Two thousand thirteen has come and gone. Stores are full of streamers, cheesy hats and obnoxious glasses. Everyone is deciding who they will ring in the new year with, single people are starting to worry about who they will kiss at midnight and Facebook is hounding me to look at my top moments of 2013. I've avoided clicking it but the annoying banner refuses to go away, like a makeup saleswoman who doesn’t understand I'm perfectly content walking around with my natural skin complexion.
The Facebook yearly timeline review is great for happy people, people who like looking back and don’t spend nights pushing thoughts out of their minds and Cheetos Puffs into their mouth. Maybe the reason I'm avoiding it is because I don't want to be reminded of people, places and things I interacted with in 2013. A lot happened I guess, I studied abroad, finished college, my hair grew two inches! (Maybe the last one wouldn’t be a big deal for some people.) But isn't that what Facebook is, a place you document all the happy moments? A place you go to brag? No one makes a timeline event for their dog dying or not getting a job they really wanted.
In all honesty, I'm not avoiding the timeline review for people, places and things I met and saw in 2013. It's not people...it's one person. The one person I saw all those places with. All the things I now have that remind me of that one person. Maybe I’m being silly or maybe I’m not alone in not wanting to remind myself of happier times, or at least of people I thought I would continue to have happy times with in 2014.
Maybe this introduction is way too personal but whatever, in 2013 I learned one thing: people’s opinions of me are irrelevant. So far my only resolution for 2014 is this; if you like it buy it, if you want it go for it, and if you’re thinking it say it. (Also my hair growing another two inches would be great.)
I don't want you or I a year from now to be too scared to push the timeline rewind. Every year people make resolutions, promises to themselves, and every year people give up. If we can't keep small promises to ourselves like getting a 4.0 or being in the best shape of our life then what's going to happen when our dreams get bigger and more serious? I scoured the web for the most popular, cliche and broken New Year’s Resolutions and instead came up with alternatives. Resolutions that will help keep you motivated while also slowly helping you accomplish whatever larger goal you may have.
So here’s hoping 2014 will be better, that come this time next year, you and I both will click that timeline review with enthusiasm and smile at all the amazing people we met, places we visited, and things we did.
Resolution 1: "I will go to the gym every day" or "I will lose X amount of pounds."
I completely commend you for wanting to live a healthier lifestyle, but everyone knows that people make large promises to themselves and inevitably break them come February or March. I took a course my junior year about health and behavior change and the most important thing I learned was that people have so much motivation yet have no way of making their motivations into real actions. Instead of vowing to go to the gym every day or losing 40 pounds, try every free fitness class offered by your school’s gym at least once. Try every free resource at least once, it might help you discover a secret love for kickboxing and trying them will get you used to the rhythm of visiting the gym often.
Resolution 2: "I will become a vegetarian" or drastic dietary changes.
Instead of trying to change something you probably do three times a day cold turkey, ease into it. If you want to become vegan, try cooking a vegan meal once a week, then slowly amp it up. Soon you'll be cooking one vegan meal a day and cutting out foods won't feel as difficult. Jumping into big goals like this will cause you to experience bad days, which often lead people to feel as if they've completely failed and then have to start over. One bad day doesn't erase all the progress you made, just keep going, don’t let one mistake set you back days/weeks of being on track. To help with seeing how far you've come, photograph every amazing meal you make/eat. Believe me, comparing a photo of a meal you made versus a photo something you picked up in a paper bag will want you to roll up your driver's side window for life. (I love you french fries but you're just not photogenic.)
Resolution 3: "Getting straight A’s this semester."
Getting a 4.0 is an amazing feeling, but if it was easy everyone would be acing all their courses. Instead of vowing that this semester you will get nothing but As make a resolution to change your studying habits or how often you ask for help. Resolutions like actually visiting office hours, attending optional study sessions or doing the recommended readings are goals that will actually help you do better in the course, without leaving you with a feeling of failure in case the best grade you could earn in a course was a B. Also, check out the resources your university offers like free tutoring for some of it's most difficult courses, essay revisions and workshops to help you deal with the stress that comes along with exam season.
Resolution 4: "This year I am going to fall in love."
