Covid be dammed, this year I fully intend making a bunch of new year resolutions that I have no intention of keeping. The pandemic can rob us of our health, our economic security, ability to travel and of our freedom, but it can never take away our ability to delude ourselves. That is and will always be ours.
Resolutions are not a new thing. From the time that man and woman walked the planet we have been making promises that we don’t keep. It is a rich tradition and one that is worth holding on to.
I have noticed in past years, that publications were filled with sage advice to assist us in getting our lives on track, and with wisdom around sticking to the goals and resolutions that we have set ourselves. This year these articles are glaringly and wonderfully absent. No one is advising me how to go from “Couch potato to 5km in only 10 easy minutes a day”, no one is promising me the tightest abbs the word has ever seen, and no one would have the “chutzpah” to even suggest a “Dry January.” Especially considering that medicinal alcohol (3 per day for 10 days and then repeat), is likely the only sensible way to face the year ahead.
Which is one of the reasons that 2021 could be our best year yet.
Consider the following: The one and probably only thing that most the world can agree on was how bad 2020 was. It was a year that started like any other, but then descended into an unimaginable reality. Even for those of us who annoyingly like to “reframe” things and look for the positive in any situation have had a pretty hard time convincing anyone that 2020 was a good year. Of course, there where lessons to be learned, perspective to be given, and there were some benefits to being locked in our homes with our teenagers (or worse). But on the whole, it was a pretty miserable time. And now that it is over, even us “glass half full” guys will admit that not only was it in reality half empty, but also, that what remained in the glass could possibly and would most likely kill us.
Whereas I am always petrified to use the “it can only get better” approach to horrible situations (because it can get worse), the reality is that we are coming off a pretty low base. When the mere survival of the year is considered an achievement, anything better than that has a good chance of making us happy.
Even if it’s for a little while.
What this means is that 2021 provides us with a once in a lifetime, not to be missed opportunity to make any resolution that tickles our fancy without the guilt of not sticking to it. Because no one expects us to stay with anything. And no one will be disappointed. More than that, even if we do, say eat healthy for 2 days (not including the nights when we binge eat), we can still pat ourselves on the back and be proud of ourselves. Compared to last year, we are already over achievers.
Alternatively, if that isn’t our style, we can “resolute” with less ambition than in prior years and still feel good about ourselves (if we compare it to last year). This year we get to peg our resolutions as low as we like. So, no more beer with breakfast? Even that was never something that you did, that’s cool. Shower every day, wear pants on working days, make a 250g slab of Dairymaid chocolate last 2 days. Actually, once just bake the banana bread you said you would. Cancel your fitness app subscription that you are paying for and not using. Watch only two episodes of The Queen’s Gambit a day, complete one of the 15 Udemy courses you have signed up for. In 2021, these the resolutions we get to make.
It cannot get better than that.
The first few months of 2021 will not be easy. In fact, the next weeks are likely to challenge us with severity. That is all the reason to go easy on ourselves, to cut ourselves some slack and to take ourselves a lot less seriously than we might have done. Because if there is one resolution worth making this year, it is to treat ourselves with the kindness with which we would treat others.