By Seb Kemp
New years resolutions are a wonderful reminder of how pathetically useless we are. Each year we sit around thinking up ways of proving to ourselves that we are just hopeless, wretched beasts with no other course of action but to fail.
Each year 95% of British people will make new years resolutions (according to the Daily Mail newspapers 'new survey' which they don't name or reference) and according to an actual real life study by Richard Wisemen of the University of Bristol 88% of them will fail. That means 83.6% of the population of the UK will systematically set themselves up for crushing failure at the very beginning of the year.
Note: Please someone look at my calculations and see if they are correct. I'm terrible at mathematics. I learned to spell by reading the instructions on the back of my mother's Ambien bottle and learned to do maths by calculating how long I had to steal her purse and run to the shops before she woke up.
Each year we do the equivalent of wetting our pants then pointing and laughing at ourselves in front of the whole playground. We belittle ourselves before the year has even begun. You see, even more interesting in Mr. Wisemen's research – I'm assuming he isn't a Dr. as it doesn't say so and doctors will usually tell you they are doctors in the first ten seconds of meeting them – is that only 52% of the study's participants were confident of success at the beginning. Meaning that almost half of people setting new years resolutions are confident they will fail.
It is madness.
I'm sure there are tough, hardy, level headed, focused, self-assertive people with an indomitable spirit that set themselves targets for the year like climbing Everest with no shoes, running the most consecutive marathons or climbing two mountain peaks fueled only their own smug self-satisfaction. But in Britain the top three new years resolutions are to lose weight, get fit and eat healthy. It's not surprising after spending two weeks filling ourselves with beer, batter and deep fried Brussels sprouts that many people feel the need to clean up their act a bit. But really, when the chances are that you are going to fail and you know you are likely to fail, why bother?
Apparently men do better at achieving their goals if they set lots of little goals that may add up to their overall target, while women are 10% are more likely to succeed if they make their goal public and get support from friends. Regardless of the fact that the notion of sisterhood is a fallacy (have you heard best friends talk about each other behind their backs?) then the idea of public sharing is something that we should explore more. In fact, that's a delightfully helpful segue for this week's News Of The Tweet.
One part art installation, other part brain blancmange Lady Gaga tweeted that her new years resolution was to not to be afraid of being kicked in the money maker. Now let's take a giant leap of faith and just assume that she is talking about being kicked in the teeth metaphorically, but this still tells us something. Lady Gaga has 17 million twitter followers. That is quite the public sharing. But what happens if she fails at this one? That is a long way to fall. However, I think it's a pretty easy new years resolution to stick to, or at least hide very well if you fail.
I actually have a soft spot for Lady Gaga – not in a Greenwich Village way or that I buy all her records – just that Lady Gaga as a social phenomenon or act of marketing is quite intriguing, but I do think that we are starting to dredge the bottom of our collective mind if we stay obsessed with her. The endless stream of interviews, profiles, and media examinations of her is getting a little silly. Now the bucket is drained and there is nothing to see except our own dribbling, guffawing, gormless face looking back at us.
Anyway, Lady Gaga's new years resolution is a pretty easy one to keep or hide. It isn't like saying, 'I'm going to give up doing interviews'. Which is what Chris Brown has said for his new years resolution.
I knew a Chris Brown in primary school (as this is the second use of the term primary school this week I will explain: it is the UK equivalent of an elementary school but with more Blue Peter and less Sesame Street). He could fart the whole alphabet. He used to crawl up onto the teachers desk when she went out for a wack of methadone, turn onto his back, hold his legs up and with intense concentration and self-control would go through his A, B, C, easy as one, two, three. Chris was a visionary and a man (boy) committed to pushing his talent. But not pushing too far.
Whilst reading this tweet I wondered whether Chris had made it famous but it turns out the Chris Brown they refer to is some pop-oink who likes to warble about nonsense, wears baggy t-shirts and throws his toys out the pram if he doesn't get his way. There have been suggestions that one such toy was the Jamaican hottie, Rihanna. Apparently, this singing and dancing pop culture kazoo recently got mad at an interview, smashed a window and stormed out.
If only mountain bikers were that interesting in interviews. It might mean some danger pay would be necessary but at least there would be a story at the end of it…
There's probably not much chance that pocket rocket Troy Brosnan's new years resolution is to clean his room more.
The kid is obviously a freak of nature. Rather than keeping his room tidy enough to invite girls over, gallivanting over the globe beating seasoned racers and brushing his teeth twice a day perhaps he needs to cut loose and act more like a kid his age.
This week parts of the mountain bike world stepped onto the disappointment podium much like little Alana Honey Boo-Boo at a beauty pageant.
(Thanks to @stevilkinevil for that one).
The bog trotters from Singletrack magazine in the UK made a list of their new year predictions.
On the whole it seems rather calmly considered and not too far off what a lot of less throat-bearded bikers also believe and hope. But the future is wild thing to predict, especially when it is already set in stone by the powers that be. Yesterday I had a conversation with a very well connected and trustworthy source, who imparted the results of his gander into the future of the bicycle industry. He came back from the future rambling on about…well, I shan't say here, but it was something akin to the message Noah got about building an ark. Let's say the animals will not be going two by ten, hurrah, hurrah and if you like your stunted hardtails then start storing them now because the apocalypse is nigh.
At the other end of the UK news team spectrum we have the clean cut and well tanned chaps from down south, MBUK. They put together their personal projections for the coming year.
MBUK also got a bunch of professional bicyclists to set themselves up for failure by making public their new years resolutions. But these people are champions already so I don't expect them to be failing anytime yet. These are achievers we wish we were but realize we are not about eight days into the new year.
Zipping across the Atlantic on the information superhighway we come across Pink Bike towers. This week they ignored potential public disappointment and avoided new years resolutions all together. Instead they gave their predictions for the future.
Apart from the hilarious confession by RC that his career has been guided by a handheld Mystic Meg the predictions all seem quite mature and reserved. I'd like it if there was more wild predictions out there from the media behemoths but perhaps they know that they are on the government watch list for when the curtain comes down on the internet.
Anyway, I'll leave you with my new years resolution, which is not to get mauled by a bear. As statistics tell me that I am highly unlikely to achieve my goal I was lucky enough to come across this.