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New Year's vows already flagging? Have some handy workarounds Add to ...

At the beginning of the week, it was Jan. 1, and you got up, tightened your belt, felt your morals create a little spiritual muffin top, and thought something like, “This year will be different! I will pay my taxes on time, and floss!”

Then, a couple of days later, you loosened that belt a notch or two and poured yourself a large bourbon to steel yourself against your yawning panic at the very idea of the next 12 months. How, only six days after you solemnly made your pledges, is it that your morals are wearing a figurative muumuu and you're eating mayonnaise for breakfast?

An idiot once said, “Shoot for the moon, and if you miss, you'll land among the stars.” This is patently false. You are not an astronaut. If you're hubristic enough to make a real go of jumping to the moon, you will simply find yourself in outer space without a proper suit, where you'll simultaneously asphyxiate and freeze to death.

Better to shoot for things in your own atmosphere. Shoot for, say, the garbage can, because the apple core will wind up at least near the can and someone is bound to come along eventually and put it in.

Here are a few other simple ways to rework your resolutions.


Declaration: “I will stop spending all my money as if I am Jay-Z.”

Infraction: You gave away a bunch of your cash, because life is expensive. You bought a house, some food and lots of pairs of spats. You had to! It's 2012 and if you're going to stand a fighting chance of making it through the year, you're going to need a safe place to live, a full stomach and elegant footwear.

But every time you made a purchase you closed your eyes, handed over your credit card and screamed, “ This isn't happening!” Now you owe $120,000 to various financial institutions.

Modification: Putting $500 a month aside for a rainy day was never going to happen. There was no way you were going to start using an Excel spreadsheet. (What is a spreadsheet, even? It sounds perverted.)

The smaller, achievable victory lies in not giving Apple $1,000 every time it makes a doodad that is one-eighth of a pound lighter than the doodad you currently own.


Declaration: I will finish my novel about fishing (or whatever big task has been causing me to suffer anxiety attacks and my doctor to prescribe me Klonopin).

Infraction: You have been playing a lot of Skyrim. Your character is already a Level 67 Spells-

word Werewolf and Archmage of the College of Winterhold. You are extremely dehydrated.

Modification: Drink some water from the tap and give the video game and console to your sad, repressed friend, whose life actually could be enriched by the experience of jumping off a mountain while riding a beautiful stolen horse.


Declaration: I will drink less alcohol and quit smoking whatever it is I'm smoking.

Infraction: You found $5 in the pocket of your old winter coat and celebrated by consuming a cheap bottle of Zinfandel and smoking 32 Craven A's, then yelled at passersby about how the vogue for cooking sous-vide is a “totally stupid [expletives deleted] trend!”

Modification: Put the money you find in your pockets in an empty peanut-butter jar until you can afford your own sous-vide machine, allowing you to enjoy this clever way of infusing meat with a complex flavour profile.


Declaration: I will make love to my partner more and empty the dishwasher when he/she asks.

Infraction: You kept saying to yourself, “Oh, what's the point?”

Modification: Just do it, you slouch! Both tasks simply involve stacking one thing on top of the other, and take only about 2½ minutes.

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