05/01/2011

So did you make any New Year's Resolutions?

So still struggling valiantly (valiantly I tell you…) with Man flu, as a result, I have had some time to ruminate over potential New Years resolution.  No I haven’t made any yet, isn’t there a rule that says you have the entire month of January to refine them? No? Well there is now… I realised I couldn’t think of anything interesting to resolve, so I decided to do what I always do when I have too much time on my hands, google it.

So what did I learn? Well for a start, the entire world is as unoriginal as I am, (more on that later). I also learned about the origins of New Year’s Resolution. For a lengthy explanation click here but in summary it was the Romans. The only people in history (apart from the Greeks) who appear to have had more time on their hands than me.  You may, or may not, be aware of all of the many God’s they worshiped (for long list, click here), but one of the main guys was Janus. Janus, was a weird looking guy, I say that because he had two faces, one to look at the past, the other to look at future. So apparently the Romans would ask their enemies for forgiveness and give each other gifts before the start of the year and Janus became a symbol of this.  (The month of January was also named after him).  All this happened in 153 B.C. apparently, but the sad thing about this is, that apart from the date, I already knew this stuff. I did say I had a head for useless information...(Side note: if you google images for ‘Janus’, Ronnie from Eastenders appears – including, I’m afraid, some slightly risqué shots.  OK, who else thinks the swapped baby plot is stretching credibility a tad? Actually, I guess Stacey being able to lift the Queen Vic’s bust and kill Archie Mitchell with it was a little far fetched too. Oh and Ian Beale managing to marry every woman in Walford and…actually the whole thing is ridiculous now I think of it).

Ok, that’s the ‘science’ part over, let’s talk about how unoriginal the entire world is. (Side note: I’m watching The Biggest Loser USA Season 9 on Living-it. For some reason I am obsessed with that show, not least for the massive amounts of weight these people lose. I also find it fascinating because the contestants always seem truly astonished by the concept that, if they eat less and exercise more they’ll lose weight. Even if that is news, the show's been on TV in the US for about 13 seasons now, why don’t they all know? I’m watching whilst eating a huge bowl of Hagen-Daz vanilla ice cream, with cream on top. I have learned nothing from watching the show. Guess what won’t be on my list of resolutions this year?!) Back to the plot,  I googled ‘New Years Resolutions’ and found that the list below appears everywhere. In fact, someone in the US government has even compiled a list of the top/most popular resolutions over there and they are exactly the same too. (Yes, that’s right, they compiled a list. Obviously they had some spare time in between shoring up the failing economy and fighting wars…) They have used the list to direct people to self help sites and places with useful info. I decided to do the complete opposite, so here is how the UK, some of my friends and I fare against that top ten. It’s not good people, it’s not good…



How does the UK overall do?The good news is that as per the stats, we’re not top (though Ireland looks a bit suspect).
How do friends fare?The bad news is that I suspect a number of my friends are responsible for bringing up the average. You know who you are…
Will it be on my list?My initial thought on seeing this one was why??? So basically, no, the stats indicate that there’s plenty of wiggle room.


How does the UK overall do?OK, I could only find stats from 2000 where we appear to be 12th in terms of proportion of the population attaining degrees. I can only assume we have shot up the rankings since then, given the number of A*’s given out a A’ level these days. So basically, we’re brill!
How do friends fare?For the most part we are all highly intelligent over achievers (I said ‘for the most part’). As an aside I found a random study on the web that indicated that the more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to drink. A number of you must be members of Mensa.
Will it be on my list?Nope, I am applying for my Mensa membership as you read this.



How does the UK overall do?
I think we are all aware of the state of the global economy people, let’s not make resolutions we haven’t got a hope in hell of keeping. (Unless you plan to move to India or China, I keep hearing that there are plenty of jobs there. Cautionary tales though, in case you are considering it: India and China)
How do friends fare?See the ‘global economy’ statement and add the serious mismanagement of the economy over the past X years. Throw the current austerity measures into the mix and viola...just stay put.
Will it be on my list?I’m perfectly happy where I am thanks.


