Disclaimer: the first half of this piece is a work of satire and is meant to be taken with many generous pinches of salt. Any acute resemblance to any person in real llife is not only completely coincidental but may also call for some form of self-reflection.
And here we are, just as I was getting used to scribbling 2016 over everything. A new year, decidedly more bleak than others were but nevertheless an occasion to mark a fresh start. What better way to mark a fresh start than to churn out a trusty listicle of worn out and repeated resolutions? It’s futile to pretend that we’re above such hubris and that we have not succumbed to the all-consuming altar of Life Changing Resolutions.
To get you started on your listicle, I present you mine: a simple guide on the most popular New Year Resolutions over the years and how you can achieve them.
#1: Lose a few kgs here and there
This is probably one of the most (in)famous resolutions, bound to be found on almost all of our lists. We’ve been so conditioned by pop culture and mass media to think that the reflection in our mirrors are never enough, no matter how much we try. So we pin an image of our dream body and then turn a discerning gaze to ourselves, vowing that this year things will be different.
There are so many ways to achieve this, of course. That tantalising “50% off” on a gym membership lying in your inbox? January suddenly seems like the perfect time to click on it, doesn’t it? Oh and you can’t head to the gym without the correct attire so it’s prime time as well to splurge on athleisure and oh, let’s not forget those lovely shoes which will definitely aid you in your pursuits.
Just be careful that your gym membership has not run out by the time you do manage to find your dream workout gear.
#2: Get organised
Ah yes, the constant struggle to reign in your life, to bring order to chaos, to tame the unpredictable. We set about every year to keep our life in line and not let it rule us and there are so many ways to do so. Below are just a few, of course.
Everyone knows it’s practically impossible to start being organised without the proper equipment. Need to sort out your life? How can it possibly be accomplished without that Muji weekly planner? Want to get 2017 started on a good foot? You must get that Starbucks limited edition diary.
It’s also imperative that we hop on to the latest trend of organisation. Bullet journal? You spend a good week learning it to keep your life in check. The latest aesthetically pleasing trend? You can’t organise your life unless you have that perfect washi tape. Duh.
#3: Live in the moment
“This year, I’m going to focus on me,” you type poetically, after having slaved close to half an hour over the correct filter to choose and thinking of the hashtags to go along with your captions. “Social media purge” is your latest 2017 motto and you look down upon anyone who seems to be glued to their phone. You feel much better about yourself because you haven’t checked your Facebook feed in 2 hours. 2 hours! You could have written a solid self-rant on Facebook in that time.
Yet you sagely resist. You decide instead to truly live.
And take 38105 pictures of every event you are present in, documenting every second possible meticulously on snapchat before uploading the best possible photo of the event to let everyone on your dedicated Instagram account know that you were just at the best possible event of the year!
Have you truly lived in the moment if no one in your social media is aware of it?
#4: Save money
Another all-time favourite. Of course, it’s already been slightly compromised by all the other goals on this list but hey – if the money goes towards a good cause, it’s not exactly a waste is it? So that Starbucks you bought yourself isn’t a waste of money. It’s a treat. So you tell yourself.
Remember that saving money always starts with spending less. No amount of money saving apps or “waiting till 12am to get that Uber because it’s cheaper then” will help you save that money unless you yourself start cutting down on that far too long list of expenditures.
Of course, this article wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of self-obsession. Now that we’re done with the routine of goals we all secretly harbour, let me propose a few serious ones. At the risk of sounding pretentious, these are all on my list and goals I have been working on for a good half a year.
#1 Constantly update yourself
We live in a bleak world of the fancy sounding “post-truth” – fabricated news is now an essential part of our lives, whether we like it or not. The only way to get out of being duped by “news”? Keeping yourself in the loop.
It’s much simpler to keep ourselves updated then one could imagine, especially when we’re surrounded by easily accessible sources of information. Quartz and the Atlantic have specially curated newsletters which deliver just a tad more than your breaking news. (Psst, Quartz also has a fantastic app that turns news into digestible bits of trivia.) Slate not only has hard-hitting political commentary, but also a series of podcasts that will cater to all your interests. And a biased opinion from a Twitter fanatic – get Twitter! The debate that goes on in 140 characters is lively and to-the-point, leaving less room for any form of fabrication.
#2 Diversify your sources
The most damning lesson I’ve personally learnt in 2016 is that the echo chamber is real. When we surround ourselves with only those who share our opinions – whether it be on our social media platforms or in real life – we exponentially increase the risk of trapping ourselves within our own bubbles. The algorithms of our preferred social media platofrms tailor to only what we wish to read and this limits our perspective. Your Facebook feed? It’s grossly unreliable and you should realise this by now. Read every source you can get your hands on, whether it is liberal or right-wing. Only when you receive information from every source can you form a proper opinion on important matters.
#3: Give as much as you can
When we’re bombarded with a constant stream of tragedy from every place imaginable, it becomes far too easy to tune it all out. It only takes a few minutes to find a damn to give about the crippling state of humanity and yet it takes much lesser than that to simply scroll past the Facebook posts calling for attention. This year, strive to not turn a blind eye to the despair around you. Give, especially when you can and when you know you are able to. Find a cause you relate to, find the organisation that clicks with you, give all that you possibly can. Not only does it make a difference towards those who might not be as privileged, it’ll also inspire others to pay it forward.
#4: Clear the clutter
Capitalism forces all of us to be hoarders. In this digital age, a lot of our clutter no longer need to be physical. This year, one of my biggest personal struggle will be to cut down all this constantly building clutter – whether it be the clutter of unneeded possessions, information or even people. (Trust me, FOMO is a real problem.) Clear your schedule, your notifications, your room. Give it away if you can! It’s not a call for minimalism but rather a suggestion to take a good look around you and cut through the mess.
New Year Resolutions aren’t all bad – in fact, if we’re able to utilise the motivation to achieve a better version of ourselves, it benefits everyone around us as well. But our obsession with #goals sometimes leads us astray and this year, do take your time to ponder about what you want to achieve before setting your resolutions in stone.
As always, this author remains on your side (: