Good resolution, bad resolution

By 12:39

Every year, on New Year’s Eve, we look back on the year; look at the accomplishments and setbacks. Then we take stock of all that we want to change and set a list of New Year’s resolutions. After the celebrations are over and normality sets in, the first week of January sees many people striving to achieve their resolution. By March, the resolutions are long forgotten.
Why? Is it a lack of willpower to achieve the goals we set out? Probably not. We set goals in everything we do: passing an exam, completing a task at work on time, hosting a dinner party – and we generally complete them successfully.
Maybe the resolutions we set are inherently difficult to achieve. Or maybe they are resolutions that you didn’t want to make in the first place. So here’s my guide on examples of resolutions that you want to set and one’s you should stay far away from.
Resolutions to throw out the window
1.       Lose weight
South Africa is said to be the third fattest nation so it probably tops many resolution lists and is the one that generally fails first. Sweating on a treadmill isn’t fun especially when you’re guilt-tripping yourself about pigging out during the festive season. The gym is a depressing place to be: the machines are overwhelming, you look silly trying to figure it all out, you sweat like a pig, muscles ache, and you don’t see the results until months of working at it. Rather convince a friend to join you to keep you going if you really want to do this.
2.       Quit smoking
Be honest, how many times have you stopped smoking and then started again a few months later? Then what makes you think it’s going to work this year? First figure whether you really want to quit. Most smokers really enjoy a cigarette with a drink, with a friend, after a meal – well, they just generally enjoy smoking so until you can truly say that the health benefits outweigh the pleasure of smoking, save this resolution for another year. It will be easier when you really want to.
3.       Be more healthy
I don’t understand why anyone would pick a side salad to add to their main meal instead of deep-fried golden crispy chips. The right foods help with weight loss and curb diseases but only if you’re consistent with a well-balanced diet. Some don’t take sugar in their hot beverages because sugar is bad for you but an apple has a lot more sugar than that. The majority of us love everything that is bad for us – but why not? Everything in moderation, I say. Life is short, eat what tastes good and enjoy it.
4.       Get out of debt
What? Ok, maybe you shouldn’t have ten maxed out credit cards although the banks are making this impossible. Surely, life’s more enjoyable cruising around in a car with a loan taken from the bank than walking around saving up for one to pay for with cash?
5.       Quit drinking
This one was probably made while recovering from the hangover of the year or in retrospect of the mess your drunken nights have gotten you into. So you had a brush with the law, dented your car, threw up in a club and went home with a stranger? Heavy drinkers fail to quit cold-turkey and stress is a lot more difficult to deal with without something to drown your sorrows in? Drink so you don’t take up regular weed smoking to deal with it.
6.       De-clutter
Organising your office and home takes up time and is boring. If you’ve got the time to do it, go right ahead. Chances are you’ll quit once you have one rubbish bag filled with things that need to be thrown out. Rather schedule no more than an hour on separate days to spend on each room in your house and once you’re done organising the little you can, treat yourself to an ice-cream. You’ll definitely deserve it.
Resolutions worth keeping
1.       Spend more time with family and friends
Work isn’t that important. Yeah, we need to work hard to pay the bills and be able to live a certain lifestyle but what’s the point of working so hard that you don’t even get to enjoy life. Free up your evenings and weekends for me-time and to spend with family and friends. Have fun with the people that matter the most to you and spoil them so they know they are appreciated.
2.       Volunteering
Time is scarce and if you have some to spare, use it to help those less fortunate than you. Play with orphaned kids or get some friends together to speak to South Africa’s future leaders about work and study options to uplift them. If you’re too busy, donate some money to a good cause instead.
3.       Take up a hobby
Most of us are stuck in an unsatisfying job in order to earn a living and our hearts lie somewhere else – something that doesn’t easily make us money but where we would easily be content for eight hours a day. If you don’t know what truly makes you happy, look back into your childhood and remember what you enjoyed doing. Maybe it was collecting or painting. Make the time, one night a week, to spend on something other than work and family. Read more, take up guitar lessons or learn a new language. 
4.       Have fun
A average weekday is spent waking up to go to work and coming back way too tired to do anything but recharge for the next day. This continues until the weekend comes, when we have the time yet we’re caught up with errands and pretty soon, Monday mornings wakes us up. The better part of our lives is spent working. We need to enjoy life and have fun. Have fun at work, spoil yourself with a few hours at the spa, play a video game with your brother, take your kids to the zoo and stop stressing – pretty soon 2012 will be here and you will look back at 2011 and wonder why you didn’t spend enough time enjoy the little things in life.

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