No-Effort New Year’s Resolutions for Commitment-Phobe Millennials


No-Effort New Year’s Resolutions for Commitment-Phobe Millennials

Illustration: Arati Gujar

Is there anything quite like the beginning of a shiny New Year? It’s as though all your filthy sins and scummy Hinge fuckbois of 2018 have been scrubbed away, leaving you with a fresh, clean slate to start all over again. And your New Year’s Resolutions are the tools that will help you really make this your year.

This is the year that you’ll get in shape, you vow, watching the ganji-wearing receptionist at the yoga studio cheerfully swipe your card. You feel a gentle moistness in your jeans as your wallet sheds a tear, but it’s okay – you still have the rest to spend on organic fruits for your #NewYearNewMe juice cleanse. Plus, think of how much you’ll save on booze and cigarettes now that you’re definitely, totally, cold-turkey quitting! Enough to hit your latest resolution: Put ten per cent of your salary into a mutual fund, so you can finally take that Eurotrip.

It’s only when you step out of the peaceful cocoon of the yoga studio and into the street that you realise you’ve made a terrible mistake.

Is it the pinging of your phone, heralding a bunch of “Happy New Year” texts from the same scummy Hinge fuckbois you thought you’d left in 2018? No. It’s the moment you turn around and see a massive Manyavar billboard, featuring a happy, shaadi-bound couple gazing into each other’s eyes in a way that makes you slightly nauseous. After all, as you’ve just remembered, you’re a chronic commitment-phobe.

Let’s be real: You eat lunch at 3pm every day because you can’t decide whether to order noodles or biryani. At your best friend’s engagement, you gifted her a book on open marriages and found yourself uninvited from her wedding. And your dating profile just says “here 2 play, not 2 stay,” which, in retrospect, is probably why you find so many fuckbois. Is it any wonder that you can’t make a resolution that lasts for a whole 365 days, when you’ve never even held down a job for that long?

Of course, you could forego the whole charade of New Year’s Resolutions and resign yourself to the fact that it’s never going to be your year, and that personal satisfaction and fulfillment are complicated concepts, too vast to be contained in a single, simplistic catchphrase. Or, you could take a leaf out of the millennial playbook, and find a life-changing, self-improving, magical cop-out resolution that requires no actual commitment whatsoever.

The options are myriad. Will you choose the modern classic, “go with the flow” – a mantra that commands you to do nothing? According to the New Year’s resolution experts over at Harvard University, it can be liberating to simply accept what’s happening around you, rather than trying to fight it. Besides avoiding Bandstand promenades and Goa holidays – in case you are overzealous and get swept up in the literal flow of the sea – this low-key resolution ensures that you don’t have to change your behaviour to change your destiny.

How about go-with-the-flow’s spiritual sister: “embrace change”? Change, after all, comes in so many exciting forms, and, like a game of Russian roulette, you never know what you’re going to get. Maybe you’ll meet a beautiful stranger at a bar, or maybe you’ll get fired. You could gain 20 kilos, or 20 new Twitter followers, and with this resolution, you’ve got to embrace both possibilities. Still, unlike your other pesky resolutions, you’ll never feel bad about not living up to the 2019 of your dreams. With this all-purpose resolution, you can throw a party and cut a cake anyway, because this year, you’re celebrating the inevitability of change.

Is it any wonder that you can’t make a resolution that lasts for a whole 365 days, when you’ve never even held down a job for that long?

Then there’s the paradoxical “live in the moment” – an anti-commitment slogan that, by definition, makes no sense as a New Year’s resolution, but who has the time to dwell on petty semantic details when you’re busy soaking in the glorious now? Tell your boss that work deadlines are in the future, and explain to your sister that that time you forgot her birthday is the dead-and-gone past. Let them know that while yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift called “the present”. Bonus: When you get tired of repeating this hackneyed phrase ad infinitum, you can always just get it tattooed on your arm.

But perhaps the trendiest resolution this year reflects many long months of bad news, polarisation, and anger: it’s the unspecific, highly personalised, “cut out negativity”. What constitutes negativity depends entirely on the situation, which is why this resolution is perfect for a commitment-phobe. As soon as you feel threatened by your Swiggy app insisting that you choose between cash or card, or the colleague who casually wonders who you’re voting for, you can simply chalk it up to negativity and delete their accounts. Okay, so it’s less straightforward to avoid mom when she demands to know when you’ll settle down and give her grandkids. But at least it’s easier than cutting out carbs, or anything else that your boring old resolutions would have made you do. Words to live by… or not.