Stephen Grant

New Cheers Resolutions

Words by Stephen Grant

It was only recently that I realised why New Year’s resolutions exist: as a super-effective green light for sidelining your physical/mental/emotional behaviour over Christmas.

“I’ll do this in January!” is a near-perfect synonym for “I won’t do this in December!” and as a result, people go off the rails over the festive period. Admit it, we all know someone – usually that special person we say hello to in a mirror – who has let their standards lapse recently. From being boisterous, to overdoing it on the food, all the way up to illicit shenanigans with off-limits workmates, you’ve managed to convince yourself it was fine. Because it was Christmas.

So, fresh from page 1 of the modern guide to guilt management, we, try to ‘offset’ our debauchery with enforced good intentions. We make a list of things that will counteract our bad behaviour under the guise that a new year is a new start. Trust me on this; if you know someone with a particularly lengthy or challenging resolution list, their charge sheet in December is eye-wateringly naughty.

In a general sense, I heartily approve. I’m all for targets, encouragement, and to-do lists. I am surrounded by to-do lists. I abbreviate them as TDL’s. I number each list. I have a master TDL of what TDL’s take priority. I draw boxes before each item so they can be recipients of satisfying ticks that are always performed with a theatrical flourish. That’s right ladies, I’m all that, and then some.

And despite this, I won’t do New Year’s resolutions, as I don’t feel I have to apologise for myself. Still unconvinced? Let’s just check 2014’s most common new year’s resolution… “Drink less”. Why? Because it’s the gateway to everything else on your list. ‘Go jogging. Get a new job. Find a girlfriend’… all significantly easier when you’re not submerged in Jagermeister.

Also: notice the wording there. ‘Drink less’. Not ‘give up drinking’. That’s even less of an option. It’s just too… serious. Too medical. Too final. It’s the step that would render you incomprehensible to your fellow man. It’s the equivalent of ‘Go jogging’ being written as ‘Sell the car and run everywhere’.

It’s society’s hardest balancing act. The choice to constantly consume a drug to a level that increases personal enjoyment without impacting on all the things that drug is scientifically proven to impact upon. If you’ve ever visited a historical brewery, or better still, a still, then you’ll have felt like you’re somewhere truly magical and life affirming. Which is odd, when you realise you’re effectively in a socially acceptable version of a meth-lab.

Looking for the ultimate challenge in 2014? Make ‘drink the ideal amount to make everything better and nothing worse’ the sole entry on your new year’s resolution list. Homer said it brilliantly: “To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.” That was Homer Simpson by the way – the 8th century BC Greek poet Homer never reached those heights.