Realistic Resolutions

These images are from The JoinBKLYN Holiday Guide to Good.

JoinBKLYN is an independent company based in Brooklyn, NY that curates and distributes  blogs about arts and culture. It was founded by two lovely ladies I know and they asked me to contribute to their holiday guide. I came up with the “Realistic Resolutions” content below and these images are what ended up in their guide.

Traditional New Year’s resolutions have never made a lot of sense to me.

I can never understand why, as the holiday season winds down, people are expected to commit to bettering themselves or being nicer to other people. What horrendous timing for self-improvement,really.

The holidays are stressful.

You spend the first part of them worrying about what to buy people, then fighting throngs of other shoppers just for the privilege of spending a ton of your money.

The last part of the holidays is spent surrounded by your extended family—which, sure, is nice in small doses—but in reality it’s a lot of time stressing about where you’re supposed to have the next artery-clogging meal, hearing about your aunt’s ailments, and, usually, watching a handful of screaming kids run around like maniacs smashing their new loud toys around.

It’s frigging exhausting.

The last thing I want to do after that is commit to healthy/generous lifestyle changes. In fact, I typically start each year off with a fresh pack of cigarettes and a good bottle of scotch and I spend a few weeks avoiding all social interaction in order to restore my shattered psyche.

But for whatever reason, I still feel the pressure to at least pretend I’m committing to making some changes in the new year. People are going to ask me, I figure, so I should at least have something to tell them.

That’s why this year I’ve created a list of “Realistic Resolutions”—a wholly attainable list of goals for myself in the new year. Call it a cop-out if you must, but I call it being pragmatic. I’m not going to set lofty goals I know I won’t stick to; I’ve made a list that I might actually accomplish.

So join me.

Aim low.

Take this list of Realistic Resolutions as your own and this year we can all work toward making the world a barely noticeable amount better.

It is literally the least we can do.

Happyish New Year.

~Ben T. Johnson

  1. If a friend asks me to help him move, I won’t pretend I’ve already got plans that day; I’ll just say no.
  2. I’m going to finish that novel I started. Or at least find the USB flash drive that I saved it on.
  3. I’m going to read more than status updates today.
  4. My effort to get in shape this year will extend further than just creating a hip hop playlist on my iPod.
  5. In the interest of helping small businesses, I’ll limit myself to just one hot beverage from a franchise coffee shop today.
  6. I’m going to stop referring to other people’s children as “little assholes.”
  7. The next time I see that guy I took that one class with, I’m not going to call him “Bro” or “Man.” I’ll just admit I don’t remember his name.
  8. I’m going to dance so hard that people ask what drugs I took.
  9. I’m going to pay for an album this year.
  10. I’m going to bring more beer than I can drink to a party and I’m not going to care when I have to leave a few behind.
  11. The next time I tell my friend that I’ll go see his band, I’ll actually do it. Or, at the very least, I’ll try to be honest and just say I don’t want to go.
  12. This year, I’ll stare into the fridge a little bit longer before I inevitably reach for the takeout menus.
  13. This morning I’ll put in a solid one or two hours of actual work before I look at facebook.
  14. I’m actually going to use that shoe protector stuff they always talk me into buying when I buy dress shoes.
  15. OK, fine. Just shut up. I’ll go to your comedy show.
  16. Once in a while–and not just after popcorn–I will floss.
  17. Unless it is absolutely appropriate, I won’t refer to so many people as “douche bags” this year.
  18. When my in-laws take me out to dinner, I’ll try to make my token gesture of reaching for the cheque seem more sincere.
  19. I’ll stop calling people from the toilet. I’ve got an iPad now; I can Skype them instead.
  20. I’m not going to pretend that I watch “Everyday Italian” just because I like Giada De Laurentiis’ cooking.
  21. When someone tells me they haven’t seen a movie or TV show that I myself just watched for the first time, I won’t say “You’ve never seen it?” as if that person is an idiot.
  22. I will ruin less pictures.
  23. I will reassess my standards about when it is appropriate to bring a flask of whiskey to an event.

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