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As the New Year approaches, people are arming themselves with resolutions that will set 2019 in motion.
New Year’s resolutions aren’t anything new. In fact, the earliest reports of resolutions reach back 4,000 years to the ancient Babylonians who believed if they paid their debts, the pagan gods would bestow good fortune onto them.
I don’t particularly believe in any of this, but I do believe in the value of setting goals and laying the groundwork for growth.
From diet and exercise to sober January and tech detoxes, the desire to resolve is just as much a reflection on the cultural moment as it is for the person behind each resolution.
For me, I’m still trying to wrap my head around leaving my friends and family back in the states to relocate to London. My resolutions, if you can call them that, are inspired by the desire to stay connected, and the frustration that comes when these efforts aren’t reciprocated.
In lieu of this, below is a list of resolutions I’ve incorporated into my day-to-day life since leaving the United States to handle the distance and isolation. I’m far from perfect, but these are goals I can manage, and to some extent, measure.
1. Take your time.
I know, where are we going to find more time? But to take time we have to make time.
We can get up earlier to give ourselves a bigger window of time on our morning commute. Instead of trying to read every article in the Internet ether, pick one or two to engage with thoughtfully.
Enjoy your meals. That means chew them.
This is one of those resolutions that we can apply to every aspect of our lives for an even greater benefit.
2. Do one thing at a time.
Multitasking doesn’t make us more efficient, it just makes us frantic. We can create a to-do list and systematically work through it. We’ll feel more productive while we’re at it.
3. Be on time.
There’s no greater frustration than making the effort to be on time just to find ourselves standing around waiting. There are exceptions for being late, but if it’s a regular occurrence, we’re demonstrating that we don’t value and respect someone else’s time.
Try overestimating your ETAs by giving yourself a 30-minute cushion. You’ll probably find you needed the time anyway.
4. Call your friends.
This one matters. It’s not enough to text. Be in the thread of an organic, voice-to-voice conversation to just see where it goes. In the current cultural and political climate, it’s more important than ever. Check up on your friends.
5. Call your parents.
See above. If you’re one of the lucky ones, like me, and both of your parents are still kicking, call to check up on them. Call to share your life with them. This goes for grandparents too.
6. Remember important dates.
There really is no excuse to miss a birthday or an anniversary with all of the resources we have these days. If someone is important to us, we should make them feel like it. If you’re looking for advice on how to do this, see number four and five.
7. Start a daily ritual.
Okay, so maybe it’s not a daily ritual, maybe it’s weekly, but we can choose something that’s nourishing. It could be an early morning walk or reading the Sunday newspaper at your local coffee shop. Make it a ritual free of distractions.
Make this one about you and no one else.
8. Give back to your community.
Yes, give back. We can give back by just being present. Pull out the earbuds and have a conversation with someone, or just listen to the city. We might actually learn something about it.
We walk the same day-to-day grooves, yet we somehow fail to see how we fit into them. ~ Harrison Malwhether
New Year’s is a time for reinvention because of the symbolic calendar change, and resolutions are the result of this. However, this symbolic gesture fades quick. Incorporating change into our lives takes real work to make it stick.
Here’s to hoping we realize all our resolutions in 2019.
Happy New Year.