The New Year fast approaches and, with it come the usual postmortems. Good riddance to last year, we say. Onwards, upwards, and so on. Whatever unique stew of misfortune the previous year served up, you look brightly to the future, ready to put it all behind you, to start anew, to seize the promise of a fresh, untainted calendar.
With all the optimism in the air, now is hardly the time to reflect on last year's resolutions. You were totally going to get in shape...but the gym was always crowded, and they played terrible music, and why do they call it "spin class" when it's really just riding a stationary bike? Anyway, the gym wasn't for you.
You were going to spend more of your time pitching in around the community. But it rained every single time they every did a park cleanup, and they were overbooked with volunteers at the old folks home, and your latex allergies prevented you from putting in time at the nearby health clinic.
Look, we're not here to judge. We're sure you'll do better next year. But maybe you need to start with a resolution you can actually keep. Make it something attainable. Make it something you can follow through on. Make it something that you can look back on with pride exactly a year from now, instead of with the shame you feel every time you look at the treadmill that you use to stack laundry and mail.
With that in mind, we offer 10 New Year's Resolutions That Anybody Can Keep.
1. Make Your Mark
It doesn't have to be a big mark. Plant a garden. Etch your initials in wet cement. Fashion a bench out of a fallen tree. Leave an impression on the world around you. You don't have to be a showboat about it. Unless that's your thing. In which case, showboat away. But find ways big and small to say, "I was here."
2. Hold Doors Open
Hold doors open for people and thank them when they hold doors open for you. How hard is that? Also, let people into your lane when you're driving, stop the elevator door from closing when you see somebody running to catch it, and try not to do that thing where you sort of race somebody's shopping cart with your shopping cart without making eye contact so that you can be next in line without appearing as though you're trying to be next in line. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. Don't do that. Be kind and considerate and contribute to a culture of kindness and consideration.
3. Be Bad At Stuff
I, for one, have never been very good with a yo-yo. I pledge to spend at least some portion of this year steeped in abject frustration as I attempt to become a better and more versatile person. 2017 is the year I get a yo-yo to come back to me. In the interests of being a more well-rounded human being, take on maddening challenges, whether you've always wanted to juggle, you're awful at macrame, or you're just tired of being made the fool every time you try to use your saran wrap dispenser. Practice until you've gone from terrible to mediocre.
4. Face Your Fear
...unless that fear is an angry bear, in which case, trust your instincts. But face a fear that probably won't kill you and feed your face to its young. For instance, I intend to fly a kite at some point this year. You see, I'm afraid of heights and while my head knows I'm not the one whipping around up there 100 feet above sea level, my adrenaline seems pretty confused. The very thought of flying a kite gives me that same queasy, weightless feeling as being at altitude. Well, it's time to toughen up. This year, I will fly a kite. I know, I know. So brave. But don't just sit back and admire me. Go and conquer your own fears this year.
...instead of just waiting for your turn to talk. People are fascinating, their lives are mysterious, and you have no idea what revelations may hide beneath the surface, even of those whom you hold most dear. But you can learn a lot if you just listen instead of formulating the next witty retort in your head.
6. Say Yes
Say yes as often as you can. When somebody invites you to a party, when a friend displays works at an art gallery, when your cousin's insufferable jam band has a gig. Sure, the band is awful. They exclusively perform reggae Phish covers. It's really embarrassing. And you'll definitely have to bite your tongue and pretend you liked it when you see him after the show. But that's not really the point. The point is, show your support. Be the kind of person who shows up. Put yourself out there for others. That kind of karma will come back to you in amazing ways that you can't possibly imagine.
7. Return Calls
...and texts, and emails, and telegrams. And do it quickly. I won't hold you to a strict telegram schedule but be the kind of person that responds. Don't keep friends, relatives, colleagues, or even friendly strangers waiting. Give others the time of day. No matter who you are, you aren't that important and you aren't that busy. Make others a priority in your schedule and in your life.
8. Don't Be Embarrassed
Care less what others think about your eccentricities, whether you make the decision to wear something eye-catching, call into a sports radio show with an opinion, or sing along at the top of your lungs to a Whitney Houston song at a stop light, with your car windows wide open, because who cares that the cool kids in the vehicle next to you are laughing, recording you and turning your likeness into a soon-to-be viral Vine .gif. Live boldly, freely and unafraid of judgement.
9. Be Happy For Others
Jealousy is hideous, especially among friends. When your loved ones succeed in life, hold them up with love and support. Don't tear them down with envy. When somebody you love does something great, it is a credit to you that this talented and ambitious person is a part of your life. It is not a cause to examine your own life and feel crummy about what you haven't accomplished. Be a cheerleader for your friends and family. You'll be amazed at how many people you have in your fan club when you achieve something great.
10. Accept and Give Compliments
How annoying is it when you're like "you look great!" and the other person's like, "Who me? Nah."? Nobody's buying your false modesty. You know you look great. Own it. And as long as you're feeling good about yourself, take a moment to make somebody else feel good. Compliment an outfit, a performance, an achievement, whatever. If you see something you admire, don't be stingy with the positive reinforcement.
Those are our resolutions for the year. We think it's the perfect balance between ambitious and kind of lazy. All of these are well-meaning but readily achievable without adding to your already hectic life and schedule.
Any resolutions you plan on making and subsequently keeping or breaking in the coming year? Let us know!
And of course, Happy New Year!