Are New Year’s resolutions worth the hassle or will you join the resolutionaries? Follow these helpful thoughts to get you through the New Year with pride.
1. a person who advocates or engages in good intentions for the new year but doesn’t have the follow through to last the year.
A few years back, a few friends and I noticed our gym get significantly more crowded in January, only for it to drop off, for the most part, around February. “Resolutionaries”, I dubbed those that did not stick around, knowing it was a New Year’s resolution that likely prompted their sudden penchant for Tabata or Zumba classes and my new inability to get the elliptical I liked. To be clear, I’m not expressing disdain for those who want to make changes in their lives; rather, I simply think that making those changes as New Year’s resolutions sets most people up for failure. Resolutions get broken, forgotten, swept under the rug by February.
Years ago, I came up with my own alternative to New Year’s resolutions. Instead of making a list of things I want to change or new habits I want to develop, I start the year the way I want to spend it. Every year, I pay my credit card and bookstore accounts down to zero, so I start the year as free of debt as I can be. (However, my mortgage for instance, is not going to be paid to zero unless a random lottery ticket works out.) One year, I went to Hawaii to express that I wanted to spend the year travelling. For a number of years, I’ve spent the evening with one of my closest friends (and her husband, when he’s not at camp), watching the fireworks from her window while sipping Prosecco, then watching movies while she grumped about being awake until midnight, at which point we’d start the year dancing.
This year, since my friend and her husband were travelling and our midnight dance tradition was on hold, I thought long and hard about how I wanted to spend my first minutes of 2017. Suffice it to say that 2016, for me at least, needed banishing into the ether with the psychic blows we’d suffered with Brexit, America’s election of a vocal racist, misogynist fascist infant as their president, and the loss of several beloved celebrities such as David Bowie, Prince, George Michael, Debbie Reynolds, and Carrie Fisher, who “drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra”. To those that might scoff at a claim to feeling pain at someone who was not known personally to us, it is not their fame we are mourning. We are mourning what they meant to us, what they represented. Carrie Fisher, to me, was not Princess Leia in a bikini, but instead a brilliant writer who did not suffer bullshit and an advocate for those suffering mental illness. These people were revolutionaries for the LGBT+ communities, for sex positivity, for body positivity, for so much more.
In the coming years, we will need revolutionaries more than ever. We will need to unite against tyranny, to refuse to let the mainstream media normalize Trump and the Neo-Nazis who are actively trying to rebrand themselves as the “alt-right”. (Not on our watch.) We will need to unite against the sneaky bills that attack the poor rather than try to address poverty. (Not on our watch.) We will need to unite against racism and sexism and all the “isms” that they will try to usher in on January 20th. (Not on our watch.) We will need to take up the mantles of the Carrie Fishers, David Bowies, George Michaels, and all those that came before.
I started the year writing, helping out a friend, and helping out a stranger. I started the year expressing my love to those with whom I’m closest. I started the year with kindness, but also with vigilance. I started this year wide awake. This coming year will need those things from me, from us all. Stay safe out there. And happy New Year.
Have you found a way to avoid becoming one of the many “resolutionaries”? How will you spend your time in January?
1. people who advocate or engage in good intentions for the new year but don’t have the follow through to last the year. Usually quitting before the end of 3 months.
“I couldn’t find a free treadmill, the place was overflowing with hopeful resolutionaries.”
*Feature photo by Clem Onojeghuo.