I’m skeptical of New Year’s resolutions. There, I said it! If I were being completely honest, I think that New Year’s resolutions are inherently tenuous. At worst, they are destined to flounder by March. I usually make resolutions in September because the structural transformation of the new school year always seemed to make more sense to me.
January, though? Every December, we see a crop of articles giving people quantifiable(!), actionable(!) tools for keeping resolutions. And yet the reality is that gym memberships spike for the New Year, only for attendance to peter out as the year progresses. Yeah, take it in.
So this year, I’ve decided to move away from formula. I’m starting my year with a mindset, which I think is far more productive than a self-improvement-y “resolution.” And, more importantly, it’s easier to keep than a gym membership. And most importantly, it’s free.
In 2018, I will choose purpose over perfection. In the words of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, I will not measure my dreams by the odds that they’ll come true, but value them for the way that they stir “the will to aspire.” When I am given the choice between something that is new and meaningful and risky, and something that I already know that I’m good at, I will choose the former. I will not shy away from risks. Instead, I will make extravagant mistakes. I will make worthwhile mistakes in pursuit of that greater, improbable aspiration.
In 2018, I will pursue something that is meaningful to me every day. I will dig out spaces in my life and fill them with the things that excite me. Whether it is making time to pursue art, or local activism, I will make sure that each day is one where I can reaffirm the things that I think are important. I will work to make sure that my feminism is inclusive of black, Muslim, Latinx, Asian, indigenous, low-income, and trans women. I will continue the fight for humane healthcare. I will make sure that I write for me, with my own voice, first and foremost.
I will fill 2018 with love and creative surprises. I will pay attention to what I pay attention to, and improvise from there. I will honor my curiosity and let it lead me to learn something new. I won’t discount joy as some frivolous emotion, but recognize that joy and knowledge are mutually reinforcing. Whatever I do, I will do it with love, which to me means sincerity. I will not down-play my pride or my delight. So when I tell the story of my 2018, I will use too many exclamation points.
And maybe—just maybe—I’ll floss every day, too.
I hope your new year is full of light. I hope you are one of the lucky few who keep their resolutions. I hope you walk into 2018 only promise ahead of you and with the wind at your striding feet.
Do you have any resolutions, quantifiable or otherwise, for 2018? Hold yourself accountable to them by commenting here, for the whole Internet to see! Because that’s a legit resolution-keeping tactic! Kidding. Share what you want, I’m an equally confused blogger, not an advice columnist.