Your social media feed is stuffed to bursting with the resolutions your friends and family are making for the new year. All the good and earnest people feel the need to proclaim their newfound motivation to the world. Maybe they figure it will help them stay accountable if they announce their amazing new pretend life on the internet.
Let me poke a hole in all of that for you. There is a reason gyms are piled high with sweaty bodies wearing brand new spandex in January, yet you could march a drum band through that same place in February. When we decide we are going to make changes suddenly, and completely, we are destined for the junk pile of hopes and dreams. New Year’s resolutions are the first lie.
In January, you may read motivational articles. You find yourself weeping a small tear of inspiration and determination, but it is a false flag, my friend. When you do finally start to make the changes of which you dream, the crying will be ugly.
A little advice about promises you make to yourself:
If your plan is to lose a few pounds, chances are pretty good that you just dug your resolution list out of the back of the fridge, where it has been every year for your entire middle age.
You are probably a bit, or a lot fat and you will always be at least a smidge unhappy about it. That is just how it goes. Suddenly upending your entire grocery list and rearranging your daily schedule to include a long jog in order to shed your blubbery suit is not going to last. The sad reality is that this approach only works for 5% of people. Try moderation, rumour has it that sometimes works.
Same is true for taking up running, not only is it only for the few and the crazy, you shouldn’t post online about it. Nobody cares.
So you want to quit smoking? Good plan cupcake. Smoking is stupid, and yes, people judge you for it. It makes you smell like smoked goat and slowly turns your face grey. You know you need to give it up, you have tried before. Chance are it won’t work, even if you declare it on Facebook. You will sneak one, and it will be over for another year. Try this: get meds and use them. Maybe if you stop now, you can avoid being that sad loser carting an oxygen tank at your daughter’s wedding.
Going to write a book this year? Good for you, but could you at least make it interesting? The rest of us don’t care about your wandering musings. Tell a story, make it interesting and stop talking about it, just do it. Do you think Stephen King tweets “I wrote 1000 words today”? No, he does not, he just writes them.
Are considering taking up some weird self-help hobby like octopus meditation, aromatherapy, naked vision dreaming or deep anal massage for mental health? That stuff works for some people, but frankly making new friends, or connecting with old ones would probably benefit you more. Besides, if you take up stream of consciousness Pinterest posting, you will lose any friends you have left.
Maybe this is the year you plan to take that trip you have always dreamt about? Ok, now we are talking. This resolution should be pretty much at the top of your list. Travel, in my personal opinion, is the single best thing there is and no amount of lugubrious self-reflection will come anywhere near the healing benefits of experiencing a new place. Just go somewhere and be something. Try some new shit, talk to strangers, walk around and belly up to the bar with the locals. Do something you wouldn’t post on social media, but that you smile about when you remember it. Then come back home and suddenly your life will be more interesting than when you left. I promise.
Now go check your list of resolutions, kiss it goodbye and pack your damned bag, your adventure is waiting.