I go back and forth with my feelings about New Year’s Resolutions. Sometimes, when I’m in a particularly productive mood, I love resolutions and think they’re humanity’s best friend; and other times, after I’ve tried to accomplish certain resolutions for eleven months and twenty-some-odd days, I hate them for the humanity-sucking leeches that they are.
But at the moment, I’m feeling quite productive, so I say, “Bring on the New Year!” and, with a triumphant shake of my fist, I will prepare my resolutions.
I like to go big or go home. In stasis, I think it’s important to have an evenly spread set of goals for the new year — you don’t want to only focus on one area of your life, and neglect the others. There are four categories that I think will sufficiently cover your bases: health, financial stability, passion, and others. Because I do happen to be in a pretty productive mood, I’m jumping right on in and making one resolution per category; but, if you are looking to make your own resolution and feel that you need to focus on one area of your life right now, do it. In moments of need or crisis, you should not be ashamed to give your full attention to the part of you that is most hurting; always assess your priorities.
Let’s take a closer look at these categories, shall we?
Arguably the most important category — you could have money in the bank, the job of your dreams, and a wonderful social circle, but if your health is on the decline, it’s going to be hard to enjoy any of that. Keep in mind, this is physical health, as well as mental health — for those who suffer from depression, sometimes the best resolution they can make is to keep their head above the surface.
I’ve decided to continue my pre-New Year’s resolution that I made just one month ago — to gain ten pounds — and spread it out over all of 2016, because gaining weight is exhausting. Part of this newly defined goal will be not only to gain weight, but to get in shape while I’m at it — overall, to be healthy. It would really be counterintuitive to gain ten pounds but also become a diabetic in the process.
For many people, this means chipping away at college loans. For others, it means putting a downpayment on a house. But if you’re anything like me, you’re all the way back at square one: topping off your emergency fund. Early in 2015, I decided it was a really stupid idea not to have an emergency fund, so I started saving up. Then, lo and behold, medical bills forced me to tap into that fund (isn’t irony a sly little devil?) and take a huge chunk out of it. Well, a penny-miser will not be discouraged by the cruel smack of Life; I will plump up my emergency fund, and it won’t even take the full year. And then I can save for a downpayment on a house.
The thing is, a lot of people want to live like they’re not owned by money, that they could own nothing and still find content… which is all well and great, but you still want to take care of yourself. Once you have your bases covered, you can go on and live above money’s puppetry, but until then, don’t let it bring you down. What I’ve found extremely helpful is breaking the goal down into chunks to make it less overwhelming. Take a moment to figure out what you really need, and then make a month-by-month schedule to lead yourself straight to that goal.
Now on to the more interesting resolutions, right? Because whatever goal you make that is geared toward your passion will ultimately affect the decisions you make for any financial or health goals. Hell, pursuing your passions tends to do wonders for your mental health. So what kind of resolutions could you make? Do you want to build something? Finally take those singing lessons? Start that family business? Travel to another country?
My resolution for this category is essentially what it was last year: to finish what I’ve started. I have a handful of passion projects that are all half-complete, mainly because I lack motivation to do what I love. And where’s the logic in that? This is the stuff I should be excited to do, that I get done early because I just can’t help it: finish METAMORPHOSIS, my senior thesis film in college that I love and adore and still have not finished; see the completion of QUARRY and FOX HUNT, a short film and a web series that I worked on in California; publish The Fields.
I thought I was going to accomplish. That last one this year,when I sent the manuscript out to agents over the summer. Welp, no cigar, folks. One agent professed interest, and then never got back to me. Luckily, I’m at least heavily invested in the story, and will keep revising until I get it right. There are still plenty of agents out there, so maybe this next draft will do the trick.
Another important one that seems to get swept under the rug. Seeing as how many New Year’s resolutions seem to revolve around one’s self, it is always a very humbling — yet fulfilling — experience to force your way out of that box and focus on someone other than you. Sometimes other people need help to achieve their own goal; you could be that person. Not only will you be able to connect with a person within your own family or community, but you will also have the joy of seeing that person’s joy. For me, helping my dad finally get his fudge business up and running seems to be a strong contender for the focus of this resolution. The man hates his job, but he loves making fudge. So why not make fudge for a living? Well, my family has been telling him to do it for years, and this year it may finally happen. But he’s gonna need some help.
Maybe it isn’t even about helping someone achieve their goals; maybe you just want to make a resolution to be kinder to the people around you; to talk to more strangers; to slow down and help someone who is struggling. Whatever the focus may be, it has the potential to be the most rewarding resolution of all. Because this world that you see around you isn’t all about you; and sometimes it’s so easy to forget that.
In fact, if you don’t make any other resolution this year, at least make a half-resolution to be more open to others. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy; all you have to do is pay a little more attention to the people around you. If you already do this, just bump it up a notch. I try to do this every day, but I admit, I’m selfish, and I get distracted by my own woes and problems… But at the end of the day, the world still stands. Let’s try to make it stand a little taller, shall we?