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Illustration by nuglybird for Rice. 

Every year, we set ourselves up to fail. It starts in January with any number of fancy, aspirational goals. For some of us it’s losing weight. For others, it’s making better relationship decisions.

Fresh starts, however real or imagined, are so seductive because they implicitly promise that things will get better. But the problem with them is less about what we want to change than when we choose to do it. By picking the occasion of the “New Year,” you’re effectively saying, “I want to do more, just not yet.” Giving up our present, deliciously flawed selves is never easy.

But why not now? “Later” is like eating a bag of potato chips. You say you’ll stop at one but before you know it, the bag is empty and so is your life, your dreams, and your wallet.

Why not harness all the shitty feelings and disappointment from having achieved NONE of your New Year’s resolutions for 2016 and do something with that in December? How much can it hurt to try doing something with these last 30 days? You’ll probably never lose all 25 kg anyway. But you might lose between 5 to 10.

You don’t need some “New Year New Me” crap to get started on being better.

Look, I know the ennui of the end of year holidays is fast approaching. Everyone is either going on leave or furiously wrapping up projects so they can start partying with as few consequences as possible. No one cares about your fresh, potentially life-changing promises to yourself. This is why it’s time to get started.

Because while everyone is having fun and being cool, you get to play the cynic. You get to be the wet blanket by telling everyone, “You know what, I’m kinda just looking forward to a quiet Christmas this year.” Chances are, no one’s gonna take offence. They probably won’t take you seriously either.

Once you’ve said no to all your Christmas party invitations, you should find yourself ploughing through a surprisingly quiet second week of December. Likely because you’ve lost all your friends at this point, but no matter. Who needs friends when you can have monstrous ambitions? Do you really think people show up to clubs with massive entourages because they were once loyal and incredible friends?

December is the best time to change your life because while everyone is having a last big binge before January comes around, you get to just put in the work. Go to the gym, start on that novel, call that ex to apologise for having been a prick—whatever. You don’t need some “New Year New Me” crap to get started on being better.

You know what, this doesn’t even have to be about abstaining from the festivities or some lame hippie crap like that. It’s just about getting off your lazy ass RIGHT NOW. Remind yourself that under-achieving trumps never achieving.

If you’re still a lazy punk at the end of this year, you’re still going to be a lazy punk come next year.

Think of it as a last ditch attempt to win God’s forgiveness. You want to be able to say convincingly, “I TRIED.” If you don’t at least make the dredges of 2016 count for something, what makes you think 2017 will be any better?

Yeah, no. If you’re still a lazy punk at the end of this year, you’re still going to be a lazy punk come next year. Then the rest of 2017 will fly by and again, you’ve become everything except what you’ve always wanted to be.

But if you get your shit together now, the momentum will carry you into January and beyond. When everyone is finally getting to work on their new selves, you get to tell them, “Seriously? You’re only starting now?” After that, get back to working on being less of a natural resource wasting citizen of the world.

If anything, one day you’ll get to look back on this moment and laugh about it. You’ll get to talk about that one crazy year when you were all self-righteous and “Why do later what I can do now?”

Hopefully, when that happens, you’ll be reminiscing from a better place and not the shit hole you’re now in because you literally just squandered the last 11 months of 2016. Good luck.

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