No nicotine
No alcohol
Walk everywhere

Week 4

NEW - Attempt the Evening Standard crossword every night
No nicotine
No alcohol
Walk to and from work every day

Week 5

NEW - 20 sit ups a day
NEW - stick something on eBay every day
No nicotine
Walk to and from work every day

The biggest personal achievements have been going the whole of January booze free (full disclosure - had a thimble of whisky at a Burns' Supper and a complimentary brandy at a meal on the 31st to celebrate making the end of the month) and now a month without vaping or smoking. Giving up vaping is much easier than giving up fags so I'd recommend that as a stepping stone to anybody struggling, although not drinking is probably the real secret here.

The two weeks without caffeine were difficult - but I've managed to keep consumption to much lower levels than previously and almost always restrict it to mornings only.

Walking to work has been a revelation. Much easier than I thought and infinitely more enjoyable. It's a great start to the day and I've been listening to some interesting and fun documentaries from iPlayer radio on the way which makes it good for mind and body. More difficult is walking further afield or home if I've been out late. I've used public transport about ten times in total this year and saved about 100 quid. On the downside I've got a massive bruise on my left heel and can barely walk.

The not spending anything for a week malarkey was the hardest. It would have been easy to cheat and pre-order a Tesco delivery for arrival mid-week but I went for the harder option of doing it properly. The first few days were okay but got harder when I ran out of milk and had porridge made with water for breakfast. By the weekend I was having studenty meals like rice and tinned tomatoes. Social situations were awkward so a special shout out to everyone who bought me alcohol-free beverages during this period. Also the long walks were harder when I couldn't buy a banana or coffee to perk me up on route. Quite a nice sense of stoic martyrdom when I finished that one though.

Haven't quite decided what to do for Week 6 yet. Any suggestions (keep it clean)?


Feb. 6th, 2017 06:32 pm (UTC)
I hope it's an actual bruise on your heel and not plantar fasciitis since one will go away easily and the other won't!

I've been walking to/from work more often than I might have done after being inspired by your resolution, though not as often as I'd like as I'm rubbish at being on time and often still have to get the bus to get to work on time.
Feb. 6th, 2017 09:38 pm (UTC)
I made the mistake of looking that up. Sounds fun. I think it's just due to too much walking. Should probably ease off a bit soon.

I am very pleased that this experiment is being a good influence. Just don't overdo it like me!

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