It bothers me way more than it should to hear people they don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. Their rationale is usually something lame like, “Oh, they never stick anyway,” as if that’s something completely outside of one’s control (only you can prevent your New Year’s resolutions from failing, darlings). Tell me you’re not making resolutions because you’re already perfect and I might be sympathetic; but if your reason is simply that you’ve already accepted failure, I think you deserve that storied swift kick in the butt (and if you snark on other people for making resolutions, a punch in the stomach along with it, yo).
Because New Year’s resolutions — as much as people like to invest them with all sorts of magical powers — are simply acknowledgements of the areas of your life you’d like to work on in 2013; commitments to yourself or the people in your life to try a little harder; hopeful notes in a crazy world. How can anyone not like resolutions? Who doesn’t have some area of their life in which they’d like to be better?
And there’s the rub: Being better can be daunting. Too many people commit to too many resolutions at this time of year, pledge too much change — the Rilo Kiley song ‘Better Son or Daughter’ is coming to mind:
I shared that a) because it’s still an amazing song (Jenny Lewis & Blake Sennett 4 ever!!!) and b) because if your resolutions sound anything like that, you may be aiming a little too high. Please don’t worry about being better, smarter, happy or “beautiful” in 2013 — those things are all fine, but those things will take care of themselves while you’re working on more tangible goals like sending a card to your Grandma once a month or saving all dollar bills whose code starts with your first initial or learning to bake vegan cupcakes or taking a woodworking class or keeping houseplants alive.
Whatever your resolutions are, it’ll behoove you to be specific and start small. Don’t vow “to exercise” in 2013; pick a particular workout that’s intrigued you buy/borrow a DVD or sign up for a local class. Don’t vow “to read more” in 2013; make a syllabus of the books you’d like to finish by half-way through the year. Keeping your resolutions concrete helps ensure they don’t get lost in the nebulous never land of best intentions. And keeping your resolutions small isn’t anything to be ashamed of — it makes them more manageable in the short term, and it gives you something to build on throughout the year.