Four New Year's Resolutions You Might Actually Keep in 2016

Well, it's that time of year again, and this time we're staring down the barrel of the year 2016. To all of you future space-people reading this thousands of years from now, yes, we do have hoverboards in 2015 and they are exceptionally stupid.

Also, they don't even hover.

The start of the New Year is traditionally the time of year when everyone is expected to make meaningless, empty promises to transform themselves into a goddamn ubermensch in the coming calendar year. We're all fat, procrastinating assholes on December 31st, and we'll all be fat, procrastinating assholes by January 17th, but in those intervening days, it's socially acceptable to undergo the sort of abrupt personality change that would ordinarily qualify you for a psychiatric assessment. Everyone knows that you're going to sweat through exactly three sessions with Ricardo the personal trainer before you're too busy eating Doritos to return his calls, but you're still expected to go through the charade of declaring that this will be the year you stop having upper arms the shape and consistency of a swiss roll.

And it's time to cut that shit out.

And with swimsuit season just around the corner.

The thing about resolutions is that you have to resolve to do something that actually gets done; otherwise, New Year's stops being a time to better ourselves, and instead becomes a contest to see who can tell the most interesting lies, and we already have Halloween and Valentine's day for those, depending on your age. Well, I say no more. Last year, I gave you four great, easily-accomplished resolutions that rocked your world all through 2015, and I think we can all agree that you're a better person for having come out the other side of those in one piece. So in 2016, let's keep the spirit of accomplishment going, and resolve to:

1. Avoid Contracting Leprosy

Leprosy is a chronic bacterial infection that permanently disfigures its victims and leaves them vulnerable to infections that eventually take their limbs and digits. It's been around so long that sufferers used to get foot rubs from Jesus, and it's so reviled that people with leprosy used to live in their own fun little colonies of shame, which were a lot like ant colonies, except that they were above ground and didn't have a queen and no one had the correct number of appendages.

So nothing at all like an ant colony, actually.

The World Health Organization has considered Leprosy to be globally eradicated since the year 2000, with less than 1 case in 10,000 people. Most countries are completely leprosy-free, and it only persists in exactly the sort of places where you would expect to find an ancient, flesh-ravishing plague. Even old-timey people whose medical knowledge stopped at "let's hang out in damp, enclosed rooms with sick people and stick our dirty fingers in their open wounds" knew enough to stay the fuck away from leprosy. And this year, you too, are going to resolve to avoid catching it.

And Jesus said unto them "Ick, get the fuck away from me."

This is a great resolution for two reasons. Firstly, it's very hard to achieve anything while your body is being ravaged by a poorly-understood, eons-old bacterial rage. You might not have realized this, but every single thing you might hope to achieve this year hinges on you not contracting leprosy. Getting fit is challenging, but it's way more challenging when you're barred from touching any of the gym equipment due to your unsettling facial growths. And good luck advancing your career when you're forced to call in sick three months in a row because all the cartilage in your fingers is retracting into your body. Getting engaged, finishing school, writing the Great American Novel, growing the largest butternut squash in your county - whatever your goal, I guarantee that it's much harder to accomplish when you're covered in painful and disfiguring lesions.

Leprosy pictures are too gross for my blog, so here's a picture of a sad pug instead.

And secondly, this resolution is a great confidence booster because you literally don't have to do anything to achieve it. As long as you stay within the bounds of a developed nation or reasonably nice developing-world city, you are guaranteed to not contract leprosy. Even if you are chained to a urine-stained mattress in your captor's garage, you can still feel good about yourself because at least you didn't contract leprosy.

In order to fail this resolution, you would have to go out of your way to book a flight to one of the few countries where leprosy has managed to limp along into the 21st century. We're all thinking about India right now, so let's just say India. You would then need to leave the medium-to-large city where your plane landed, and somehow obtain transportation to an impoverished rural area with poor sanitation, which will be difficult for you because you're a fucking idiot, as evidenced by your desire to contract a disfiguring infectious disease. Even if you could find a group of people suffering from leprosy, you would then need to convince them to sneeze all over you, repeatedly, because as you'll soon find out, leprosy isn't even all that contagious. And even if you do all that, leprosy is easily cured or prevented with basic antibiotics, and, when caught early enough, causes no lasting damages.

Thumbs-up for still having thumbs!

Basically, if you can take the steps required to become a full-blown Biblical leper, you are beyond the help that New Year's resolutions can provide. For the rest of us, this one is an easy win. 

2. Make a Sex Tape

Get out your video camera and put away your shame, because 2016 is the year you finally make a sex tape.

Tape itself it strictly optional.

The content doesn't actually matter; it's totally up to you and the partner or partners of your choosing. Don't have a partner? Doesn't matter, so long as you have margarine and an imagination.You are limited only by the amount of Lysol you have on hand. It doesn't matter if it's a chaste, grainy clip of yourself and your lawfully wedded spouse dutifully procreating for the glory of Jesus Christ, or a full-length, high-definition, four-way, mud-wrestling, interracial, BDSM free-for all. So long as you're naked, sweaty and compromised, it'll do. You're aiming to make the sort of video that you wouldn't show to Grandma, is what I'm saying.

Although that really depends on your grandma. 

Now, I could tell you that this resolution is all about being body-positive. I could tell you that it's all about celebrating love and human sexuality in all its many forms. We could pretend that this is an exercise is combatting shame and fighting back against the notion that our bodies, especially women's bodies, are something to be hidden away. But that would be bullshit.

I speak only in lies. 