First, wow, I had no idea people resolved to fall in love. My only advice if you are determined to find your Mr.Right this year would be to simply spend your time surrounded by people who share qualities you look for in a partner. If you love to volunteer, do that! If you love playing sports, join a team! You’re far more likely to be interested in a guy you met doing something you are both passionate about than any guy you’ll meet at generic places like bars and other large social gatherings.
Resolution 5: "I won’t gossip as much."
I am completely guilty of this, but at the same time it’s not something I’m trying to change. Because in all seriousness, don’t people have bigger things to worry about besides the snarky things I say about them when I'm in a mood. If you are trying to talk less about people try writing down all the rude/mean comments you say over the course of two or three days. Seeing all your bitchy comments will make you realize just how often you do it, who you are talking about the most, and maybe change the way you feel about they way you talk about others.
Resolution 6: "I will drink less."
Seeing that I don't drink, it’s a bit strange for me to sit here and tell you how to accomplish this. If I was a jerk I could just be like, just don't do it, but obviously that’s pointless and of no help. The best possible solutions I can think of are to resolve to offer to be the designated driver more often, spend more time with friends who don’t drink or ask your friends to help you with keeping your drinking to a limit. It honestly helps though if you find a group of people that manage to have fun adventures without involving alcohol. Once you realize you're perfectly capable of being sober and have a good time, it will become easier to go to a party and simply refuse a drink.
Resolution 7: "I will dress more fashionably."
This resolution is great for people who have an amazing wardrobe yet seem always stick to the same general outfit week after week. I made this resolution two years ago and have stuck to it till today by doing three simple things. First, the only way to dress sloppy is to own sloppy clothing. Throwing out all sweatpants, piles of leggings and hoodies that serve as your fashion safety net will force you to have to wear the clothes you ignore so often. You can't wear a hoodie and leggings to class if you own neither. (Keep one pair of leggings though for laundry day.) Second, sort through your closet and donate anything you haven't worn in three months. Obviously you don't like it all that much and it will make space for step 3. Finally, when shopping make sure to not restock the clothes you fell victim to before completing step one and only buy clothes that make you twirl in the dressing room. (Yes, twirling in the dressing room multiple times is mandatory.) If you don't love it in the store you definitely won't so much as like it at home.
Resolution 8: "I will get over my ex."
It’s a bit difficult to decide to get over someone, but I get where you are going with this. Instead of just declaring you will cease liking someone, make a resolution to take steps to moving on. Things such as deleting them off all social media, blocking them if possible, and letting go of items they bought you/hold memories of them. You might be worried that people think you’re immature for deleting them as one of your Facebook friends, but no person should have to be innocently scrolling through their feed and see updates about how happy they are without you. But before anything, get rid of whatever you seem to hold onto the most, whether that be old saved text messages or a sweater.
Resolution 9: "I will spend less money."
Maybe this should be my resolution, but I’m not ready for such a big commitment yet. The best way to see how much money you are aimlessly spending is to keep track of it. I remember being young and watching my mom write in a checkbook and thinking one day I would have to do it. Well I was wrong! With apps like Mint that you can download for free onto your phone, you can link your bank account and keep track of exactly how much you spend and where. Mint even divides up your spending by type, for example it lumps all food and grocery purchases into food and dining. It’s an amazing app and super easy to use, plus, it’s free! (It’s like you're already saving money!)
Resolution 10: "I will travel to ________."
After studying abroad I’ve definitely been bitten by the travel bug, but being in college full time and my impending graduation date have sort of squashed any hopes of getting myself on a plane anytime soon. A resolution like traveling is difficult because it has so many ways it can fail caused by all of the work that goes into planning a trip. Details like where you'll find the money, where, with who, when and what the heck will you do once you arrive?! First make a resolution to spend less money (see number 9), this will help with the financial aspect of it. While you spend time saving money and planning the details for the trip, your hope will slowly start dwindling and eventually you’ll spend travel money on something pointless like a gumball machine. To prevent yourself from giving up, plan a small trip to a nearby location with friends. Travel to another state, go camping, go to Mexico! Planning a small vacation will help with keeping you motivated and getting restless while you plan the major trip.