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Maybe it’s the storyteller in me, but I’ve always loved the new year. Not New Years Eve, mind you — too many chaotic alcohol-fueled nights to throw my love fully behind that one — I love the new year itself. January 1st may be just another day, but it’s also an excuse to reflect and reset, a demarcation of time allowing for gratitude and change.
Given my appreciation for the new year, it may come as a surprise that I hate New Year’s resolutions. Or, rather, I hate the way most people do them.
Why should a new beginning start with self-judgment? What’s the point of setting goals that will melt away with the thaw of spring?
But there is one secret way to almost always achieve your New Year’s resolutions: Choose resolutions you actually want to do. Choose resolutions that are fun.
This can mean so many different things to so many different people! Maybe exercising or cooking healthier meals is what brings you joy in which case hooray what great goals! But if those typical resolutions are things you think you should do then save them for a time less fraught than a new year right after the holidays when the sky is dark and the weather is cold. Instead start your year off with intentions that bring you joy!
Some of my past resolutions include: reading 10,000 pages, watching every movie on Autostraddle’s best lesbian movies list (before I started working here and rewrote it), and having my first threesome. You know, fun stuff!
Choosing things you actually want to do sets the year up for positivity and success. And it makes not achieving a resolution less painful. My 2022 resolution was to make my short film. I wasn’t able to make that happen but because it’s something I wanted I rolled it over and made it happen in early 2023. It didn’t feel like a failure, because the desire was still there so I still fulfilled it when I could.
Again, this should be specific to you. If you want to work out more, that’s great. But it’s also great if what you want is to watch every episode of the original Twilight Zone or dedicate more time to long masturbation sessions.
This year my personal resolution is inspired by my move to a new apartment. I spent most of 2023 in limbo, floating between my girlfriend’s place, friends’ places, and sublets as I saved money and figured out where I wanted to live. But now I’m in an apartment that feels like mine and part of that is having all my DVDs/Blu-Rays and books together. That’s why my resolution this year is to watch and read everything I own that I’ve yet to watch or read.
I’m most guilty of retail therapy when it comes to movies and books plus over the years I’ve received a good amount of free stuff from friends and for work. But I want to get into the habit where if it’s on my shelf it’s because I’ve experienced that work of art and like it/respect it enough to have it on display. That means watching about 50 unwatched movies and reading about 35 unread books. That’s a lot — especially for the books — so I’m giving myself a margin of 5 unwatched movies and 10 unread books.
Now this all may sound exhaustingly nerdy to you, but that’s kind of the point! Watching a lot, reading a lot, and having a curated library of my own brings me joy. That’s why it’s my resolution!
So what brings you joy? Think about it and enter the new year with that in mind. There will be plenty of time for shoulds and have-to’s when the sun comes out.