New Year resolutions and mobile phones have one thing in common, they both run out of battery very rapidly, but more than half the population is still convinced they can change their lives from January 1. This, in fact, is an unlucky date to begin anything. If you don’t believe me, ask Pope Francis. Despite not drinking himself into oblivion on New Year’s Eve, the Pope still had to start the year with an apology to the world for slapping away the hands of a woman who had grabbed his arm. Lesser mortals stuck to the resolutions they make — and break — every year such as losing weight, exercising more, quitting smoking and spending more time with family.
Realising the urgent need for alternative resolutions, I first tried reaching out to the Dalai Lama for advice.
After calling Dharamshala and being put on hold for so long that I wondered if they were waiting for His Holiness to be reincarnated before transferring the line, I decided to give it a go myself. With the aid of one Virgin Mary that soon led to two bloody ones, here is a list of some much-needed and fairly achievable resolutions for 2020.
1. Set the bar low
Setting the bar as low as possible also makes it easy to reach for a drink when you need it next. Begin by first accepting that you aren’t going to lose 20 pounds this year just the way you didn’t the year before that. So, plan to make small changes, like losing the four pounds you gained during Christmas, when taking it a step further from Jesus who turned water into wine, you did your own transmogrification by turning wine into cellulite.
2. Emulate Baba Twinkdev
One way of impressing people is to simply flourish impressive credentials like adding a Dr before your name. This is not as difficult as it seems. Instead of putting in arduous hours obtaining a PhD, you could apply to self-styled institutions like the Trinity College based in Spain, and with a cheque for £295 get a doctorate in 28 days. If even that is too much effort, then do it the Indian way. Simply tag on an honorific like Yogi, Ma, Swami, Baba or Guru, and without having to display any real abilities, people will look at you with reverence.
3. Turn into a bad parent
This may horrify school moms across the country but the best parent is a bad one. In order to get ready for the real world, all children need a few hard knocks. Now for some, life does this automatically, but for the ones who are bubble-wrapped in privilege, it is up to the parent to provide the required kicks on a regular basis. And yes, fellow moms, it is bad enough that along with office work, we are also saddled with almost all the house work, let’s not add 6th grade homework to that list.
4. Admit you are stupid
Contemplation of your own stupidity may be the most intelligent thing you can do. It is only the truly dumb who are convinced of their smartness. The ones who agonise over the fact that they are perhaps secretly idiots, are the ones who know that there is so much to know that they clearly don’t know enough. Also if you can understand that sentence, then you are clearly a moron like me, which in this case is also a prime example of an oxymoron.
5. Stick out like a sore thumb
Don’t try to blend in. As someone who obviously played a lot of Tetris once said, ‘If you fit in, you disappear.’
6. Walk the talk
This is not an empowering woke message but a literal one. An easy way to safeguard your emotional and physical wellbeing is to start meeting friends for brisk walks instead of meals and drinks. This is an activity where you exercise your heart in more ways than one.
7. An asana a day
Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai, we all need to do some Yoga Bhai. Also resolve to abstain from such terrible limericks.
8. Use the right weapon at the right time
You need to use a bullet against a tiger that is charging at you, not against a bee because you don’t like its buzzing.
9. Cultivate a bad habit
You are a lot more likely to succeed if you replace one bad habit with another bad one. For example, what if you replaced cigarettes with the healthier and now legal option in many countries, pot? Or to stop yourself binge-eating, what if you binge-played video games instead?
10. Stop talking to your family
This is the most crucial resolution for the year ahead. Refrain from communicating with your family so that when the current situation blows over, you are still left with one. Once you have gone through your patient explanations of why left is right and right is wrong (hopefully not when someone is driving) and, in return, been inundated with memes calling you an ‘Intellectual terrorist’, it is time to mute all family WhatsApp groups, and your mouth as well. Else you may suffer the loss of property and propriety, as one friend discovered when her inebriated husband — who has taken to wearing his allegiance not just on his sleeve, but on his legs, in the form of bright orange pants — slammed down his glass so hard in the midst of a heated argument that their side table cracked.
Another colleague who spoke up against the NRC found herself at odds with her Bengali parents. Considering her parents are such staunch communists that her menstrual cycle is probably referred to as ‘Lal Salam’ by the household, this was rather surprising. But the problem really was that her parents were not against the NRC but having spent a lifetime opposing Mamata Banerjee, they were simply not ready to be on the same side as her. Their bitter arguments have resulted in their daughter waiting for her mother to resume her Bhetki Macher Paturi tiffins rather than the bitter gourd and dal dabbas that are now coming her way.
While I try not to break these awesome resolutions, and the poor Pope tries sticking to his ‘Thou shalt not smack pilgrims even if they deserve it’ commandment, if you are among those who believe you’re perfect just the way you are, I have a cop-out for you. Just say you’re following in the footsteps of Anais Nin who famously said, “I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me.”
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.