It’s that time of year when we’re all coming up with ideas on how to be the best versions of ourselves, making resolutions to ‘be better’ in 2020. Well, here’s one writer whose decided not to fall victim to the trend. “Make self-improvement resolutions for 2020? Not likely,” says Victoria Coren Mitchell…
This time last year I realised, finally, just how stupid New Year’s resolutions are. I was reading an article full of advice on how to stick to whatever resolutions you make. One of the sections was about saving money (one of the most popular resolutions, apparently), and the financial tips included: ‘Why not cancel your expensive gym membership you probably don’t use anyway?’ You can bet 90% of people only joined a gym in the first place because of a New Year’s resolution. What a miserable circle. In early January, hungover and full of self-loathing: take out a gym membership as part of a resolution to get fit. The following year, hungover and full of self-loathing: cancel the gym membership as part of a resolution to save money. In-between, you’ve burnt your way through a large sum of cash and a fat chunk of self-esteem. Well done, everybody.
Miserable resolution circles…
Here are some similarly sad circles:
- Resolve to go vegan for moral reasons. A year later, resolve to eat more meat for health reasons.
- Resolve to update your wardrobe, for style reasons. A year later, resolve to buy fewer clothes for environmental reasons.
- Resolve to read a newspaper every day for intellectual reasons. A year later, resolve to avoid the news completely for happiness reasons.
- Resolve to join three dating sites, for social reasons. A year later, resolve to get offline completely, for social reasons.
It’s just an endless cycle of beating yourself up and feeling guilty. Which is what women do all year anyway! What a marvellous festive treat, making a list of specific ways in which you’re failing, to sharpen up the general sense of failure that hovers like a ghost all the rest of the year, then tackling the problem by constructing a series of arbitrary goals, failing at them and feeling worse. Happy New Year! Cheers! Mine’s a hemlock Martini!
Things I’m NOT going to do in 2020
1. Eat more ‘healthily’
Nobody knows what healthy is anyway; the rules change every week.
2. Drink less alcohol
I simply don’t see what this would achieve. A longer life? It would just seem longer. If a couple of margaritas help take the edge off, good luck to me.
3. Take up a hobby
French? Salsa? The trumpet? Life isn’t one long episode of SA’s Got Talent. I’d either be terrible at those things, or brilliant but have nowhere to show them off. How frustrating. Better to just lie here.
4. Clear out the wardrobe
There are dresses in there I haven’t worn since 2002. This is a delicate ecosystem; it could be dangerous to remove them now.
5. Learn coding
I will do it the day my GP tells me I have 10 000 years to live.
6. Save money
What a stupidly vague notion. How much? R10 000? R50 000? Then what? I’d only spend it.
I’m suspicious of the entire concept of self-improvement. Nobody ever changes. If that boyfriend never stopped cheating on you, your sister never stopped belittling you, your boss never stopped underestimating you, then how come you’re suddenly going to be a more frugal, adventurous, accomplished, athletic version of yourself just because you said you would? I’m not going to improve. This lazy, forgetful, anxious, chubby, intermittently grimy and tipsy self is all I have. So, I might as well be philosophical. The world wants women to feel terrible about themselves. And I’m a contrarian, so I’m not going to change anything.
Written by writer Victoria Coren Mitchell