New Year’s resolutions have never really convinced me to like them. They start off sounding so clairvoyant and engaging, packed to the brim with optimism, in the same way that the baristas at Starbucks pack my hot cocoas to the brim with whipped cream. They are dripping with hope, oozing with confidence, pulling tight on your motivational heartstrings… and then two weeks go by, and you suddenly have no faith in getting on the treadmill, have no desire to eat more foods green in color, and have no idea why you ever thought you could give up your daily cup of coffee. You say “to hell” with those resolutions you so methodically planned out and wrote down; you throw the jotted down desires away to avoid the thought of failure, and slink back to all the habits of the previous year.
So while the ball dropped in New York City, and thousands of people cheered on TV, and my family clamored outside banging pots and pans on a quiet suburban street, and I stood holding blinking bright sparklers in my hands, I realized that I didn’t want just any old resolutions. I wanted goals and plans that lasted awhile, goals and plans that stuck around for the long haul.
And after reading a little book titled The Happiness Project, I thought, “Who doesn’t want a little more happiness in their life?” And while I devoured the carefully crafted prose of the author’s year-long quest to implement ways to be happier, month by month and step by step, I realized that I could do that, too.
Instead of setting one widespread resolution for the year (which would most likely disappear after two weeks and the initial procrastination), I’m setting small goals for each of your twelve months. I’m writing them all down in a pristinely blank journal and I’m sincerely hoping that they all have tiny checkmarks next to them by the time you’re through with me and I’m ready to flip the calendar page over to another January.
Through endless inspirations, lots of thought, and a little bit of planning, your twelve months will include these items, along with plenty more:
- cooking more meals
- transforming this blog
- keeping in touch
- finding a good workspace
- researching curiosities
- learning to relax
- reading 35 books
- carrying a notebook
And throughout all of this, I’ve been yearning to give you a nickname: the year of optimism, or the year of possibility, or even the year of filling all the blank journals I own (which would happen only in my wildest of dreams…). I want you to help me take on a life of my own, to get up and go and keep going. I think I’d like to call you the year of progress; I think that distinction will suit you and me quite well.