(Better) New Year’s Resolutions

list of 2021 goals, blank

Here is a by-no-means-comprehensive list of things that I have no intention of doing this year: going keto, doing crossfit, reading “War and Peace,” giving up social media. If you have already lapsed with New Year’s resolution, the problem may not be with you. Many typical resolutions are so dry and joyless. The secret to a good resolution is to pick something that will improve your life and that you will actually enjoy doing. Here are some that may spark a bit more joy than, say, dieting or giving up coffee.

Read a book from every section in the library. This is a perfect excuse to branch out with your reading while still picking books you actually want to read instead of ones that you feel like you should. Trust me, there are so many gems in every section (especially the children’s section). Try out things you wouldn’t normally read, but if you don’t like a book, stop reading it. There are too many good books in the world for you to waste your time on ones that you don’t even like.

In “This is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving Where You Live,” Melody Warnick suggests setting aside a certain amount of money in your monthly budget to spend exclusively at local businesses. Honestly, with all of the great local businesses in the area, this is almost like giving yourself a present. It keeps your money within your community and helps build a thriving local economy. This book also offers a lot of tips for learning to love the place you live (like eating food grown close to home, getting involved in local government, or actually meeting your neighbors) and many of them would also make good New Year’s resolutions.

Bonnie View Nature SanctuaryFind three new (to you) trails/parks in your area. Columbia and its surrounding area is an absolute treasure trove in this respect. The Bear Creek trail, the Springbrook trail at Rock Bridge State Park, and the Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary are some of my favorites. When I lived in Fulton, I loved the Stinson Creek Trail. If you enjoy kayaking, the Finger Lakes State Park has some great lakes for kayaking. I know the weather is unpleasant right now, so there is no shame in putting this one off until May. You’ve got a whole year.

Practice standing up for yourself. Here’s a fun fact about me: I was born with (and continue to have) a spine made of strawberry jelly. Unfortunately, social distancing requires boundary setting. As dizzy and stomach sick as telling an encroaching stranger to stay six feet away from me makes me, I am going to have to get comfortable with it. I may even start setting boundaries in my personal life. Yikes. By December, the goal is to have a spine made of ossified strawberry jelly.

Some people became sourdough aficionados over this last. Others of us did the equally noble work of ordering unreasonable amounts of takeout to keep local businesses going. Adding some new recipes to your repertoire can be intimidating, but trying one new recipe per month is pretty attainable. And trust me, we have so many cookbooks. So. Many.PLant with "thank you" sign

Other Ideas:

  • Call a friend/family member once a week
  • Compliment someone every day
  • Send thank you cards
  • Start a bullet journal

With all of that said, if a resolution is not making your life better, ditch it. It’s okay if a new year does not equal a new you. In the words of the great Mr. Rogers, I like you just the way you are.

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