I don’t do the New Year’s resolution thing. I think in essence, it’s a generally good idea; view the new year as a clean slate, view yourself as something that can change for the better, then make changes for the better.
However, I don’t generally view the best time to undertake this process whilst in the middle of a national hungover spasm of guilt with the massive grey wall of the previous night’s debauchery combined with finally facing up to the new year’s load of credit card bills looming over you. There’s just something about that maudlin state of self-loathing as a motivator that doesn’t quite jibe with me as the best motivator for self-improvement. If you have reasonable self-respect, the resolution doesn’t take because most of the time, you don’t hate yourself, and therefore the motivator disappears. If you don’t, then a cheerful little cycle of shame and self-flagellation can arise regardless of whether you succeed (grim perfectionism that can never be satisfied) or fail and retreat into whatever nasty habit gives you comfort.
My blueprint for self-improvement goes roughly as follows: identify the problem. Assess to what degree it is, in fact, a problem. Assess to what lengths you’re willing to go to remedy it, and what would be an acceptable timetable. (For example, if you really don’t want to live on steamed vegetables and prudent portions of fish and chicken whilst working out six days a week indefinitely, “toned beach body by June” is neither a reasonable goal nor a reasonable timetable.) Then, proceed with the plan. If you fail on a small scale, continue to proceed with the plan. (Minor periodic indulgences are not failure. Everyone needs a bit of vice.) If you fail on a large scale, reassess the plan and analyze why it fell apart. Develop a new plan. Continue as needed.
Every day of the year. However, if you enjoy the traditionalism of New Year’s and would like to start tomorrow, it’s as good as any- but I recommend waiting until the hangover wears off first.