I resolve to...

Tuesday 02 January 2001 01:00
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Britons live, it seems, in a perpetual state of existential restlessness, determined that things should somehow be different. Four out of five of us say we are not happy with the way things are. Sixty per cent intend to make New Year's resolutions, in order (perhaps) to change our lives.

Britons live, it seems, in a perpetual state of existential restlessness, determined that things should somehow be different. Four out of five of us say we are not happy with the way things are. Sixty per cent intend to make New Year's resolutions, in order (perhaps) to change our lives.

Realistically, we should perhaps acknowledge that the most important resolution should be to erase the memory of last year's resolution. The admission of repeated past failure would be too depressing. New Year's resolutions are, above all, the triumph of hope over experience. Secretly, we know all the resolutions on alcohol, tobacco, and reduced waistlines are unlikely to survive for more than a few weeks. If we were serious about change, then we would not have bothered to wait for the New Year.

None the less, we note with interest the growing pressure for a new holiday today; almost three quarters are now in favour of having 2 January off. In future, perhaps that would be a sufficient New Year's resolution: to press for an extra day's post-hangover break. Modest, pleasing, fulfillable.

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