John Oliver offers advice on how to achieve your New Year's resolutions

"Deep down we all know the key to a successful resolution is managing disappointment," he said

By Scott Eric Kaufman
January 4, 2016 6:53PM (UTC)
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John Oliver took a brief vacation from his hiatus to discuss New Year's resolutions, which he characterized as "the exact middle ground between lying to yourself and lying to other people."

"Let’s be honest, we’re a few days into the new year now, and if you haven’t broken your New Year’s resolutions yet, statistically you are about to," he began. "That can be depressing. But don’t panic, all hope is not lost."


The "key point" about resolutions, Oliver said, "isn't how to keep them, but how to revise them when you've failed." If you've resolved to exercise more this year, instead of limiting the definition to "going to the gym," just redefine exercise as "anything that gets your heart-rate up," like "waking up late for work" or "taking a pregnancy test."

"That way," he said, "you haven’t failed in keeping your New Year’s resolution -- you’ve just succeeded in a different way."

Alternatively, Oliver argued, you could scale up your resolution to a patently unachievable level, so that you can chalk up your failure as inevitable. By way of example, he offers "throwing out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium on July 4th or winning an EGOK," which is something best left to Oliver to define.


Watch the entire clip below via YouTube.

John Oliver, Wife Welcome Baby Boy

Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at

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