The Predictably Short Life of a New Year Resolution


The Predictably Short Life of a New Year Resolution

Illustration: Akshita Monga

January 10 is the day 95 per cent of the New Year resolutions will die.

The death will be a slow and agonising one because it began on the day of the birth… the day the intention was born. That day started out like any other. As the resolution-maker went about his business, fitting his magnificent arse on the ridiculously small airplane seat on the way to his holiday, his fellow traveller sighed loudly bringing home a distinctly Nicole Arbour feeling. Then when he reached home with a bag full of dirty clothes and love handles that belonged to an oversized urn, Vogue or something immensely trendier declared that love handles are injurious to attraction and must be barred on Tinder in 2018.

The celebrity doctor in the same issue chipped in with advice on longer lives, the sex doctor on longer nights, and the celebrity nutritionist on how alfalfa sprouts are Alia Bhatt’s BFFs. And finally, when the resolution-maker’s next-door neighbour spoke glowingly about gunning for abs at the new gym on the block, the calculation was complete. The benefits of losing weight began to add up – long life, wild sex, eternal youth, and a shot at superstardom – and he zealously entered the first stage of the resolution cycle: intention.

Intention is the stage where all the resolution-maker needs to do is go around convincing people (and himself) that he was going to change in the new year. He carefully outlines plans, binge-eats in dedicated preparation for a clean-out, and imagines himself looking fabulous in a tight red speedo in Goa next year. As history will show, it is the stage in which most of mankind is indefinitely stuck.

A serious few do make it to the second stage – resolve. This stage is where the resolution-maker goes out and buys an overpriced pair of running shoes, signs up for the gym that offers a month’s free membership, viciously strikes cream biscuits off the grocery list, buys the absolute latest in fitness bands (no outdated versions will do), and makes the first entry into his calorie-count diary.

Much to his outer dismay but inner delight, the lava comes gushing out. It is obvious at this point that the cake cannot be saved for another day.

On Day One, he is dutifully presented with his first challenge – a piece of chocolate lava cake that has somehow made its way to the dining table. Immediately, he adopts the new-age mantra where he is taught to visualise all that could go wrong, if he ingested that luscious piece of cake. Clogged arteries, double chins that won’t get him a vegetable juice date at the gym, long and silent nights where the only thing the neighbours will hear is his snoring. Then he introspects. If the world went to nuclear war tomorrow and this was his last day, would he spend it denying himself a piece of chocolate lava cake? Voila! He is now in the third stage of the resolution lifecycle – compromise. This, he already suspects, sounds the death knell of his swimsuit moment, but he soldiers on, promising himself salad and only salad for dinner. Until the cake is delicately cut into half.

Much to his outer dismay but inner delight, the lava comes gushing out. It is obvious at this point that the cake cannot be saved for another day. The sensible decision is to enjoy the cake and make a new sub-resolution – no more lava cake for the rest of the day. But for the moment, the resolution remains suspended and he shamefacedly enters the fourth and final stage of the cycle – defeat.

At this stage, death has overtaken resolve, but the resolution-maker is in denial. As he ploughs through the lava cake, he consoles himself with insightful statements like “to learn how to walk one must fall several times” and vows to go on a juice diet from the coming Monday, hoping that the karela will suck out the cake-related fat deposits most expertly.

The poor karela, of course, doesn’t get a chance to work its magic. It lies forgotten in the fridge as many Mondays come and go. Eventually, it is used to make crispy karela chips which are downed with beer. And with that final crunch, the New Year resolution finds its final resting place – deep in the pit of his hungry stomach.