New Year's Resolutions Are About As Lame As Year-End Best-Of Lists

Resolve to Be the Kind of Person Who Doesn’t Give Up Right Away

And other answers to unsolicited questions.

Image: Gilles den Bandt

“I’ve already given up on my New Year’s Resolution. Does that make me a bad person?” — Quitting Quentin

It doesn’t make you a bad person, pal. But it does make you shaky in a time when we ought to strive to be resolute and powerful. I don’t wanna be a snow-filled blanket. And normally I’d be very equivocal about the promises we make ourselves make. But it’s not even 10 days in! You’ve got to motor forward!

Forget January 1st. Just start over. Whatever you resolved to do. Start now. Try again. Fail better. And then fail worse. And then maybe succeed a little. New Year’s Resolutions are about as lame as Year-End Best-of lists. But the beginnings of new years do give us a chance to make a change in our lives that might possibly be meaningful. Don’t give up on yourself yet! I give up on myself every day in all the little ways and I would not recommend it.

I joined a gym two years ago. And I wave to it every time I walk by it in Journal Square here in Jersey City. I pay like $15 a month and I’ve only been inside to get my membership card. I’m not entirely sure what I would do inside of a gym. Rowing, I imagine. I feel pangs of guilt. I kick myself for not having any discipline whatsoever. I kind of like being a bit puffy. Tubby people are jolly, I tell myself. When I got very thin for VH1’s “Can’t Get a Date” I looked like a sharpened pencil. Cheekbones and tiny arms. I looked hungry, not jolly.

But I also live my broken dreams. I would not wish that upon you, dear readers.

The time is coming, late next week, when we will have to be strong not just for ourselves, but our fellow thoughtful Americans. The Visigoths shall descend upon the National Mall. And bless our passage across the River Styx. Come sail away, Reason and Decency! Come sail away with us!

And we will need to not just bear it for as long as it all lasts (weeks, months, hours). We will need to emerge on the other side as resolute. Steadfast in the face of Relentless Stupidity. Chipper against a non-stop wave of Ridiculousness. Are you prepared? No one is. What’s the best way to prepare? By trying to stop smoking! By giving better head in bed! Or whatever your damned resolution was.

This was a test and we all failed. My New Year’s Resolution was sufficiently vague, so that it’s not clear whether I’ve given up on it or accomplished it already. And, sure, I only protest when the weather is nice. Although Santa Claus did once stay up all night and sweep Zuccotti Park in the rain. I’m a disappointment to myself. But you are not disappointing at all to me. You’d be fine without New Year’s resolutions! I like you the way you are. Unless you’re one of those Trump people.

I want us all to feel better! To live as long as we can so that we can never let the people who voted for Trump off in our lifetimes (which will be longer if we don’t smoke, eat vegan, ride a stationary bike, etc). Let’s resolve to fight them together. On sea, on land, on rowing machines. Let us keep the most important promise to ourselves. That we will never quit! And therefore, they will never win!

Jim Behrle lives in Jersey City. He is trying out for the new WFMU Morning Show timeslot on 2/9 and 2/10 6–9 AM.