Year of the underdog

Resolve to beat the New Year’s resolutions odds

You just lived through this year’s rendition of the annual spectacle: New Year’s Eve. Your loved ones were huddled together, coddling wine glasses and dressed in their finest party attire, wearing big smiles and bright eyes and hopefully those cool little party hats. The night glittered with romance and hope. The sparkly promise of a new beginning came to its crescendo as the countdown ended, ushering in 2016 with kisses and kazoos and confetti. 

Or maybe you just stayed home and watched Netflix because hey, December 31st is just another night to you. 

If your experience was more like the former than the latter, there’s a good chance you let the glamour of a whole new calendar year seduce you into making a New Year’s resolution. 

You’ve decided, for whatever reason, that 2016 is going to simply be better, and so are you. You’ll floss more, spend less, cook more, drink less, and you’ll always remember to call your grandmother. There are lots of resolution skeptics out there, but at least you’re going to put in a solid effort, and gosh-darn, that has to be worth something. 

According to, approximately 45 per cent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions. However 25 per cent of those self-improvement hopefuls don’t make it past the first week and only 64 per cent make it to the end of January. If you explicitly make a resolution, you’re 10 times more likely to reach your goal, but even then there’s a pretty good chance you’ll fail – only eight per cent of people are successful. also indicates that the most common resolution last year was to lose weight, followed by getting organized and spending less money. Other items in the top-10 list include promises to stay fit, quit smoking, and fall in love (isn’t that nice?). 

Resolutions get a lot of flak. After all, why wait until the New Year for self-improvement? And even then, why bother when the fail rate is so high? The critics are plenty vocal about your (allegedly) poor decision to try to better yourself. If you didn’t have enough obstacles to hurdle over in your quest for consistent gym attendance, you can add “cynical naysayers” to your list. 

The statistics are stacked against all the hopeful folks who resolve to make use of the fresh start (right after their hangover wears off). 

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. 

If 2015 taught us anything, it’s that we can triumph despite the odds. Underdog Justin Trudeau wasn’t taken seriously as a contender in the federal election and now he’s our prime minister. Ashley Callingbull became the first Aboriginal winner of the Mrs. Universe pageant and now she’s a herald for indigenous issues. Hell, even Missy Elliott made a comeback, and she’d been off the charts for almost a decade. 

Obviously there are going to be impediments on your journey to becoming The Best You, 2016 Edition. They might be as daunting as systemic oppression or as tangible as an unwavering sweet tooth. Whatever the case may be, good for you for trying. Keep trying. Go ahead and give it your best shot. You can do the thing. We’re rooting for you to beat the odds. 

Shanae resolves to write and floss more, but not at the same time. She also writes at

Published in Volume 70, Number 14 of The Uniter (January 7, 2016)

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