The pressure is mounting for the New Year’s resolutions posts. First is the flurry of pitches from public relations firms that want to get their clients into the press. “Resolve to clean your house more thoroughly!”
Then come the academics weighing in with their research about how resolutions take willpower and how we only have a finite amount. Or how we need to make goals for ourselves that increase happiness. Or whatever will stick in mainstream media so the professors can get six-figure book deals for their research.
Next come the bloggers who round it all up in a round-up post because bloggers never get to take days off from blogging, so they write a bunch of posts ahead of time that are really lists of other peoples’ resolutions.
I’m going to skip all that this year and jump to the celebration of failed resolutions. Here are some resolutions you can be proud of breaking.
1. Spend less time doing stupid stuff on the Internet.
Did you know that fifteen percent of all content online is about cats? This tells me we have an inherent need to share cat information. You should honor that.
And, while you’re at it, did you ever search for pus-popping videos? There are full channels devoted to pus popping—cysts, blackheads, ingrown hairs, they’ve got it all. Also, extractions have the perfect pacing of a good porn video; the digging out of the impacted blackhead has the same sense of relief as porn but none of the guilt.
Do you think Taylor Swift is gay? You would cry for me if you knew how long I spent reading articles on this topic. It’s very controversial, though I am not sure I even care. But I am very goal oriented, and I needed to have an object for my sleuthing because goals are always easier to meet if you define them clearly.
To meet my goal of searching for less stupid stuff on the Internet I’ve limited my Amal Clooney searches to once a day. Because I have limited willpower so I use it only for important things.
2. Be loyal. Follow through. Don’t waste other peoples’ money.
Those are the types of resolutions that box you into bad relationships. How about just dumping the person who’s wrong for you? Do it before you have kids, okay? It seems like it’s so difficult to break off an engagement, but compared to breaking off a marriage with two pre-teens in tow, ending your long-term, unbetrothed relationship is valuable rehearsal.
So go ahead and call off the engagement. And honor the law that says the ring is a gift by reselling it on WP Diamonds. You can use all that extra cash to buy last year’s books by academics about what makes resolutions stick. (Note: engagement rings falls under property law, and who gets the ring varies state by state. So if you’re a girl, break off the engagement in Montana. And if you’re a guy, break it off in New York.)
3. Write more.
I am uniquely qualified to tell you to dump this resolution because I have had it for 400 years and I’ve failed every year.
Or not. Because here’s the thing. It’s semantic.
This is a great time for me to mention that I have a course about how to blog. You are probably not blogging as much as you wish you were blogging because you have no idea what the point is. And you would be right to ask the question. How can you get yourself to write on your blog every day if you can’t pinpoint the point?
My favorite course ever was How to Write About Your Life. You can sign up for that one, too. I liked it because I got to tell people how to be reliable, consistent writers instead of hating myself over how I am not a reliable, consistent writer.
It’s so nice to focus on other peoples’ problems instead of your own. And I am, actually, a professional when it comes to that vein of escapist behavior.
Instead of writing more, I suggest you redefine what writing means. Sometimes in my son’s music lesson I think I should be taking notes, so I pretend the music notebook is my journal and I write write write. And that counts. Now it counts. Now – after 400 broken resolutions it counts.
4. Improve social skills.
This is a New Year’s Resolution that’s really about earning more money. It’s just a clever, evolved way to say it. Because people with good social skills earn more money.
And look at Lena Dunham’s character on Girls. In Season 2, in an effort to keep her friend from taking the kitchen chairs when he moves out, she sits on a chair with no underwear and rubs back and forth on it. “It’s my chair now,” she says.
Chris Rock says he doesn’t like to do stand up at colleges anymore. He says a good comedian is always trying stuff that pushes people a little too far, and if the joke doesn’t work, you think, “OK. That didn’t work.” But because the kids record everything on their phones, and any joke that goes too far, they publish on the Internet and scream about it.
Rock says that the best artists are pushing past what’s okay in order to figure out what works. That’s how you find something new.
I’m thinking you might have to exist in a social skills vacuum in order to try stuff that goes too far.
5. Get more sleep.
Getting enough sleep is so important that if you are sleep-deprived, you function like a drunk person. But look, you have been drunk before, and it’s probably felt like a party, and your life is not so fun that it’s a party all the time, so you are not that sleep-deprived that you need to waste a resolution on it.
Anyway, recent data has shown that while sleep is a competitive advantage at work, and the richer you are, the more sleep you get. So since most people reading this are living above the poverty line, you’re probably getting enough sleep.
The real issue, according to Chip Walter writing in Popular Science is stress. He says human evolution is killing us. We are too smart for our own good and our brains have evolved faster than our bodies. He shows the influx of data coupled with our endless supply of food is making us unable to function the way our bodies were meant to function.
So everyone should meditate for twenty minutes a day. The army mandates it, my friend in LA says parent groups are doing it, athletes do it and musicians do it. And Silicon Valley companies like Google have been paying employees to meditate for years, which is evidence that if you are making resolutions to make more money, meditation is the New Year’s Resolution for you.
It’s a meta resolution, really. Because there is no real reason why we can’t meditate. We all have 20 minutes to spare. We can do it anywhere. We can do it even if we’re sick. We can meditate when we are sad. It doesn’t matter. You just sit. If you are staring at the wall, doing nothing, you get credit. And that’s probably the resolution we’re all looking for anyway.