I am at once against resolutions and constantly making them. One explains the other; i don’t believe that you can form a habit or make a decision solely because of a little bit of resolve, so i eschew typical New Years’ fare. On the flipside, you do need resolve to get something done, and it has to start somewhere.
I compromise — i resolve to do things in my head: drink less, do more, waste less, walk more. The interior list spirals into infinity, with each day bringing a new resolution whose name i dare not ever speak, less i infer that i might actually take action in its direction.
I don’t dispute that a new year offers a unique chance to put the right foot forward in terms of new habit; after all, one of the hardest parts of starting something new is starting. And, not coincidentally, i have stored up a few initiatives whose scope dwarfs my daily resolutions that have been waiting to get started. Of course, to resolve to do them would be redundant, as i already have done so on some level and have obviously failed. Still, i want to get these things done — they will make me a better person if i do them correctly. So, without further ado, here are some things which i am not resolving to do this year:
1. Know What I’m Spending – I am historically lackadaisical at best about tracking my monetary expenditures; i have a great idea of what i can and can’t afford, but if i had to cut out $50 a month of spending i would hardly know where to start. For years i’ve resolved to get such a project underway, but never bothered to form a habit that would last me more than a few days. This time i think i’ve done it right — little notecards in my wallet, and a meticulously synced up Quicken account. The method is there; all that remains to be seen is if i can remember to track everything.
2. Be Aware of What I Eat – Whether i choose to thinly disguise it or not at any given time, i have some very persistent weight and body image issues. Yes, i am one of those seemingly thin people who whines about “how fat i am,” and how i “just want to lose a few pounds.” I’ve tried to check this problem with exercise, but it’s a hard habit to form and one that easily indulges excessive and abusive behavior on my part. As such, my alternative is to understand what i eat — not just calories and carbohydrates, but serving sizes and recurrences. So far i’m having luck with Fit Day, which tracks a lot of detail without assuming any sort of diet or fitness craze. At worst i’m creating yet another echo of my life as so much electronic detritus, but at best i have the chance to learn how my twenty-something metabolism really works.
3. Use Time Smarter – I like to do a lot of things. I like to play guitar. I like to blog. I like to spend time with Elise. I like to do well in school. I like all of these things, but i don’t do any of them as well as i should because i am diluting them with each other. Tonight i spent three hours using the internet to catch up on current events when i really should have been doing any of the four previous things, but i hate to deprive myself of knowledge given the time to acquire it. The problem, really, is that i am too capricious with my time … i am most likely to do the thing i most recently resolved to do, even if i resolved to do something else all day. This is why i still don’t have a new album, why i don’t post every day, why i always have something to do when i’d rather be with Elise, and why i am always flirting with anything other than A’s. I need keep my overarching priorities in mind and not allow my current impulses to eclipse them.
In retrospect, these three resolutions seem like a quarter-life redux of childhood anal retentiveness, but in effect they’re my attempt to make a better use of my life. I’ve spent almost five years as a college student, to varying degrees of enjoyment and fulfillment, and the entire time i’ve envied people who enjoyed themselves more or fulfilled themselves better. This June i’ll become a real, honest-to-goodness adult, and i don’t want to go there not enjoying myself and feeling unfulfilled; i want to start on the right foot. And, to do that, i need to find out which proverbial foot that will be.