I’ve been doing pretty well with my Resolutions these last few years, even though I came to them late in 2016 rather than declaring them outright in January. So I guess as much as the practice doesn’t work for the majority of people, so long as I’m realistic about my choices New Year’s Resolutions happen to work very well for me.
These past two years have been transformative to say the least. I’ve become more socially outgoing since the start of 2015 than in all my previous years combined. I’ve also become more motivated to learn independently and have pushed myself to broaden my perspective by diversifying my reading and asking questions with an open mind.
But I’m challenging myself now to continue those efforts and to continue building on the progress I’ve already made. Here’s how I’m going to do that in 2017.
I speak French proficiently, if not fluently. But when you come from a single language household and live in an area of the country that encourages language assimilation, your skills inevitably fall into disuse. So I could use a little refreshment. I’m going to get back on the Duolingo horse for good this time (I’ve used it off and on in the last few years) and since I don’t know anyone else who’s second language is French (most of my friends speak Spanish or German), I also want to try reading some French books. Fingers crossed my library has a few!
Take Care Of My Feet
You’re probably scratching your head right now as to why I included this on my Resolutions list, but I have two very big problems with my feet that I haven’t been taking seriously these past few years. For one, my skin tends to dry out and crack, so walking around barefoot (my preferred state) is actually pretty terrible for me. But I also get really painful cramps and spasms if I don’t hydrate enough, stretch enough, if my feet get too cold, or if I wear bad shoes. It’s extremely painful and something I need to be mindful of everyday. I’m tired of walking on eggshells when just a little hydration and exercise can make a world of difference.
Today I was reminded by a friend how hard it is to put ourselves in others’ shoes. I’m never going to make a perfect decision, never going to be able to fully divest myself of all the biases and privileges I was born with, but I can try to be more aware and I can do that by learning. In 2017 I will continue to read more diversely, specifically more non-fiction and books written by non-Americans and people of color. I also want to know more about geography. A few years ago I made a point of learning the name of every country in Europe, but I have a few more continents to learn and in 2017 I think I want to nail down Asia. Simply knowing the names won’t be enough long term, but I think just knowing what’s out there – literally – is a good stepping stone to a more globalized worldview. Making a commitment to learning will also help me not sound like too much of an ignoramus for my next Resolution.
After the election I wrote a bit about how I planned to speak up more. Truth is, I feel a little responsible, if only indirectly, for letting things pass when they made me uncomfortable. And I don’t just mean politics. I honestly have no qualms with people of different ideological backgrounds; a great number of my friends and I disagree on the subject and belong to different parties. What I’m talking about is the need to speak up for my values. That does coincide with politics to some degree, but it mostly means attending protests when I feel I need to, volunteering for causes that I support, and verbally calling people out for their hurtful jokes and comments (even the ones I don’t think they really mean).
Take The Lead
I’m a good leader, but my introverted-ness does make me reluctant to take charge. The thing is though, I firmly believe in the old adage, “If you want something done, do it yourself.” I could spend my whole life waiting for other people to nail down their schedules or commit to a plan. Or I could just embrace the idea of doing things on my own when I need to. I don’t mean to shut people out – I absolutely love spending time with my friends and all the adventures we have together. But as our lives get busier and romantic relationships progress into marriages, it becomes more difficult to organize whole groups of people. So if there’s something I really want to do, and I can’t get someone to do it with me, well then I just need to dive in unafraid and do it on my own. No sense in missing out just because my friends are unavailable!
Let me know down in the comments what your goals are for 2017. Big or small, every step leads you towards the future you want.