January is upon us and being the beginning of the year I don't doubt that we have all committed ourselves to numerous New Year's resolutions. Not content with beating ourselves up adequately throughout the year about being too fat, drinking too much, smoking too regularly and staying in a bad relationship we have been promising ourselves to leave for the last four years, January proves to be a most excellent time to self-flagellate further with more promises we are unlikely to keep.
What better way to start the year than by formalising our personal disappointments with strict 'resolutions' we feel under pressure to keep - until February at least.
Being a week in, it's probably fair to say that most people will have broken their well-intentioned resolutions. With this in mind, it might be a good time to consider that, for a change, instead of giving yourself a list of things you are not going to do this year, why not start 2015 with a list of things you are going to do.
New habits to make are far easier than old habits to break, not least of all when it comes to dating.
Let's look at arseholes, ahem.
So, you always date aresholes but this year you've promised yourself to only go for nice guys?
Yep, I hear you, good intentions. But for your records, you probably have as much chance of cutting 'bad boys' out of your life this year as you have of making it a New Year's resolution to win the lottery.
It's not personal, it is simply a fact of human nature that resolving to change an ingrained habit you have had for life overnight is extremely unlikely.
This shouldn't come as bad news either - it just means that rather than 'avoiding' outwards situations, use this year to look in a bit.
Instead of kidding yourself about unrealistic expectations (and making yourself feel crap when you can't stick to them) why not make it your New Year's resolution to give yourself a bit of a break. Beating yourself up about bad habits - be it men, booze, fags or late nights are not going to change them, they are just going to make you feel twice as bad when you struggle to quit them.
Newsflash - It isn't a question of bad luck. 'Arseholes' don't randomly gravitate towards you - you allow yourself to date men who treat you badly.
Stop making bad choices - this should be your only New Year's resolution.
Using more popular New Year's resolutions as a comparison - it's not a cake that makes you fat, it's you deciding to put it in your mouth, similarly it's not a cigarette that gives you cancer, it's you choosing to chuff away and smoke it that determines your ill health.
The same applies to men. It's not the man per se, who makes you feel like shit about yourself, it's your choice to spend time with somebody who makes you feel that way.
If you want to change your dating habits this year - think less about trying to avoiding meeting 'arseholes' and more about the way your choices make you feel. Or to put simply, forget kicking bad habits this year and start focusing on picking up good ones.
Raise your relationship bar in 2015. Cheaper than e-cigarettes, more fun than sobriety and, longterm, a resolution that can dramatically change your life - and not just until February.