As many people do this time of year, I feel compelled to craft a list of resolutions, a laundry list of items to do, others to do better, and still more to avoid. I usually avoid composing an identifiable list of new year’s resolutions for myself because the new year seems a rather arbitrary time to try to improve upon oneself – why should I start to exercise more on January 1st, rather than during the summer months when I feel particularly bad about my body and am showing more of it off? How successful can I truly be in improving my diet when I attempt to eat more fruits and vegetables during the most latent months of the harvest? The beginning of a new year doesn’t signify much to me beyond the end of the holiday season and a few weeks of dating things incorrectly until it finally clicks that the year is now 2013. If the new year bears no significant change upon our lives, what reason do we have to believe that we’ll follow through on self-imposed changes at this particularly chance moment in time? I’m quite the A-type personality throughout the rest of the year, constantly drawing up lists containing all sorts of things that need to be done. This aspect of my personality has forced me to avoid the resolution trap – were I to create a list of new year’s resolutions and not adhere to each and every item, I would feel quite bad about myself for some time.
But unlike the past few years, I felt particularly compelled to draft some resolutions this time around. I imagine this change in my perspective on the issue of resolutions has something to do with the way in which certain of my life events have nicely fallen around this turn of date. I completed graduate school on the 20th of December, representing the metaphorical beginning of a new chapter in my adult life and providing me with more free time to pursue hobbies, improve upon myself, and be ambitious. I am careful, however, not to be too ambitious – the list of resolutions I’ve created for 2013 may seem a bit overzealous with its twelve items, but these intentions have all been carefully considered and largely build upon improvements I already worked towards in 2012.
There are the practical goals, like saving more money (I provide myself with a measly sum that I’d like to add to my savings account each month – a total I have decided to defer from enumerating as it will indicate how thrifty and desperate a life I lead) and refraining from purchasing any brand new clothing or home goods (a goal that I am quite confident I will be able to successfully achieve given the number of fabulous thrift stores I have recently encountered and the fact that I have subsisted on only secondhand purchases for months at a time before). Then I have some simple and easily achievable albeit vague plans, like taking more walks, leading a balanced life, and dining al fresco more often, things that require just a little reminder every now and then until they become patterned behaviors. Other goals are more concrete, but still reachable – run for a total of 120 minutes each week (which I need to stick to since I’ll be running in the New York City half marathon on St. Patrick’s Day) and make a trip to San Diego to visit a friend whose West Coast digs I have yet to see.
There’s nothing mind blowing on this list or even life altering, but I do embrace having a selection of semi-tangible intentions for my post-grad school 2013 life. These are things that will make me happier and maybe they’ll even make me a better person as I now have the luxury of time for my own pursuits and to lead the life I want. Resolutions are far too often impractical and baseless, and people rarely have much faith in themselves to hold to them. I’m heading into 2013 with a sense of trust in myself that I will follow through on these achievable resolutions that will make my life simply better.