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From our hearts and our heads

How to Do New Year’s Resolutions the Right Way

SOULYou know the drill this time of year. Magazine articles start rolling in telling you to set your New Year’s resolutions, gyms start lowering their sign-up fees or waiving them all together, and the social media posts pile up about all the great diets everyone is going on. Then February creeps in, The New Yorker runs one too many sarcastic cartoons about all the broken resolutions, and the whole charade comes crashing down. It happens every year like clockwork.

So I propose a resolution to re-do how we approach resolutions. Let’s give ourselves a fighting chance at succeeding this year, and pick goals that will help us grow but that are actually within reach.

And in the health category, let’s try to focus on forms of self-improvement that aren’t primarily centered on weight-loss and restrictive diets, many of which are unhealthy and unhelpful. For example, if you’re someone who never works out but you want to be healthier this year, don’t promise yourself you’ll become a gym rat in 2019—that’s too big of a jump, and you’re probably just setting yourself up to fail—promise yourself you’ll go for a 20 minute walk after work three times a week instead, and ask a different friend to come with you each time so you can catch up and get some physical activity in.

Or ditch that category all together. Vow to put more kindness into the world by holding more doors for people, or leaving a Ziploc bag of change on a random parking meter, or giving up your seat on the train for someone who needs it more.

Strive to put your phone away during social interactions, or learn a new recipe every month.

It doesn’t matter what it is, but make sure that the goals you’re setting for yourself this year are actually things you stand a chance of achieving—otherwise, what really is the point?