By John Jannuzzi for GQ.
The Secret to Keeping Your New Year's Resolution? Start Today... and Don't Tell Anyone.
We've arrived at that month where the finality of 2015 is suddenly a reality. Now that we're in the last twelfth of the year, all the things you did, the things you didn't do, and the things you wish you'd done and/or hadn't done are coming into sharp focus. It's a time for reflection, a time for texting weird things to exes, and of course, a time for celebrating. In the hubbub of all of this, you're likely to start setting goals for your 2016 self with grand and delusional New Year's resolutions. From the tail end of 2015, 2016 you looks like a much more fit, happy, and wise individual. People always look like that from a distance.
Most of us will rocket through this month living with abandon -- filling up on Christmas cookies, spending wild sums of money, and generally living as though on January 1, we'll begin a completely different way of life. Well, I, the eternal buzzkill of my generation, am here to assure you of what you already know. That's all bullshit.
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The failure of New Year's resolutions is a tradition as old as making them (it dates back to ye olde Babylon). Not that self-improvement is worthless, of course, but that forced expectation of 1/1/16 is a very tall order. So my question to you is: Why wait?
It's December 1. You've got 30 days until the new year dawns. That's 30 days of progress you can make before the masses attempt to better themselves and take up all the machines at your gym. "I'm gonna do it," they say to friends as they savor their "last" plate of cheese fries covered in chocolate sauce. Instead of waiting, use this time to get familiar with a routine so that when your champagne-full belly rolls in on January 1, you'll know exactly what to do and even have a slightly better physique than you do right now.
A resolution that begins with the new year brings an enormous amount of pressure. Inevitably, at some godawful holiday party, an acquaintance will badger you about what you're planning to resolve. They'll hold you to it, as will your friends, your co-workers, and your Instagram followers. Starting now frees you of the bondage of expectation -- be free! I'd also hazard that the shared understanding that New Year's resolutions often fail is in itself a justification to just drop them once you slip up a little bit.
Presumably, you're a grown adult by now. And grown adults understand that the key to living healthy is to form good habits, which research suggests takes about 21 days to take hold. As such, if you have something you'd like to change about your life, take control and do it. You have nothing holding you back from this supposedly better version of yourself that is living in the future. (Spoiler: THERE IS ONLY THE NOW.)
The notion that you have to wait to improve something is straight-up silly. And you're not silly. You're smart, and motivated, and you're the master of your universe. You could defy the laws of time and space and bring future you into the now! You're essentially empowered to control time, the cosmos, and everything around you, like a galactic wizard with abs. Go out and find your dream job before somebody else does, cut out the sugar now (you brave soul), start drinking less if you really want to today (don't use the holidays as an excuse), do whatever you've gotta do. Because honestly, if you really want to change, what's stopping you?
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