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John Oliver talks New Year's resolutions in Last Week Tonight digital short

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Courtesy YouTube/HBO

Every year, we promise ourselves that we’ll become newer, better people, thanks to the baffling practice of creating — and, eventually, failing to adhere to — New Year’s resolutions.

But according to John Oliver, the key to managing your disappointment is to revise your expectations and to redefine the parameters of your resolutions. Want to exercise more? Oliver recommends that you lower your standard of what physical activity means to anything that kicks up your heart rate. For example, waking up late for work, or taking a pregnancy test. That way, “You haven’t failed your New Year’s resolutions, you’ve just succeeded in a different way.” 

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See the full clip above for a more optimistic take on imminent disappointment, because you’re not really going to learn how to pronounce “açaí,” are you? (Because “there’s no way to know for sure,” assures Oliver. “The science simply isn’t in yet.”) 

Last Week Tonight returns to HBO on Feb. 14 — “Until then, please enjoy your failures.”