Today is the day to flout statistics, probability and the space-time continuum, and decide to no longer be yourself. It’s time to put a stop all that awful you-ness. It’s time to become your glorious, perfected, immortal Future Self. Today, resolve to be nicer. Healthier. Thinner. Younger. Resolve to cure cancer, establish a divided-yet-peaceful Jerusalem, and reverse global warming. Vow to defeat death itself in 2014 and then sit astride an enormous golden tiger as the people come and pay tribute to your seasonally timed self-improvement.
Or, you know, don’t. Like college students and citizen ballot initiatives, New Year’s resolutions are both optimistic and fundamentally stupid. Unfortunately, the combination of sheer willpower and a new digit in the year rarely produces the silver bullet that will kill your personal demons. Some suggest that you lay out a blueprint, set reasonable goals, create benchmarks, and believe in yourself. But why bother? Don’t shoot for the moon; shoot to beat the spread by the thinnest of margins. That’s how good gamblers do it, and New Year’s resolutions are basically bets against your personal history. Here, now, are some achievable resolutions that will help you be sort of, basically, more-or-less decent in the year to come. Some are for the everyday man or woman; others for specific parties. But no matter who you are, remember: if you set the bar low enough, you’ll be able to step over it every time.
If you want to lose weight:
Limit yourself to eating no more than two types of fried animal in any given day, or three if it’s a weekend.
If you are of even the slightest notability and you use Twitter:
Each time you are about to hit ‘Tweet’, spell-check yourself. Also, horrible-person-check yourself, which means NO use of the n-word, the f-word—any slur, really. It’s always a good time to skip Tweeting the n-word, you know.
Don’t shoot for the moon; shoot to beat the spread by the thinnest of margins.
If you want to quit smoking:
This year, no smoking and pooping at the same time!
If you are a president that wants to secure your political legacy via health care overhaul:
It’s super important that when you decide on a talking point, that talking point should definitely be true. So before you find yourself saying, “If you like …” just pause a beat and make sure it passes the ole basic fact checkin’. You can just say nothing! It rarely scores political points but is much better than lying.
If you want to get better with money:
Every month, think about looking at your bank statement. Just the thinking is sufficient.
If you want to spend more time with your family:
Once a week, call your mother while walking somewhere—just make sure you establish, ahead of time, that once you reach the destination, this call is over. Also, text her emojis at random. Mothers don’t understand emojis but love them anyway.
If you are an upstart senator from Texas that wants to be seen as taking a courageous political stance against policy that, while flawed, has been upheld by both voters and courts:
Resolve that this can and should be the year that zero preschoolers go hungry based on your quixotic grandstanding.
If you want to pursue an artistic hobby:
Resolve to spend every work meeting doodling portraits of your co-workers. See how that feels before you sink $87 into oil paints that you’ll use once.
If you want to eat better food:
Yes, you could sign up for cooking classes or a CSA. But really, it’s best to be realistic: no meals from gas stations.
If you want to get in shape:
Decide that once a week, you’ll walk up a flight of stairs, then heartily congratulate yourself aloud. It’s all about the positivity!
If you want to finally learn Spanish:
Actually, this is a pretty good resolution, so go for it.
If you want to host a major international sporting exhibition while also cruelly scapegoating a minority as though this is the answer to each and every political question:
Resolve, instead, to wear more silly hats and have yourself Photoshopped over Steven Seagal in his entire oeuvre.
If you want to finally make peace with your troubled childhood and reconcile with an estranged parent:
Good luck to you—seriously. In the meantime, resolve to never wash your hands while wearing long sleeves? That never goes how you hope it will.
If you are someone who struggles,who messes up, who dwells on past mistakes, who tries to do right, who imagines they are a sham, and not the person they can and should be:
Yes, me too, and every single other human being in the world. This year, just try to be 4 percent nicer and carry around antibacterial gel.
If you are someone who comments on news stories: