What makes a good New Year’s resolution? It should be focused on something that you believe will make your life better. It should be specific enough to honestly judge whether you’re achieving it or not. It should be something that really takes all year to work on, but where you can assess your progress frequently. It needs to sit in that sweet spot between “too easy” and “too hard” – something you legitimately need an extra push to get moving on, but it still needs to be achievable. “Lose 40 pounds and run a marathon” is not a good resolution because most people wouldn’t be able to achieve that. “Eat lots of pizza” fails in the opposite way; most of us don’t need a resolution to achieve that.
So in thinking about “what would I like to achieve”, there’s also a question of what is possible. Last year, I told myself that I’d fulfill a long-held dream of learning to make ceramics. I identified some great resources – a community college class, a makerspace with equipment and kiln where I could practice – and just as I got all those ducks in a row, the world shut down and those resources were no longer available to me.
This year, I’m going to keep things a little less specific. My first resolution is to write or communicate more – but I’m going to be flexible about the details. Blog posts are great, but I’m also going to allow myself to choose to sit down and compose a letter or postcard to someone I love. If there’s a homework assignment that requires writing, that’ll count. If I’m utterly without words, I’ll be content with finding or creating some sort of image to share. But, I’m hoping to achieve something in this domain every day.
There are some other things I’d like to work on but I’m not going to frame them in terms of a specific resolution. I’d like to be a bit stronger and more fit, so I’ve started trying to add in some longer or tougher exercise sessions into my routine. I’d like to continue to learn new skills that express my artistic and creative side, so will be taking some classes and pursuing projects to achieve that. I have noticed a tendency to delay and avoid tasks when I’m not certain I know how to do them – I’m going to work on becoming braver about trying things even if they might fail.
But, the big one is writing. Like I’m doing right now.