Facebook Instant Articles

So much for New Year's resolutions

Scott Feschuk lays his Jan. 1 pledges to rest

Photo Illustration by Taylor Shute

I am saddened to announce that my New Year’s resolutions, which imbued me with a sense of optimism and gave me hope that I could become a better human being, have died. They were less than a month old.

They passed away quietly after a brief struggle with reality.

There were five resolutions in all, each born of good intentions on Jan. 1, 2013. A sixth—Stopping Smoking—was declared DOA after my youngest son saw it on my list and noted, “Hey, you don’t smoke—that’s cheating.”

Each resolution came into this world with hope, promise and—thanks to a diverse array of unflattering habits forged over years of bad decisions and slack living—the odds stacked firmly against it.

Still, Getting Fit managed to flourish during all three trips to the treadmill and that one decision not to supersize my Quarter Pounder meal. Frankly, I’m still a little puzzled the lady at the drive-through didn’t seem more impressed by my restraint, especially after I mentioned it for a third time.

Instantly recognizable by its telltale wheezing, Getting Fit will be remembered for successfully executing 1½ sets of bench presses before pretending to pull a muscle. It ultimately succumbed to “couch.”

Getting Fit leaves behind a one-year gym membership, no refunds. As per the wishes of many, the super-snug spandex shorts that accompanied it throughout its short life will be, at the first possible opportunity, launched into the sun.

Reducing Procrastination came into the world in a flurry of positive thinking and enthusiastic list-making. Within days, it was thriving: important tasks were being completed “ahead of schedule,” instead of “behind schedule” or—my default option during 2012—“never.”

The early success of Reducing Procrastination was exhilarating. At long last, after making a custom of putting off obligations until the very last minute (or beyond—usually beyond), I had the momentum required to get on top of things before they piled up! I was learning to act with timely purpose! Now that I was putting my mind to it, I could see how prompt action could become second nature and—oh, hey, look, Beyoncé is on The View.

A memorial for Reducing Procrastination will be held. Eventually.

Learning a New Skill packed a lot into its time with us. It was a loving parent to Failure (cooking class) and Disaster (the same cooking class—they let us have knives). It will be sadly missed by the food processor in my cupboard that will never again feel the touch of human hands.

Cutting Debt was the first resolution to expire, its life cut short by the impulse purchase of a cashmere sweater on Jan. 3. Its death was mourned by no one because it wasn’t any fun and no one liked it. To be honest, it only ever came into being because Mark Carney wouldn’t stop harping about debt, debt, debt. Like that guy isn’t deep in hock to the hair gel people.

The passing of Cutting Debt was marked by a lovely bouquet from the nice people at Visa, who later billed me for it at 18 per cent annual interest.

Finally, what can be said of Drinking Less? From the beginning, it was far and away the most ambitious of the resolutions—and also the most frail. From birth, its only chance at survival was for me to adhere to a strict regimen: no alcohol at all on weeknights.

Somehow the resolution endured. Possibly this had something to do with the definition of “weekend” being expanded to include Thursdays and Fridays. Also, Mondays—because, you know: Mondays, right?

After a formal name change to Drinking Less Every Second Tuesday, the resolution experienced a brief period of success until I lost track and assumed every Tuesday was the first Tuesday. A wake for Drinking Less was held this past Wednesday. I got wasted.

These five beautiful New Year’s resolutions—which sacrificed their lives so that my decades of inertia could drift onward—are survived by my feeble willpower, and by this cheap duffle bag that came with the gym membership. I wish to thank the palliative care team in my brain for burying these failings deep in my subconscious, never to be reflected upon again.

In lieu of flowers, please send cigarettes so I can take up smoking just before 2014.


Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.