Friday 11 January 2008

All Year Resolutions

I’m very dismissive of New Year Resolutions. They are usually made after a few weeks of ridiculous over-indulgence when we’re all feeling over-weight, hung-over and penniless. Hardly the best time to make major lifestyle decisions. Moreover the sorts of resolutions we all make are often just so predictable, the same ones we make each year. We promise to start taking some exercise, to cut down on the red meat and the booze and to be nicer to our partners and families.

However, as it’s so predictable and I’m a creature of habit I thought I might suggest some resolutions anyway. However these are not just New Year Resolutions, these are for all year round. These are changes I think we should all make that will genuinely help to improve our health, wealth and happiness.

Let’s start with health products. In the last two weeks I’ve encountered two health products that are frankly nonsensical. The first was a leaflet from a health shop that offered the delights of “ear candling”. This involves sticking a little candle in your ear and lighting it.

What on earth is this ridiculous concept supposed to offer? Well, the leaflet explains that doing this will clear your ears of earwax and a whole lot of toxins, poisons and other stuff you presumably don’t want in your ears. The trouble with this is that it’s all utter rubbish. Firstly there’s a reason your ears secrete ear wax. It’s useful. It is a key element in one of those wonderful self-cleaning processes our bodies perform. Removing it is unnecessary and potentially harmful.

Then there’s the theory behind this pseudoscientific hogwash. If you believe what the leaflet suggests these candles suck the wax from your ear. The supporters of this silliness claim that the revolting brown muck that emerges from the candle is extracted from your head. No it’s not. Every time these candles have been tested it’s been shown to be no more than a mixture of ash and wax from the candle itself. And anyway, how much suction do you think it would actually take to suck ear wax out of your ear? Enough probably to remove most of your brain as well although I wonder whether the proponents of ear candles have actually lost of much of their grey matter already if they believe this drivel.

Then on TV I saw an advertisement for “Slim Coffee”. This is another of the miracle cures that allows you to shed enormous amounts of weight. It’s the same old story. Take our useless product and without taking exercise and while still throwing vast quantities of food down your throat you will lose weight. Rubbish. How many times do we need to be told? Other than cutting your legs off there is no way to lose weight without effort and lifestyle change. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either a liar or profoundly mistaken.

Then there are the wealth resolutions. There are many things you could decide to do but they all come down to one simple decision. Spend less, spend smartly and save what you can. It’s easy to say this just after Christmas when we’ve all probably gone a bit over the top but now is the time to get into some better habits.

Stop showing off with your money. Very few people will actually respect you more if you get yourself hugely into debt to get that flashy new car. Most people who see someone else driving around in a brand new shiny car realise that they only did it because a bank lent them the money. They aren’t actually seen as being better looking, deeply desirable and a great catch. They are seen as a jerk who has just bought a brand new car that went down in value by 10% the very moment they bought it.

Buy second hand. Few people worry about buying a second-hand car so why is it any different with a computer, a DVD player or furniture? So long as it’s clean and has been well looked after what on earth is there to object to? You’ll save truly enormous amounts of money. Get a copy of the Advertiser and you may yourself a fortune.

Get a calculator. If you can’t do maths easily in your head then go out shopping armed with a cellphone that has a calculator built in. Before you even ask for assistance, do some maths and work out how much you’ll be paying for something if you are mad enough to buy it on credit. Multiply the instalment amount by the number of instalments and then add the deposit. Compare that cost with the cash price. Scratch your head and be surprised when you realise how much extra you are required to pay for the privilege of paying for a year or two. Then change your mind and go home. Pick up a copy of the Advertiser on your way.

And resolutions for happiness? See above. Look after your physical, emotional and financial health and the happiness will come all by itself.

This week’s stars!

  • Officer Ntshese from Central Police Station in Gaborone. Our reader lost her cellphone and when she reported it Officer Ntshese “came over to me and asked if I had been assisted. She then told me that I had to go pick up an affidavit form from the Orange office, it was raining and she went as far as to actually put me under her umbrella and proceeded to take me to the Orange shop. We met her colleague on the way and she borrowed his umbrella so that I could cover myself!!! I was really touched and have never experienced anything like this especially from our police service in Botswana.”
  • Then Ntukuna from Orange Call Centre who went above and beyond the call of duty to help our reader!

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