It’s the second day of 2019 and I haven’t been able to come up with any useful resolutions. When I look back on previous years, at resolutions made and subsequently forgotten (ignored), I’m thinking it might be a waste of time, the whole process of coming up with ways to improve myself and the world. Especially when I’ve made unrealistic, overly ambitious resolutions (drink more turmeric, ginger, dandelion tea and less coffee, binge on kale instead of chocolate, stop laughing like a hyena). By February, I feel like a complete failure when my good intentions have gone awry.
One year, for instance, I vowed to be less impulsive. It’s an element of myself I detest, the way I often act or speak without thinking. It’s also rooted deep inside my core, going all the way back to when I was four and ran through a glass and screen door to say goodbye to a favorite babysitter. That reckless move cost me my earlobe which, fortunately, my father grabbed before rushing me to the hospital where doctors stitched it back on. Then, there was the time in kindergarten, when we were about to paint. The teacher told us not to turn the cans of powder paint upside down. Of course, this provoked my curiosity. Why couldn’t we turn the cans upside down? I did, and ended up covered with blue paint. I’ll never forget the pinched look of anger on my mother’s face when she arrived at the school to take me home. Still, it didn’t stop me from acting rashly. Nothing has, though I’ve tried.
Perhaps, instead of trying to be a better version of myself, I should simply resolve to make realistic pledges I might actually keep, instead of slipping backwards, down a slippery slope of regrets. In that case, my resolutions are pretty straightforward:
No more than four cups of coffee a day (or three espresso’s).
Binge on exceptionally good chocolate, with at least 60 percent cocoa.
Try to stay at the same weight so I don’t have to waste money on new, stretchy clothes
Come up with a witty, David Sedaris-like response when people tell me meditation would calm me down (I like turbulence or I don’t have time to be still or hyper is the new craze).
These are pledges I can actually stand behind. At the end of 2019, I’ll be able to look back and say, with pride—I kept my resolutions. I may not have bettered myself or the world in any tangible way, but I didn’t fail, either. Rather than aiming high, I aimed for honesty. Which is something to be proud of today. Right?