So here I am, a week of silence (that I had sworn would not happen) and a week and a half late on my New Year’s resolutions, which surely doesn’t bode well for any commendable adherence to them. That’s not to say that I have ever felt the need, before graduating my teens, to pin the entire year ahead on the success or failure of arbitrary mantras. The whole circus of New Year, New You Instagram quotes seems to be born of one’s twenties – perhaps because any real life problems for which you’re wholly responsible only emerge once you can legally drink in America (no surprises there), and because gyms and health insurers need to make half their annual revenue in a week, and can’t really capitalise on Black Friday (which I only recently learned was not actually in reference to Friday 13th, and for which I am so much the wiser).
The real problem with New Year’s resolutions is not that they’re unfeasible. Au contraire, I don’t feel that “I will exercise more regularly”, “I will eat more vegetables”, or “I will be more open-minded” are terribly unreasonable in the slightest. The real issue, in my experience, is two-pronged. First, the lack of specificity – what is “exercise”? Walking to the fridge, your Honour. Open-minded about what? About Black Friday sales, of course (kidding – I will never comprehend trampling injury and/or death in the name of 50% off). There’s far too much latitude to pardon yourself from an overwhelming guilt in not ticking that box, or to forget about commitment altogether.
Second, resolutions tend to be positively proactive, which, like vegan cheesecake, sounds better for you than it really is. That is, you need to actively force yourself to do something – quite onerous when it requires dragging yourself out of bed in the wee hours of dawn to salute the sun.
Don’t get me wrong, since I got my new phone, I’ve
been much better at making lists – though actually ticking those to-dos is another story altogether. At the very least (even if just at the face value), the more work-friendly interface means that I’m getting through my emails more quickly, and apparently booking Pilates and couriers on the go, which can never be a bad thing. Proactive improvements are
terribly admirable for those of us who can manage them, but given the lack of solving something, or eliminating some problem, “I will be more healthy” is likely to become more of a burden than, say, “I will stop eating fast food”. So, for the year I’m approaching with more optimism than I have ever done, I resolve the following:
1. Take a bloody breather: At so many points last year, I found myself running on empty. In second semester in particular, I thought I could take four Law subjects, work travelling jobs, maintain my website, and film a TV show (which is up for a Logie nomination, should you be so inclined to vote). And I did, in the end, but not without a few internal meltdowns. I was so relieved to get on the plane out of Sydney, despite flying across the Pacific to more work. Thank god for kickboxing. So 2015, take on less, shut off my technology addiction before a bit of namaste every day before bed.
2. Do not aim to please everybody: When I told Alex about this resolution, he was incredulous. “Are you kidding? I said that to you two years go?!” This is true. It is also true that up until this point I had been constantly trying to please everybody. During high school, it was easy. The HSC was just a matter of completing tasks and time management. In the real world, the political nature of transactions with no return threw me. Even where I’m absolutely militant with my hour-to-hour planning, it was increasingly difficult to stay on top of everything. My high school economics teacher called this “bobbing corks” – in reference to the Australian economy, sure, but relevant all the same. It’s taken me a long time to realise that saying no won’t make anybody see you in a worse light. If you’re busy, you’re busy.
3. Invest less emotionally in obstacles: This time, it was my mother who was equal parts furious and relieved. Granted, she’s been preaching this to me for my entire life, so twenty-one years of frustration justifies such an outburst. Though I’ve mastered compartmentalisation of my different activities between studying and work, I’m hopeless at separating their associated emotions. This can work in my favour when I achieve something I’ve been working at for a long time, and everything comes together in a glorious gospel chorus of loving my life, but often, it’s a lot of head-desking and face-palming – Law readings do that to you by default, but navigating the limbo between uncharted digital territory and traditional media or commerce can be as much of a headache as it is exhilarating.
As my brother most eloquently put it, just give less sh*ts.
So perhaps the better New Year’s resolution for everyone is to recognise one’s flaws and bad habits, and fix them before we add the juice cleanses, gym memberships and Crossfit.
Happy New Year, kidlets!