January is almost over, and with this first month of the year the inclination to keep up our new years resolutions may also start to fade (if we didn’t already break them at five minutes past midnight that is). Sunny Singh discusses the unobtainable hallucination that seems to be our new years resolutions, and why they are so hard to hold.

Photo: Flickr by Kate Ter Haar

Netflix hates me. It lampoons any desire I have to be productive. To be creative. To be dynamic. It will not let me get out of bed. I lay here now weighted by the warmth of the duvet with a bag of nachos in one hand and the dip in the other, laptop pressed to my face. A quarter of the screen makes up this very article whilst the other three quarters throw Martin Sheen at me (Frankie and Grace, fantastic show. Watch it if you haven’t already) and I chuckle now and again. There’s a list on the side of my bed, shrivelled up on the floor. It doesn’t exist.

New Year’s Resolutions

Eat healthier

Cook a lot more than now

Increase stamina/endurance

Read 50 40 20 books for leisure

Read a book a week per module of extra reading

Learn to swim (because you’re 20 years old and it’s pathetic that you can’t)

Learn to ride a bike (see above)

Limit TV, spend more time reading articles

It’s January. I have time. The statistics, however, don’t look too promising.

Number of takeaways consumed: 21

Number of miles run: 0 (not including those to catch the bus)

Number of episodes of Friends re-watched: infinite

I’m terrible at to-do lists. I’m terrible at daily to-do lists. At weekly to-do lists. I don’t remember to buy groceries and by the time I do, the Domino’s menu is within reach. I open a book and clean my room. I wake up at six every morning only to drop the trainers and snooze till eight. How can anyone expect me to set a goal which spans an entire year? And therein lies the problem. We’re all doing it wrong. Other than being really annoying, there is something inherently wrong about the ‘New Year, New Me’ paradigm which floods Facebook every January 1st. There is an open secret people are choosing to ignore: You don’t need to change on New Year’s day, You can change anytime you want.

There will always be obstacles to getting what you want, (the nachos isle at Tescos requires me to walk all the way around the fruit and veg for example) no matter when it is you decide to make a change in your life. The key isn’t to do it on New Year’s day, the key is to do it right. We’ve all succeeded at something in our lives, however small the task, and we can apply that method of success to tasks that seem larger and more daunting that they actually are. Let’s get on with it.

Step 1: Set small, achievable goals that lead to something larger

Photo: Flickr

Break up what you want to achieve into individual, bite-size goals. Only you can decide what these are – but they must be big enough to make you feel good about yourself after you’ve achieved them.

Step 2: Stop procrastinating

Photo: Flickr by Wesley Fryer

Sub-step 1: Turn off Netflix

Sub-step 2: Put your phone on flight-mode

Sub-step 3: Log OUT of Facebook

Sub-step 4: Load up on snacks and food. Prepare meals in advance.

Step 3: Rest after each sub-task

Photo: Flickr Sandra Forbes

  Take a break, you’ve done good. For every hour you’ve worked, have 10 minutes of Chandler being witty.

Step 4: If you miss your own deadline, remove a period of rest

Photo: Flickr by rhodesj

No TV for you.

Step 5: Celebrate your success, then repeat

Photo: Flickr by John Haslam

Vodka optional.

Martin Sheen fades out of view and the credits roll. No, Netflix. I’m not still watching.