The world is full of lies, and it’s hard to get through life without taking a few on board. Luckily, we’re here to sort the fact from the fiction, and find the plankton of truth in the ocean of bullshit. This week: resolutions! Does the new year actually mean anything really? And where does a highly-detailed picture of your ass come into things? Let’s examine some common New Year’s resolutions myths.
Lie #1: “This Year I’m Going to Get Really Fucking Buff, Quit Smoking, Quit Drinking, Do Loads of Interesting Sex Stuff and Become a Millionaire!”
You might want to make those New Year’s resolutions a bit more manageable. The vast majority of people who make New Year’s resolutions abandon them pretty swiftly — a third before January is even over.
According to Richard Wiseman, author and professor of the public understanding of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, you’re much more likely to succeed by setting specific goals rather than nebulous ones — going to the gym three times a week rather than “get fit like a big sexy hunk” — and focusing on the rewards that await you after sticking to your goals as well as the step-by-step process.
The New York Times suggests using the SMART goal-setting system — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based — to come up with resolutions you can both achieve and get something out of: That sweet spot between unachievable sex-millionaire pipe dreams and “I resolve to spend 2021 as a slovenly piece of shit” nothingness.
Lie #2: Ah, a New Year, a Perfect Time for Change!
January 1st fucking suuuuuuucks, yo. It’s cold as shit, really dark, there’s a post-Christmas slump that’s all depressing and crappy, you’re broke from holiday spending, there’s still booze and junk food in the house and everything’s just garbage. New Year’s Day begins, for millions, stinking and hungover, hardly ideal circumstances for enormous life changes. Going for your first-ever jog into a cold dark world of tired, pissed-off people basically guarantees it’ll also be your last. Surely it makes more sense to start the whole thing at least one day later, letting yourself get a few burgers, cigarettes, frantic bouts of self-abuse and room-temperature beers out of your system before trying to begin your new life?
Lie #3: “Let’s Blow Up This Picture of My Ass and Look at It in High Resolution”
Resolution, definition and various quantities thereof, are flung about in the tech world willy-nilly, and we get all excited about them without necessarily quite knowing what they mean.
Screen resolution is the amount of pixels that can be shown by a device — a full HD display, for instance, can show 1,920 pixels horizontally and 1,080 vertically. However, that doesn’t guarantee a good picture — on a really big display, that’ll look like warm shit. Pixel density, measured as pixels per inch (PPI), massively affects how good or crummy things look. As screens get bigger while maintaining the same resolution, pixel density is reduced — the same resolution display might look a lot better on a smaller screen than a bigger monitor due to more pixels per inch.
An image is as high-res as it’s going to be — making it bigger to look at the details of your ass, all you’re doing is zooming in, really. If you’re looking to print out your ass, you need it to be at a DPI (dots per inch, the on-paper equivalent of PPI) of ideally 300, which will look horrifyingly gargantuan on screen, with every pore, hair, scar and pimple really fuckin’ there.
Lie #4: “I’m Trying to Exercise More and Save Money. I’m Pretty Interesting”
No you aren’t! Those are, for obvious reasons, the two most common New Year’s resolutions by a long shot. A YouGov survey in 2019 found that, of the 28 percent of Americans making resolutions, exactly half resolved to exercise more, 49 percent to save money, 43 percent to eat more healthily, 37 percent to lose weight, 34 percent to reduce stress, 30 percent to get more sleep and 30 percent to stick to a budget. The two financial ones are basically the same, and the non-financial ones overlap a lot, so it’s basically health and wealth for the win. The deeply, deeply boring win.
Trying to be healthier and saving money are two things everyone wants to do, and is probably trying to do in some shape or form anyway. They’re both things that affect a lot of elements of your life as you try to make lasting habitual changes, and good luck, but goddamn, they’re boring to talk about. No research has ever been done into the least popular resolutions, for the extremely sensible reason that there are going to be a bunch of people out there with very specific, extremely non-universal goals. But if two people wanted to talk to you, and one was saying, “I want to lose weight and save money,” and the other was going, “This is the year I am ABSOLUTELY going to stop weaving my pubes into miniature hairy effigies of my enemies and eating them in the woods by moonlight,” the latter is just vastly more interesting.
Lie #5: “Why Make a Resolution for the New Year? It’s Totally Arbitrary, Actually”
Yeah, but everything is. Assigning value to the move from one year in the Gregorian calendar to the next is no less arbitrary than anything else. So many of our values, rules and customs are utterly devoid of reason, but they’ve created a structure within which we’re all trapped in exchange for some semblance of meaning.
You work hard — eight hours a day for some reason, five days on and two off for some reason — so some numbers on a screen (which represent pieces of paper, which represent gold, which is worth something for some reason) stay high enough that you can keep sending them to people, and if they get too low you die? That’s lunacy. Two people can be born at exactly the same moment, but if they’re on different sides of an imaginary line, or have different genitals, or different amounts of melanin, their lives can be deemed to be of different values? Ridiculous.
January 1st is an arbitrary point, but at least it’s one within a consistently repeating cycle of seasons as the planet orbits the sun.
If someone wants to better themselves, and a new calendar year is something they find useful in doing so, cool. Everything is arbitrary. Any unit of measurement that doesn’t involve the movement of colossal objects through space in a manner far beyond our control is one that’s just been decided at some point by some fuckin’ dude. We live in a cold, dark universe devoid of reason or compassion. Our lives mean nothing. Everyone we love will die. Happy New Year!