New Year’s resolutions tend to be notoriously vague and breakable. According to Nielsen, some of the top resolutions include staying fit and healthy, losing weight, enjoying life to the fullest, getting organized and traveling more.
Well folks, I’m a fan of specificity, and in the spirit of this, here is a list of New Year’s resolutions that I hope you’ll find both unambiguous and feasible.
Wash my underwear before I run out of it and have to either: A. Go commando, or B. Order more via Amazon Prime. This also applies to socks.
Host dinner at my house once a month, followed by drinks and board games. Convening friends is important. So is competitive Scrabble.
Cancel my New York gym membership from the summer. Plan to start going to the Intramural Sports Building to work out — it’s a lot closer than Manhattan and better for hanging out with friends.
At long last, sell back my freshman (also: sophomore and junior) year textbooks to Ulrich’s. It’s only fair that Paul Krugman’s “Microeconomics” book has the opportunity to frustrate another innocent soul.
Apply for jobs. Get a job. Learn about 401(k) benefits. Build my credit. Watch instructional YouTube videos about how to execute more difficult styles of tie knots. Update my email signature. Trim my nails more regularly. Listen to those voicemails from a year ago and finally delete them. You know — adult stuff.
Use the events.umich.edu site to identify cool speakers and attend their guest lectures. Go to at least two University Musical Society performances. Go see some a cappella shows, or some student improv. Take advantage of the resources our school offers.
Similarly, research events hosted by student organizations that focus on dialogue around issues of diversity and attend at least one of them. Listen. Ask questions. Learn. Make a commitment to understanding perspectives different from my own and encourage others to do the same.
Stop binge watching “The Office” on Netflix for the umpteenth time and forcibly re-discover my love for reading. More realistically, just pick a new show.
Go to sleep at a reasonable hour. One of my roommates, a nursing student, frequently reminds me the importance of being in touch with my circadian rhythm. Google “circadian rhythm.”
Write more for recreation (read: start a journal). Writing for an audience is great, but so is writing for oneself.
Explore the Ann Arbor bar scene in more depth than the notorious lineup of South U spots. Subsequently discover that there may be more to life than Rick’s “Mindprobes.”
Take a long weekend and road trip to the Upper Peninsula. I’ve heard wonderful things about Mackinac; I’ve also been told that it’s actually pronounced “mack-ih-naw.” Find out if the rumors are true. Potentially lose myself in fudge.
Scour The New York Times’ cooking site for interesting recipes. Glean inspiration from one of those addicting Buzzfeed Tasty videos. Diversify dinner, even though I’d be content to defrost chicken breasts, something starchy and something green for all eternity. Take less than a week to clean up the pots and pans. Eh, maybe less than two weeks.
Finish unpacking my clothes from Winter Break. Fold the clothes from my most-recent laundry run and put them away in the right drawers. At the very least, throw them in the drawers. All right, just toss them on a chair — at least it’s a step in the right direction.
Continue regular Arb walks once the temperature ascends above 30 degrees. Plan a small event in the Arb’s amphitheater after the snow melts. Achieve oneness with nature … or something.
Buy a planner that isn’t an MPlanner. Use it. Wind up settling for Google Calendar. Use it.
Stop perpetuating 2016 fads non-ironically. New year, new me, less dabbing. We can all benefit from less dabbing #EndDabbing2K17. Stop using hashtags conversationally. Stop using acronyms conversationally. Saying “lol” is clearly not the same as laughing out loud.
Subscribe to at least one major newspaper’s daily newsletter and read it every morning. Choose at least one interesting podcast, and carve out time to listen to it weekly. Stay informed and think critically. Do not compromise on this.
Perhaps some additional retrospection is due.
There is no denying that 2016 was fraught with a plethora of conflict. From individual struggles, to the ongoing campus discussions about all facets of identity, to domestic politics, to the deaths of pop culture icons, to international diplomacy, one might understand why so many were ready for the last year to end.
But know this: The New Year is not a reset button, and time is continuous. As easy as it is to celebrate the end of 2016, we need to recognize that all the problems that bubbled to the surface are just as salient in 2017 as they were before. Let’s also acknowledge that it wasn’t all bad. Appreciate the moments, whether there were many or few, that made you smile.
So above all, this year, be kind to one another. Have fun when you can. Don’t shy away from the hard discussions when they arise. Let’s be resolute in our efforts to be the best we can be individually and to make others the best they can be collectively.
I believe in our ability to do that just as much as I believe in my ability to wash my underwear more regularly. Happy New Year.
Michael Sugerman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.