The new year is, for most, a time of self-improvement. It’s a time to break old patterns and cast away faults. A time to grow and change. But that’s never really been my style. I don’t jog, I don’t diet, I sometimes spend entire Saturday mornings watching 90210 reruns and…I’m okay with that.

I often say that nothing tastes better than a plate of food cooked by someone else and, by god, we all know it’s the truth. I unapologetically love restaurant meals — from grubby diners to fancy cafes. But even I hear that inner neurotic voice, the one that whispers: A good homesteader would cook and bake from scratch, and not lust after that incredible lentil soup from that little cafe. Why don’t you just learn to make it yourself?

So my gift to you (my fellow anti-resolutionites) is this: ten ways to continue enjoying the pure pleasure of a hot meal away from home –conscience be damned.

Bargaining: Before taking the turn to your favorite tea roll place, you say to your companion, “Okay, we probably shouldn’t… but we’ll eat at home for the rest of the month. I swear.” Easy to promise, hard to execute.

Reward for being an adult: Once you’re out of elementary school, no one’s going to reward you for finishing your work or getting somewhere on time. What better way to say, “good job, champ” than an order of Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli with fried sage? It sure kicks the pants of a gold star.

Lunch the next day: Almost anything is justifiable if you can squeeze lunch out of the leftovers the next day. The main risk is losing yourself in the dark romanticism of the cafe and eating the whole entree. Best to make a line of demarcation right down the center and stick to the plan (no nibbling at the edges).

Crisis Coping: This one’s for the big stuff, when nothing material seems to matter much: breakups, disappointments, grief. See also, It’s Better Than Alcohol

It’s Better Than Alcohol: Useful for all manner of minor vices. Sub in cigarettes if you’re a heavy drinker. Sub in meth if you’re a smoker. I mean, aren’t all these things WAY worse than the occasional plate of hand-cut french fries with maple mayonnaise?

It’s Cheaper Than Therapy: For those not currently seeing a shrink, this versatile excuse can be applied to almost anything. Hey, if it keeps you sane….

Opportunity Cost: Think of all the things you could do with the extra hour or more of cooking/washing up time you bypass with a simple call to a pizza delivery joint. And time is money, isn’t it?

Supporting the small business: If you don’t keep this locally owned doughnut shop in business, who will?

General exhaustion: Usually stated as, “There’s no way I’m cooking anything tonight.”

Celebration: Because happiness is fleeting, and you should enjoy it.