The best of intentions

I never understand why everyone is so disparaging about New Year’s resolutions.

Of course the gyms will not stay as busy as they are this month, and the joggers thronging the streets will return to a more usual number in a few weeks. Sales of cigarettes and alcohol will recover from their January slump, and the gap in units consumed between Tesco’s reduced-fat BLT sandwiches and their more calorific counterparts will soon narrow.

Everyone knows all this will happen, because people aren’t very good at making changes, and are even worse at sticking to them.

I happen to think that the will to change is arguably more important. Surely at least, recognising that life could be different, even in some small way, is worth something. And a willingness to try something out is even better, whether or not you stick to it. You never know, you might find that life is better with a pint in your hand, and that gyms are more hassle than they’re worth.

Of course you don’t have to make changes at New Year, but it seems a pretty natural time to begin – a little piece of punctuation in the year which makes you feel like you might have a bit of a fresh start. I have my usual implausible roster of resolutions, most of which were written last autumn and are entitled loosely ‘things to do – mid-term’ (so as not to tie myself down to accomplishing them this year). Glancing through the list, I reckon three out of nine have a reasonable likelihood of fulfilment.

Anyhow, a mate of mine observed lately that a new year turns us all temporarily into philosophers. I think I have just proved him right.

Happy New Year, one and all.

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