Watch less TV!
Exercise for an hour straight every day!
Eat more vegetables and less junk!
The problem with these kinds of resolutions is that they're way too specific. They box a person in and there's no wiggle room. The first time I miss my workout (January 3rd), I am a failure and the whole idea goes out the window. I suspect that a lot of people who don't make resolutions have given up on them for this exact reason.
And now I'm hearing about this newfangled way of making resolutions. Instead of coming up with something specific, you come up with one big word that will encompass everything you want to achieve in the coming year. The idea, I think, is a step in the right direction. Less focus on the specifics (suicide by exercise) and more focus on the important part (health, happiness, calm, and an occasional guilt-free trip through the drive-thru). But it's definitely not for me either. For one thing, trying to whittle down my hopes for the next 365 days into one word would be impossible for a scatterbrain like me. Also, walking around calmly repeating my one-word personal hippie-dippy mantra wouldn't be nearly dramatic enough. I'd always feel the need to throw in jazz hands.
So this year I'm trying to find myself a happy medium. I think that those of you out there who said you don't make resolutions, but told me you're hoping to feel more healthy or enjoy your family in 2011, have actually made resolutions there. They're just SMART resolutions. They're the resolutions that you can keep in mind every time you make a decision about anything, and they don't involve impossible-to-follow diets, or giving up anything cold turkey, or forcing yourself to do things that don't feel natural or normal. It's about choosing what's important and being mindful of that as you go about the business of day-to-day living.
My New Year's resolution started out as one of those all-or-nothing ones. I woke up sometime this week and decided that unless it was for something I really wanted to do, I wasn't going to take the 45-minute trek to the big city anymore, and that I was going to shop locally or online instead. I was feeling pretty passionate about that, so I had to ask myself why this was so important to me. The answers were easy--cost of gas, wear-and-tear on the car, the extra money I spend at the big box stores every time I go there, the irritation of rushing around trying to squeeze as many errands in as I can, and mostly just the time it takes out of my day. What I want isn't about the city. I'm looking to live more simply. Spend less money, enjoy what I already have, cook/walk/dance/sing/craft more, shop/covet/stress/surf less, use my time for what's important to me.
So that's my New Year's resolution. I guess if I wanted to, I could say my buzzword for 2011 is "SIMPLIFY!"
But the jazz hands would really, really ruin it.