I’ve never really been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Humans successfully change our behaviors slowly and incrementally. We rarely make big sweeping changes in big sweeping fashion, so resolutions are often just a setup for failure. “I’m going to lose twenty pounds”, “I’m going to quit smoking” and “I’m going to stop drinking” are great ideas, perhaps, but taking action towards their successful achievement can’t happen all at once. Allie Brosh blogs about this beautifully here. And we are so likely to break our New Year’s resolutions that there’s a whole How Stuff Works article dedicated to it.
And there are lots of ways to BS resolutions too. Resolving to keep getting hammered with your friends every Friday is not only really lacking in creativity, it’s entirely unoriginal. Resolve to do something you’re already doing? Bo-ring.
So I don’t really want to do either of those things. I do want to make a few resolutions, though, in terms of creating new habits or reshaping old ones to better fit me. 2015 was the year I got sober for -IhopeIhopeIhope- the last time, which was certainly a sweeping change, and it brought a lot of other changes into my life that I (mostly) appreciate. I do want to lose about thirty pounds and I’d like to quit smoking one of these days. I’d like a daily twenty minute meditation practice too. In light of those ideas (not calling them “goals”…that’s just annoying), these are my resolutions for 2016:
- I resolve to think about what I eat. I am a terrible mindless snacker, and while I am getting better about not eating candy all the time, I will still plow through half a bag of pretzels while writing an I Heart Intelligence article. I don’t always have time to sit down and eat and I know how to snack healthfully, so I am going to think about what I am putting into my body when I put things into my body. Pretty basic.
- I resolve to stop smoking while cycling by February. This seems nuts, right…smoking while cycling is totally counterproductive as well as, on Fort Collins bike trails, illegal. But I do it routinely, and I know if I stop smoking while cycling it’ll make it easier to quit altogether. This is going to require a few other things -habitually putting my pack of smokes and lighter in my pannier instead of my pocket, for example- but I think I can manage that.
- I resolve to be kinder to myself. I am a terrible self-critic, and I am genuinely mean to myself a lot of the time. I am surrounded regularly by people whose intelligence and compassion and insight and humor and authenticity absolutely amaze me, and these people all seem to enjoy being around me, so obviously the self-hatred is totally unfounded and needs to take a hike. Not to say there aren’t things I need to improve on, but in order to do so, being a little kinder to me has to happen.
- I resolve to write daily. I love writing. And the only way to get better at it is to do more of it, so. Write daily. Blog posts, IHI articles, whatever…gotta sit down at least once a day and get some words flowing.
- I resolve to retain the things I love about myself, and perhaps expand upon them. I laugh out loud routinely -really loud, usually- and I love that about me. I get excited and impassioned and engaged in conversation, and I enjoy learning as much as I can. I generally see the world through rose-coloured glasses. I use British spellings when I think they look prettier. I am a spelling and grammar Nazi and a total logophile. I am super-affectionate with my friends and family. I can talk to just about anyone and draw them out. I take charge when nobody else will in group situations, and I organize and lead fairly effectively. I self-appraise pretty well. When I set my mind to something, I get it done. I show up when and where I am expected, and I’m even usually on time. I really like all of that stuff about me, and I think I can do all of it better. I can always draw on the positive in pretty much any situation…and I can evaluate accordingly when the situation is clearly problematic. I can take the lead in conversations but make sure I am listening and asking questions that will get the other person/people involved as well. I can make grammar and spelling suggestions more kindly. I can figure out ways to phrase corrections so that they’re suggestions. I can always, always learn.
So there. I think that as far as New Year’s resolutions go those are some pretty good ones. And now I am starving, so I am going to go make a little snack that I think about before I consume, and research my next article for IHI.