I resolve to:
1. Eat less
2. Spend less
3. Make more friends
4. Waste less time
5. Exercise more
HA. Did you think this was my list? No way. I’m falling asleep just looking at that list.
Frankly, I’m NOT going to write a boring list of New Year’s Resolutions. I never do, and I actually think it’s kind of pointless. *GASP!* Seriously. Most people don’t even stick to them for a month, let alone a year. My thought is this: if you want to make a change, make it now. Or better yet, make it yesterday. Sure, I want to improve myself. But calling it a “New Year’s Resolution” somehow detracts from both its importance and its likelihood of success. It’s like giving up things for Lent just so you can spend weeks talking about what you gave up for Lent, when we all know that you’re either a) cheating, b) going to fail soon, or c) will emerge victorious with way too much pride (which, by the way, is a deadly sin).
We aren’t programmed to predict, plan, play out, and process a year at a time, so why do we make these “resolutions” as though we can? Why not make realistic goals at the beginning of each day? In the technology-inescapable age with non-stop bells, whistles, flashing lights, and our resulting minuscule attention spans, why not bite off only what we can chew? One of the biggest causes of goal failure is doing too much at first – when it’s new and exciting – and then burning out before we can even reap the benefits of our new habit (or extinguished habit). So don’t set yourself up for failure.
In light of my contrary (and somewhat condescending) mood, I’m going to make some “Anti-Resolutions,” which I intend to take one DAY (not year) at a time. To those of you that want to lose weight and save money: best of luck in your noble endeavors. But that’s not what I want. I want to live a life of excitement and fulfillment – not restriction and deprivation. I want the type of life someone might write a book about, a life where you look back on the adventures rather than the bypassed opportunities. A life of dangerous risks, brutal mistakes, and amazing rewards. A life of fresh air, deep emotion, and lasting impact. So here’s my list.
1. Eat MORE
Not necessarily volume, but quality and variety. I (and I’d wager most people) find great enjoyment in good food. So why do so many people make a goal to deprive themselves? No one starts their day thinking “I hope I can go this entire day without laughing ONCE.” So why do we do that with food we love? The key to each bite is considering the whole picture. What makes food “good” is not just taste, but nutritional value, variety, energy, health repercussions, and enjoyment factor. Think about each as a separate basket that you get to fill each day! If passing up that morning pastry will leave you downtrodden the whole day, eat the darn pastry, and be thankful you got to fill your “enjoyment” basket. Then spend the rest of the day trying to fill the other baskets in a suitable way. So my DAILY goal? Enjoy every bite, and don’t deprive without a stinking good reason.
2. Spend MORE
No, I’m not aiming to become a shopaholic. On a grad-student budget, that’s just not an option. But I work hard for my money, and I want to enjoy it. I’ve always been a saver, and to be honest, it has turned into a bit of a debilitating obsession. Does saving every penny lead to a more fulfilling life than occasionally going for the scallops over the chicken? The decadent mocha over the instant coffee? The movie theater with friends over staying in on Friday night? Money in and of itself has no inherent value. But we tend to hoard it away as though that will one day make us happy. Saving is important, but so is considering the enjoyment value of all of our options. What will make you more happy, finally using that rainy day fund to go skydiving, or knowing that $150 is sitting safely in the bank when something more exciting than skydiving comes up. Here’s a hint: meaningful experiences are worth more than money, and everything is relative. All I know is that next time I go to the beach, I’m splurging on that ice cream cone. Because even though I cognitively know that $4 for a pint of ice cream is a better deal than $4 on a single cone, I will no doubt gain relatively more enjoyment out of the single ice cream cone in the hot sun while walking barefoot along the beach than having ice cream every night for a week in a glass bowl at home (this goes back to my eat more resolution and the importance of the enjoyment factor over quantity). My resolution is to consider how I spend money EACH DAY and whether I’m getting the greatest ROI. Because sometimes the glitter nail polish beats the .03% interest on my money market account.
3. Make more ENEMIES
Yup. I said it. I’m sick of tiptoeing. I’m sick of apologizing for things I don’t need to apologize for just to avoid conflict. I am sick of people-pleasing and the incessant need for everyone to like me. I’m so used to going with whatever anybody else wants to do that it causes me inordinate anxiety when I have to make my own decision on something, to try and figure out what I actually want. I’ve convinced myself that I always just want what other people want. But that can’t actually be true. I’m not saying that I intend to become incredibly selfish or that making enemies is necessarily good. But avoiding it at all costs? That’s pretty bad. And I’m totally guilty. For some reason, even the people that I don’t like I still want to like me. It’s kind of pathetic. So my resolution is take a stand EACH DAY for something I want, believe, or think. I like these quotes: “If you don’t have enemies, you don’t have character.” (Paul Newman) “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” (Winston Churchill) If you didn’t notice, I’ve already started on this goal by making my first goal to “eat more”…I’m sure that one’s not going to make me a lot of friends!
4. Waste MORE time
Time is precious, and there never seems to be enough of it. I often feel pressured into a frenzied pace, trying to be relentlessly “productive” and not spending it on things that seem too leisurely. But frankly, leisure is what holds me together. What makes me feel like reading in the park or laying on the beach or spending hours chatting over coffee with a friend is a waste of time, but spending endless hours at the office is somehow not? I have absolutely no idea, and because it will be harder for me to change my perception of what constitutes a waste of time, I guess I’ll just resolve to waste more of it. There’s certainly a time for work and a time for play, but we need to learn to be okay with doing what makes us happy. Over these past few months, for example, I’ve grown to really love blogging. Writing about nothing more than my random thoughts. Thoughts that I’m probably not qualified to write about, let alone qualified to have. Frankly, this endeavor seems like the biggest waste of time yet. So I think I’ll do it more! This year I resolve to do something I enjoy EACH DAY, even if it might (inaccurately) seem like a waste.
5. Exercise LESS
Okay, this one might be a bit of a stretch. We all know I’m a little bit addicted to exercise. What I mean is to focus less on big numbers, and more on consistency and feasible chunks. Running makes me feel good, so while shooting to run more is daunting, shooting to run more often is doable. Which is why I’ll shoot to run an average of a measly ONE mile per day in 2015. Yup, just a mile. An average of eight minutes a day. Easy peasy! And to stay on track and hold myself accountable, I’ve decided to start using the Nike Plus Running App. I’ve inconsistently used Map My Run in the past, usually logging (or failing to log) an estimated workout after the fact, but I like the idea of starting from zero and being able to see my progress throughout the year (especially now that I’ve entered the smartphone age). And let others give me a hard time if I’m not keeping up! And if I reach that magical 365th mile on or before 31 December 2015, I will reward myself by eating more and spending money on something that may make enemies and waste time.