Resolve to Skip Resolutions This Year
If there was ever a year to skip New Year’s resolutions, it’s this one. Seriously. They don’t matter.
If there was ever a year where New Year’s resolutions truly didn’t matter, it’s this one.
There are Americans out there who have barely come out of this year alive. I mean that quite literally. Many others have lost loved ones, or lost their sense of self, compounded by a political landscape that would be absurd if it wasn’t so damaging.
People are feeling the pressure to start anew in 2021, despite all of these outside influences causing a dumpster fire of emotions and the simple fact that life probably won’t look much different on Jan. 1.
So to that effect, I say screw new year’s resolutions.
They don’t matter.
If you’re feeling like you need a fresh start, you do you. But don’t feel like that needs to happen because a new year is around the corner. Seriously, it’s going to start just like the old year in the grand scheme of things, ball drop or not.
Is that still happening, by the way?
So let’s take a look at some common resolutions folks make for the new year, followed by why none of them really matter when it comes down to it, particularly after the year we’ve all had.
Eat Right/Lose X Number of Pounds
Seriously? Eating my feelings is how I got through March-May, and then again October-December. The months in between had a veneer of hope stretched over them, much like my pants, as we got out and enjoyed some local hikes and trails and hoped an end to the pandemic was in sight.
Folks who have gotten all buff during the pandemic are impressive, for sure, but it shouldn’t have been the norm. If you notice on your latest Zoom call that a friend of yours is packing a few extra around the chin area, shut your mouth about it.
They know. They know you know. There’s no reason to draw attention to the struggle of being surrounded by snacks all day with nowhere to go to motivate you NOT to look like what you look like this moment.
After 10 months in stretchy clothes, I’m not even trying to button anything up right now.
And why should I? Nowhere I’m going needs buttons. Frankly, let’s just quit buttons when this is all over. Unnecessary.
Read X Number of Books
I try to read a mix of nonfiction and fiction, with a particular focus on books this year that taught me more about how white people are awful.
I say this very earnestly, by the way. I always knew this, if subconsciously, but now I have more evidence.
Sometimes, though, you just want to veg out. And that means binge-watching the latest thing Nicole Kidman put up there on HBO Max or finally getting to the Karate Kid sequels or staring at a blank screen all fuzzed over because that’s all you can handle in that moment.
Read because you want to, not because it’s homework.
If you only have enough brainpower to read some trash, read that trash. No one should be judging your library right now, even if it’s full of covers featuring beefcakes in loincloths.
And if you’re worried about judgement coming from those Zoom calls because your bookshelf is in full view, put up a tropical background instead and call it a day. Your pals/coworkers will appreciate the whimsy that comes from a fun virtual background.
Organize Your Life
I mean, I guess it feels good to have all of my baking supplies organized and labeled using that label maker I thought I needed when we were putting together our wedding registries.
But I’d be able to figure out which bin the brown sugar was in regardless, as it’s the sugar that’s brown, so I’m not sure how life-changing that all was.
This year also taught me that we probably need less stuff, not more of it. We weren’t out there tossing whatever didn’t spark joy, but it did allow us to spend more where it felt more meaningful: charity, buying things from small businesses, and supporting local eateries with our aggressive takeout habits.
There was SO much takeout.
Other than the pantry, though, my life doesn’t feel more organized.
And yet, here I am, writing because it feels right in this moment, paying my bills when they’re due, keeping the dog fed and entertained, making lists of aspirational tasks that will feel good to complete when this is all over, or not. The world didn’t implode because I did a crappy job crafting the perfect daily calendar or because I didn’t stick to my personal publishing schedule or because the baseboards never got that second coat of paint.
Unless it’s linked to your employment status, nobody even notices if you don’t do those things, by the way. If it feels good to you to do things in that just so way, by all means, go for it.
But I promise you that if you miss a mark on that task list, your friends will still love you, your dog’s tail will still wag when they see after you an absence, and you and your partner will still spend an absurd amount of time figuring out what to get for dinner tonight.
It’s likely you’re getting takeout, though.
Exercise X Minutes Per Day
First of all, that is an aggressive setup.
But also, there were days this year where it hurt to move. That’s the weight of the world, people.
We are lucky enough to be in San Diego where you can take a walk outside in December without your hair breaking off. But if you can’t go to the gym — because we’re still in a pandemic and that sounds like something that shouldn’t be allowed right now anyway — don’t feel like you have to brave the tundra just to get those steps in.
If you want to, that’s another thing. You do you, you beast. But if you don’t want to, or if you’re exhausted from doomscrolling on Twitter or reminding your family members to wear their masks or hearing about the latest milestone of dead or dying or mutated viruses, that’s OK, too.
Sometimes it feels good to move.
Sometimes it feels good not to.
Both are fine.
Learn a New Hobby
I finally learned how to use the guide on the live TV function, only to be told that we’re likely switching providers.
That’s what I get for caring about something other than the multitude of streaming options I’m more well-versed in.
As far as real hobbies, who has time for all of that when you’re in a Facebook war with a distant relative who just watched Plandemic?
I’ve been trying to incorporate some more yoga into my life, but anything more than once a week feels like another chore that I have to complete in order to be better, or keep up with the Joneses or the Instagram queens out their in their Spandex all lithe and flexible.
Does it feel good?
Does it support your growth?
Or does it stress you out?
Oh, it stresses you out? Then don’t do it. That’s silly.
Spend Less Money/Save More Money
This one always smacks of privilege, right? The assumption here is that there is money left over at the end of the month to save. I’ve always been a good saver, as I worked in entry-level journalism while living in (and then around) Washington, D.C., years ago, with rent eating up ¾ of my salary each month.
I still shudder thinking about that night I bought a jumbo size pitcher of mojitos to seem like this breezy girl who lived very much in the moment, when that generosity simply came from one too many mojitos.
I’m in a better position today, as my husband is an excellent budgeter and saver with a background in jobs that were more generous than my more creative/”rewarding” pursuits. We’d been so lucky that we could travel regularly pre-pandemic, internationally and domestically, showing off about it on social media like people often do because of those Joneses.
What a bunch of jackwagons, those Joneses.
So we’ve been able to save more money despite making less money — we’re both entrepreneurs now — while answering the call to support our local small businesses.
But we understand many others aren’t so lucky. Many are out of work, wishing for help that isn’t coming, watching people complain about things that seriously don’t matter, like how they miss getting nail decals or their car detailed or throwing a few back at the bar.
If you’re similarly lucky, perhaps you can throw some coin over to a charity or two, or check in on that weird neighbor who’s always outside having a stress cigarette at the same hour every night, or keep those tips healthy when you’ve finally decided on the takeout choice for tonight.
See? None of It Really Matters
So why not just opt to do what you need to for your fellow (wo)man. Rather than resolve to firm up those abs or write the next great American novel — if that’s your thing, it’ll come when you put less pressure on yourself and set smaller, daily goals, or so I hear — resolve to be less self-absorbed.
Learn something new about how you operate, examine uncomfortable truths about how you communicate with others, think about why things that shouldn’t tick you off so much tick you off so much. If you’re surrounding yourself with toxic humans who make you feel like garbage, why are you doing that?
Consider the things that do matter, and what small actions you can take to make things a little bit better for someone else.
And then consider what will inevitably make you happy at the end, because it’s likely not a cabinet full of labeled spices.