I struggle to make New Year’s resolutions—but not because I’m afraid I won’t accomplish them. Rather, I dislike the annual tradition of resolution-making because no one ever expects to accomplish them. It’s as if resolutions that begin on January 1 are actually made to be broken. It’s as if no one wants to be excluded from society’s collective February sigh, “Well, that was a fun exercise in failure.”
At least that’s what I thought in the past. One year, I wrote about the word “resolve” and how it doesn’t match up with our use of the term “resolution.” However, after much searching, it seems that I didn’t post this anywhere online, which means it must not exist; thus I am free to make as many New Year’s resolutions as I want.
Which is good, because a few weeks ago I was really struck by a desire to make some resolutions.
- Run a half marathon.
- Organize my finances. Start setting aside designated portions of each paycheck for retirement and emergency funds.
- Give up something for Lent again. Challenge someone else to do Lent with me.
- Drink more tea—for both its health benefits and the emotional benefits of drinking tea with friends. (My practical application: At work, swap at least one cup of coffee for a cup of tea each day.)
- Try real vegetarianism—apparently as opposed to the fake (?) version I currently employ—for a month. Include at least one week of serious, healthy veganism.
- Bake a rainbow layer cake. It probably shouldn’t be baked on the same week I go vegan. (And also bake this cake, though it’s decidedly less “rainbow” and overwhelmingly a more important color: chocolate. It’s also less a legitimate resolution than an excuse to show you what yummy, chocolate thing I’m currently dying for a reason to make.)
- Make homemade yogurt.
- Get back to D.C.—even if it’s just for a visit.
- Bleed more.
- Eat more pizza.
- While I’m in Chicago, swim in Lake Michigan and find a coffee shop with a really good Nutella latte.
- Go hiking/camping with Kim and Kane before they move.
- Write a reported piece for CT that’s longer than anything I wrote in 2012.
Thirteen resolutions for 2013. That seems like a lot (too many?), especially I just wrote about how easy it is to fail at keeping New Year’s resolutions. But I also think we often make “resolutions” when we actually are making wishes. It’s easier to wish for the impossible—to “eat healthy all the time, stop smoking cold turkey, read a classic novel a week, and run six miles…every single day…even if it is a blizzard outside”—than it is to resolve to do those impossible things, especially when you don’t actually want to do them. (For example, you may notice that “blog every day” was not on my list of resolutions. That would be a wish.)
But if I resolve to do specific, accomplishable things, my New Year’s goals don’t have to be broken after all—or at least not by February. My resolutions are of many shades (some which may not make sense to you), but they are all specific, manageable, and meaningful to me. In other words, they are things I actually want to do for the joy I will gain while accomplishing them, not just for the sake of having done so.
And more joy is something I’m willing to resolve to have in 2013.