It’s 2016 and, despite the fact numerical time doesn’t really exist and therefore we’re celebrating what is essentially our own invention, for many people a new year can be the perfect kick up the bum to tidy desk drawers, start a YouTube channel or steer their lives in a different direction. Most of us will have at least some kind of resolution, whether that be a huge career goal or a minor self-improvement, and usually these are harmless. But what about when they’re not? What happens when you realise NYE is a time for everyone to make unrealistic, overoptimistic resolutions and then start a Crunchie binge on 5th January to distract themselves from the fact they’ve failed to avoid the inevitable, turning their ‘Body Posi 2016’ into the biggest queue for Slimming World that the Guinness Book Of World Records has ever seen?
Apparently New Year has become the absolutely perfect excuse to constantly move the milestone of happiness; phrases like ‘I will be happy when…’ or ‘Happiness will come after…’ are ruined once the goal is achieved and something else crops up, pushing satisfaction further and further away. Suddenly everyone realises that this year they haven’t been rich/pretty/skinny/successful enough, that despite all the super smiley selfies, A* a levels and holidays to Greek islands that no one can pronounce, they’re just not happy. On the 31st December we reduce all the ups and downs of a whole year into a tragedy pageant of which we conclude that we need to be better. And how do we find out how to be better? The internet.
I’ve seen so many ‘How To Get Happy’/ ‘How To Make 2016 Your Best Year Yet’/ ‘New Year New Me’ posts on social media and all I can say is WHO WRITES THIS SHITE? Seriously. I’ll give you some quotes from actual real-life posts I’ve seen and we can analyse them together:
‘Buy some goose feather pillows and wake up earlier and earlier every day until you’re setting your alarm for 5am to appreciate the morning’
Surely, ‘appreciate the morning’ posts can only ever be written by rather really sour insomniacs or scientists trying to engineer a generation of nocturnal humans because I’ve never actually heard someone get excited about waking up before 8:30 (unless it’s Christmas Day). I mean, if I woke up at 5am everyday I’d be pretty miserable. Not only would you have the deepest, sleep deprived panda eyes ruining your self esteem every time you looked in the mirror, but I swear the best bits of every dream happen around 5am- I’m still gutted about the fact that back in November I woke up before Tess could announce the winner of Strictly Come Dancing, but imagine feeling like that every single day (unless you’ve developed some kind of mystical mind control that my iOS 7 brain hasn’t evolved yet where you can pause and resume the next night). Plus, I bet those pillows are blady itchy.
‘Buy a beautiful diary and a beautiful black pen and write down everything you do’
Including your bank details so that when it gets stolen it’s all in one convenient place for the burglars. P.s. You can’t discriminate against blue pens.
‘Push yourself to go for a walk, observe your dog’s behaviour and realise you can learn from your dog’
Give whoever wrote this their due, at least it’s quite creative compared to the normal ‘eat more kale and do more squats’ tips but it’s still equally problematic. In all honesty I recon the author of that post works for Dogs Trust and they’re trying to shift some of the unwanted puppy Christmas presents by turning them into New Year’s Resolutions (if so, I will take ALL OF THEM). Maybe I really like the idea that someone’s trying to make not wearing clothes, barking at small children and weeing on lampposts- or sunbathing ladies’ heads if you were my dog- socially acceptable, but as an alleged stepping stone to happiness? It hardly seems achievable.
‘Become the person you would ideally fall in love with’
*Dies hair grey, grows penis and inserts wrinkles in attempt to become George Clooney. Or Jeremy Vine. I’m not fussy*
‘Have a luxurious shower with your favourite music playing, get familiar with the part between your toes, your inner thighs-’
Ironic how women can’t be topless on Instagram but insinuations like that make it through the net. I think we’ll move Taylor Swiftly on before this stops being PG. After all, we can guess how their New Year is going.
Most of these things are pretty laughable but the parallel thought, that people are getting so down about not being good enough they’ll follow all of this advice, is really worrying. Not only is there no scientific formula for being happy, but just because it’s a new calendar year doesn’t mean there should be a complete New You to match. Of course no one’s going to stop you improving yourself, however striving for perfection is useless because, despite what all these #Inspiring guides will tell you, it’s impossible and therefore will only leave you disappointed.
If you want to make a change this year then keep two things in mind: firstly, you are wonderful just the way you are so whatever you’re doing is an update opposed to a necessity and secondly, only you know what makes you happy. Don’t let social media dictate it for you.