In the seventh instalment of our regular column – in which we use our pondering skills to delve deep into clichés, stereotypes, and seemingly unimportant male-orientated issues – we consider the all-encompassing rebirth of self that is ‘new year, new me’
I’m coming at this with empathy you guys, for I was once like you are now. Freshly birthed from the womb at the end of one year, screaming “I’m going to get fit” into the start of another. As coined by my friends, I was the ‘renaissance boy’. I ebbed and flowed between getting fit and not actually being that bothered about getting fit. I woke up some mornings with the idea of getting a cheap video camera and shooting the next Tangerine (2015) (famed for being made entirely on an iPhone) and by the end of the week I had decided to write a book instead. I lived for new starts and died by the sword of motivation and realism. No time was more dangerous for a renaissance boy like myself than the first month of a new year.
Times have changed though and my constant ill-fated search for dramatic rebirth has since subsided. I no longer wake up and for one day only convince myself I am going to do a photographic study of my favourite bus route and thus launch a fledgling photographic career. I’m a little more candid with my quest for improvement now. I keep my ideas to myself, refining them, making them manageable and realistic. Despite having cooled the jets of my exuberant quest for self-improvement, I still like to dabble with new year’s resolutions.
New year, new me has a bad rep. Despite some belittling January as being the starting grid of inevitable failure, with good intentions unable to power resolutions past the first corner. I think January is a good time to improve. Fresh from the inevitable greed and guilt of Christmas, a new year is a welcome fresh start. The concept of the new year’s resolution originates within most cultures as an attempt to butter up the gods and apologise for being crap the previous year. ‘Sorry for last year God, I was a bit of an idiot, but this year I’m going to do better,’ followed by ‘P.s – please can you make it sunny so my olives grow?’ Times have obviously changed since then however, with modern resolutions such as quitting smoking and get skinnier doing very little for God or olives.
This year I’ve got two main new year’s resolutions in the pipeline. One is to get between seven and eight hours of sleep per night, the other is to wean myself off social media. Last year, after a pretty static year prior, my resolution was to leave the country at any possible opportunity. Easy enough and one that I was able to keep. This year however is going to be trickier. Depending on what article you read, people’s ability to keep their new year’s resolutions is either easier or more difficult than you might think. A 2002 study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that with a small sample group, those who made resolutions were more likely to change their behaviour than those who were not. Other research disputes this.
None of it is rocket science of course. Be realistic, set yourself a target, record your progress and most of all, plan. Plan how you’re going to keep to your resolution, plan for what you’re going to do if you fail and plan for how you’re actually going to do it. All easy of course, but worth mentioning nonetheless. What’s also worth remembering is buying something will not make you thinner, nor will it make your life better. A Fitbit don’t come with six packs, nor does a gym membership. Nobody in the future, whether entrepreneur, athlete, record breaker or national hero will attribute their success to an app they bought in mid-January. Books are helpful, but again, you have to do the work. So there you have it, flourish, improve, grab the new year by the horns and make the current you a little better.
Photography by Carl Raw
Words by Davey Brett