They say the best way to guarantee you won’t do something is to make it a New Year’s resolution. Look at me for living proof of this adage. We’re only a few days into the year and already I’m an utter failure.

It’s a shame because I really thought I was onto something this time around. In years past I would vow to improve myself in some way. These attempted resolutions, I realize now, were each rookie moves. “I’m going to work out more,” I would declare. “I’m going to drink less! I’m going to stop beating animals!”

One year I even resolved to attain enlightenment in 12 months, devising a technique I named “Speed Meditation” to move things along. None of these plans for a “better me” ever got off the ground for more than a few days, so I decided a strategy change was in order for 2004. By setting the bar so low for myself that it was metaphorically underground, I thought I would guarantee myself some much-needed feelings of accomplishment and success.

Smoking more cigarettes, for example, seemed feasible. I figured the more cigarettes I’d smoke, the more addicted I’d get, then I’d need to smoke even more, and so on it would go in a cycle of success. In my excitement over a seemingly doable goal, I forgot that Fate is a sadistic bastard and was caught off-guard when he decided to bestow upon me a nasty cough. My nicotine intake has sunk to a six-month low. Thanks a ton, Fate.

Being more apathetic to politics was another one I didn’t have much luck with.

I figured this one would be like swimming with the tide, but I failed to take into account the oceanic depth of my geekiness. When a friend attempted to discuss new Medicare policy with me over some beers, I nearly broke out in a sweat as I claimed ignorance on the issue and brought up football. Watching television, my remote control finger itched to switch the channel to C-SPAN, and I had to subdue my intellect by gazing slack-jawed at vapid shows on VH1 and MTV. My brother was even instructed to burn the latest issue of The Economist when it arrived so as to prevent my reading it and becoming worked up about something.

After four grueling hours of this, I realized the resolution was unattainable and spent the night nursing my frequently imagined fantasy where I tell Bush off in the angriest and crudest way possible. I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

Finally, efforts to increase my flippancy have crashed and burned. I was doing quite well with this one, ignoring people for no discernable reason, effortlessly pulling sarcastic and dismissive remarks out of the air and inserting them into otherwise pleasant conversations. It wasn’t until I got into town that this resolution met its doom, when the increased flippancy of others one-upped my own and caused it to fade, replacing it with frustration, the exact opposite of what I was going for.

So 2004 and I are now settling in for the long haul. A precedent has been set for my endeavors this year, and I am bracing for more encounters with defeat, which is slowly becoming an old friend.

Poor Drew Atkins, a Daily Nexus staff writer, makes time each week to hang out with his pals Defeat, Humiliaion and Shame.