See, if there's one thing that my favourite books and television shows have taught me, it's that there's nothing more exciting than a big, juicy secret. Life with a huge secret is just more fun. There's no greater thrill than constantly teetering on the edge of social ruin, while you frantically try to uncover the secrets of the people around you. But very few people are actually walking around with Spanish-soap-opera quality secrets. Even venues like PostSecret, that offer total anonymity, are barraged with banal, predictable things - "I miss my estranged family member", "I don't love my husband", "I killed a hitchhiker in 1986 and hid his body under the pine boughs in the ditch off Highway 17". Boring. What you really need is the hidden knowledge that somewhere, in the depths of your hard drive, a video of you humping a terrified donkey exists.

Plus, hey, that's how Kim Kardashian got famous, so you never know.

3. Start and Abandon a Blog

Blogs are great. For exactly $0 (or $12 per year if you want to reserve a fancy URL like you can endlessly vomit your opinions onto the internet for all the world to see. Sure, you can do the same thing on Facebook, but then you have to share the spotlight with updates from friends, photos from family members, poorly spelled racist rants from embarrassing former classmates, and thinly veiled advertisements from that official Nike page you don't remember liking. On your own blog, it's just all you, all the time.

All me, all the time.

The process of building a blog is a character-building experience that will teach you a lot about yourself. For one thing, you'll quickly discover that you fucking hate every single free blog template in existence. You'll also learn that you lack both the talent and attention span to make your own. After two hours of struggling with HTML code that you kind of, sort of remember from that one time you tried to change the background of your MySpace page, you'll end up giving up and settling for a hideous default background that will assault the eyes of visitors until the Earth is sucked into a dying sun. 

[internal screaming]

Your first post will be a stilted, uninteresting mess, as you awkwardly list off fun facts about yourself and fight back your dawning horror that you're just not that interesting as a person. You'll tell the readers your name, your location, and the names of all your pets. You'll probably tell us where you went to school, and throw in a photo from that one time you did a semester abroad because it remains the most noteworthy thing you've ever done. And you'll definitely tell us, with fake, stumbling cheer, that you've always wanted to start a blog and never got around to it, and you're not totally sure what sorts of things you want to write about, but you'll definitely be adding a new post every week. Maybe every day, if you're ambitious.

I can't even spell the word.

Then comes for the tricky part. For the next month or so, you'll need to make a valiant, half-assed effort to be a blogger. My average post ranges from 2,000 - 6,000 words (if you read this blog regularly, I've tricked you into reading the equivalent of a full-length novel every year), but there's no reason to make them that long, or add pictures, or even write on a consistent theme. Just write something down. Post whatever vapid, navel-gazing bullshit you please. Pictures of your cats would be a solid choice. So are 500-word text posts about mundane family drama. Share your favourite home remedy for vaginal itch. All that matters is that, gradually, your posts become further and further apart. Over time, each and every one should start with a flustered explanation of how busy you are, and a promise to start posting more often. 

Eventually, you'll post two or three elaborate apologies for not posting more often, and then lapse into eternal silence, your blog spluttering out like the proverbial dying star it was always doomed to be. 

Good night, sweet blog.

This exercise will make you a better person in two important ways. One, you'll finally realize what a fuckton of work it is to maintain a blog. The next time you catch someone rolling their eyes at a professional or semi-professional blogger because, my goodness, that's not a real job and anyone could do that, you tell them to take that ridicule and shove it firmly up their own asshole, because writing quality shit on a weekly basis is hard. You know, because you tried it and failed spectacularly.

This is you as a blogger.

The other great thing about having an abandoned blog floating somewhere out there on the internet is that, years from now, it'll give you a great laugh. Years from now, something in a conversation will suddenly remind you of that piddling little blog you wrote for six weeks in 2016. "I can't believe it's still up!" you'll exclaim, as your odious yellow template strikes your retinas and burns them clean off. Old blogs are like the abandoned Neopets account or Livejournal that you once had; they're an amusing relic from your past that you can laugh at from time to time as you move on to newer, equally stupid internet pursuits. And that's priceless. 

4. Shamelessly Love Something Super Lame

I love genealogy. When all of my friends are presumably out taking body shots off a frosty Edmonton hooker, I spend hours upon hours squinting at old, handwritten census records, trying to find out if my great-great grandfather was a broke farmer, or a broke farm labourer. I can trace my paternal grandfather's side back eleven generations, to the first Acadians who landed on the shores of Port Royal and were promptly told to get the fuck out. I've traced direct ancestors to the Irish potato famine, the trenches of WWI, and the penal colonies of Australia.

Now you stay there and you think about what you've done.

Even if you'd rather carve your eyeballs out of their sockets than spend a few hours of your time learning about the forgotten men and women whose lives and struggles and triumphs shaped the person you are today, you ungrateful bastard, there is at least one thing that you love that is decidedly uncool. There is some hobby or passion in your life that's so embarrassing, you'd rather switch over to a dwarf porn video than get caught reading its Wikipedia page. Maybe it's stamp collecting. It could be your secret Daffy Duck tattoo. It might be a person, like the sort of person who insists on dressing like a member of an 80's hair metal band at all times for reasons unknown. Whatever it is, it's time to unabashedly love it in 2016.

Love something as much as this guy loves lightbulbs.

So go ahead. Put your love of coin collecting on a t-shirt. Lug your D&D books around in public with pride. Get a prominent tattoo that reads "I very much enjoy watching reruns of old sitcoms from the 90s". Because, let's face it, each of us only gets so many new years. We only get to ride this rock for so many laps around the sun. Let's not spend them desperately clicking to a new tab every time someone catches us looking at knitting patterns. Love what you love. You do you, all through 2016 and beyond.

Happy New Year's!

1 comment

  1. These are great! I think I'll skip the sex tape, though. Terrifying donkeys just seems cruel, though at least I'd get some lovin' that way. Hmmm...


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