There’s almost a tongue-in-cheek aspect to most New Year’s resolutions, especially the common ones. Falling in love, losing weight, quitting smoking, and getting your financial shit together are the top ones, and if you announce that you’re doing one of them, it almost goes without saying that you mean “for a couple of days in January, at least.” It says more about what you think you should be doing than what you actually want to do. So, if your resolution for 2014 is the same one that you didn’t follow through with for 2013, maybe you should do yourself a favor and not bother.
I’m not saying that you should never set goals for yourself, but New Year’s is a goal-setting trap. That arbitrary, insecurity-ridden social pressure only lasts a couple of days, and then you’re on your own. Most of the time, when we make a resolution, we don’t want to do the work of going through with it, what we want is the result. You may like the idea of being a runner, but if you hate running, that’s not what you should be doing. Furthermore, when there really is something major in your life that needs changing, you shouldn’t wait around for January. If heroin is destroying your life, you need to get on that as soon as fucking possible. Like, yesterday, even if yesterday was in March. I hear that March is a great time to stop doing opiates. (Dramatic example, but you get the picture.)
I’ve had a couple of successful New Year’s resolutions, but I’ve had way more success with small, specific goals that have nothing to do with what month it is. However, the resolutions that I have kept had nothing to do with what I “should” be doing. I mean, I’m fully aware that I should exercise more, drink way less caffeine, and procrastinate less about schoolwork. I fail those resolutions every time, and the difference between those things and the resolutions that I kept is that I actually wanted to do the latter. My most successful resolution was one I set as a kid, when I decided that I was going to keep a diary because I was going to be famous one day and would obviously need something for my biography. So now I have a shelf full of journals and a useful mechanism for coping with anxiety. Another resolution was about movies; I was just starting to get interested in film beyond “whatever’s on” and decided to watch one every week, basically so I could get as much exposure as possible. I jumped from corny to scary to pretentious, lingered in the 80’s high school genre, and generally had a great time.
Basically, you should do something fun for 2014. For once, don’t choose a resolution because you feel insecure about money or your body or whatever. Really think about what interests you and what things you would look forward to doing. Try something new or start a project, and don’t forget to have fun with it.