While it is refreshing and noble to make grand declarations of all that we will do and change with ourselves in the coming year, I present a new kind of resolution: Give yourself a break.
I have no idea how all of the people I have heard about giving up alcohol for the month of January plan to pay their credit card bill from the holidays without a cocktail in their hand. Perhaps you have had time off or been spending time with your family (whether that’s a pleasant experience for you or not). Does this really seem like the ideal time to give up carbs cold turkey? Because you are going to be miserable if all you are eating is cold turkey.
This is not to say that goals are not a good thing, because they are. And goals should certainly be in the spirit of self-improvement, but they should also manifest with a nod to humanity. Moderation and exceptions for reality are everything. Of course we should all be working out more regularly, but you’re going to need to use your legs tomorrow and thirty minutes on the elliptical totally counts. When you said you were going to be more patient, considerate, and kind you have to include treating yourself that way as well.
We do not live in bubble-like microcosms where we can do whatever we decide instantaneously. Other things and people are going to get in your way, and the least you can do is not be one of those obstacles. Have an overall goal, then break it up into smaller goals, then break those up again. If you accomplish sixty percent of your tiny goals this year then you are doing amazing. And you get to have extra cake and booze. Confidently allow yourself to enjoy your life, make mistakes, and fail.
Be good, be better, be yourself.
Happy New Year.
Yes, I’m aware the wordplay does not completely work. But the sentiment stands true. There is nothing ladylike about elbowing your way to an eighteen dollar sweater at five in the morning. There is no reason to pay more for something than you have to, but the value of your time and character also have to be accounted for. The spirit of gift-giving is to think about the people in your life you want to show appreciation to and what it is in your power to give them that they might like.
The spirit is not to dive in to the dollar bin grabbing everything within reach, only to decide later which unfortunate cousin is going to get a battered copy of Die Hard, and who gets the stuffed reindeer with the jingle hat. Shopping on Black Friday is not relaxing, so you can’t even claim retail therapy.
The only ladylike way to shop on the Friday after Thanksgiving (the day after you have dedicated a whole uninterrupted twenty four hours to connecting with friends and family whilst consuming twice your body weight) is online. There are some incredible sales, that no reasonable person can expect you to ignore, but the pursuit of a bargain should not take over your brief respite from work and other distractions. Pick a time to commit yourself to the pursuit of a reasonably priced coat, or set a cellphone alarm for that Amazon lightning deal you just can’t miss, but limit it to an hour or two. Then read a book, curl up and watch a movie, or even take a walk with your aunt or other relative you don’t get to see very often.
As we get older, and advertising agencies get evermore overeager during the holiday season, we seem to forget that celebrating is meant to be about spending time and making memories with those we love. Whether it’s taking the time to tell one another what you’re thankful for, or making sure gifts are both thoughtful and personal, make sure you take full advantage of your time away from the obligations of work to play a little bit.
If your idea of play happens to include a quick tirade through Target with your mom, then so be it.
Happy Thanksgiving! And Happy Hanukkah!