How does the UK overall do?Apparently, about 97 million adults in the United States are overweight or obese. In the UK on the other hand, whilst the percentage of adults who are obese has roughly doubled since the mid-1980's, it’s nowhere near 97 million. So, basically I’m having another bowl of Hagen Daz.
How do friends fare?Last time I looked, you were all fine physical specimens. (Mental note: make appointment at optician). Besides, I think we’re supposed to be having the Xmas blow out, that we missed due to inclement weather, soon. Can’t start a diet before that.
Will it be on my list?I’m watching The Biggest Loser USA, I am learning heaps about effective exercise and the fact that fried food is worse for you than vegetables. I’m doing my bit to get those stats down. What more do you want from me people?????


How does the UK overall do?Is that really a popular resolution? I thought the entire world (except maybe everyone’s Grandparents who never bought anything they couldn’t afford and hence would never own the entire Apple back catalogue) were ‘geared up’. In fact, I’m sure all the financial experts keep telling us it’s good to have some debt? I've certainly listened and our governments certainly subscribe to that view. Hey we’re in better shape than Greece and Portugal, so no need to sweat it.
How do friends fare?Some of you (again, you know who you are…) have a bit of a cavalier attitude towards money management and to say you’ll do anything different this year will be a bare faced lie. (There isn’t one on the list about telling less lies, but there should be…) So to conclude, someone amongst you posted the following comment on facebook recently “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination”. I rest my case.
Will it be on my list?What if Apple brings a new gadget out and I had foolishly resolved to mange my finances? That’s a resounding no then…




How does the UK overall do?Scary facts a plenty on the web on this one. This site being a good example. In summary, we're all as bad as each other and really should give up.
How do friends fare?The couple of die hards (excuse the pun) amongst you, should have a look at the website. I‘ll say no more..
Will it be on my list?Don’t smoke, never have done and have no plans to start.


How does the UK overall do?Mmm, according to the Friends of the Earth. "If everyone lived as we do in the UK, we’d need 3 planets'. So I take it we're not doing a great job of it. On the upside the US is just as bad... Yes, I know it doesn't make it any better, but I'm clutching at straws here...
How do friends fare?I have no idea whether you all recycle. I do know that at least one of you can tell me about the 7 different grades of plastic and which grades can be recycled (at length). I also know that several of us have been bored to tears by that little speech on more than one occasion and yet, have learned nothing. (Actually, that’s a lie, I seem to remember that lids can’t be recycled. Though to be fair I was trying to work out how much alcohol I would need to consume during the speech to make it vaguely interesting, so I’ll concede that I might be wrong)
Will it be on my list?
Go on then, I’ll throw in a resolution on this one, even though I do recycle. Maybe (and note, I said ‘maybe'), I’ll learn the thing about the 7 grades of plastic…



See the “manage debt” family of answers.


How does the UK overall do?Apparently, Swedish people travel the most and Germans have the most holiday (i.e. statutory days off from work). Not sure what that tells us, but given that we in the UK, think the UK is the most boring place on earth, I question the stats. We MUST be traveling the most.
How do friends fare?Some of us, have quit our jobs and are travelling around the world. Others amongst us, live and work in the UK and yet seem to have more holiday days than Sweden and Germany combined. I think we’re doing OK.
Will it be on my list?This is definitely on my list this year. Why should I be the only one stuck here???

One more for luck?

How does the UK overall do?Apparently America donates more money than anywhere else in the world (given the state of their economy, they may want to re think that policy..) but I reckon it’s a factor of the size of the place. Can‘t find any stats to support my theory, so we’ll just assume I’m right. (What? That generally works for me?)
How do friends fare?If the number of requests I get to donate to charity are an indicator, I’d say we’re an extremely generous lot. Not only are we generous, we are also prepared to humiliate ourselves for a good cause, Movember anyone?! Some of us are also prepared to humiliate ourselves for no cause at all. I’ll mention no names, but alcohol is often central to these events…
Will it be on my list?I’m always happy to help, being the selfless person that I am and I'll continue the good works in 2011.


So in summary, I'll be doing the same sh@t as last year and so will you. Right, there's another bowl of ice cream out there with my name on it, got to run.

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