Editorial: Wrong time for resolving

PETER O'NEILL
Last updated 05:00 01/01/2014

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OPINION: So we wake up today and decide we're going to change our lives.

We do this because the calendar has run out and we're supposed to start a new one. It follows, apparently, that we're supposed to also change our lives, at least a little.

Fish do not do this. For fish, today is just like yesterday. Wet.

Likewise birds. They do not start new lives today. They do not have calendars. They have inner clocks that, at certain times of the year, say "ooh, it's getting quite cold here, I should go somewhere warmer". Birds are not stupid. Until they see a car.

I'm pretty sure fish are stupid.

And so are people.

You'd think, wouldn't you, that the first time someone had a cigarette their body would say: "Hell, that was horrible, I should stop sucking in smoke where fresh air is supposed to go." But they don't. They have to wait until they have run out of calendar to think about such a thing.

Likewise overeating. Or underexercising. Or overworking. Or ... whatever cap fits.

So are new year resolutions in themselves stupid? The answer is, of course they are.

Because we make them at the wrong time of year.

We make them when we are on holiday. When we are relaxed.

Just when we'll really enjoy a smoke. Or a pie. Or a drink. Or not exercising. We make them at the one time of the year when we're already not overworking, so that one's like ... cheating.

We should make new year resolutions when life is more normal. Like, not at new year.

On the first day of spring, or winter, or autumn perhaps.

Or when daylight saving changes.

Or simply when we want to, because one thing is sure, a resolution isn't worth a tin of fish unless YOU want to do it. And it has to be realistic. And it probably helps to write it down, not because it's so lame you'll forget it, but to reinforce how serious you are about it.

"See, I'm serious, I wrote it down."

I'm not going to make any promises to myself, except to keep on eye on the birds. They seem to know what they're doing. Ever seen a bird smoke?

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- The Timaru Herald

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