Take what you want, leave the rest.
It's the most wonderful time of the year—so bring on the comfort & joy, we say. In The Art of Chill Holidays, we'll show you how we keep celebrations low-key, with festive decor tricks, clever time-saving tips, and scrumptious spreads of snacks (always snacks!).
I am straight-up bad at New Year’s resolutions. Full disclosure: I have never made one.
I know, who am I to be giving you any advice on how to resolve yourself this year. No one, that’s who. So I polled everyone I know (thankssss!) to ask them about their New Year’s resolutions—if they partake, why or why not, and tips for how to stick to them.
Here are a few of the trends that emerged. Take what you want, leave the rest.
When there's barely time to connect with friends that live in our own city, keeping up a relationship with friends/family in other states or countries feels intimidating. Yes, there’s always Skype, phone calls on your walk home, and Instagram — but none of those can replace an actual visit where you get to drink too much red wine together and reveal your weird childhood crushes.
Since we all know that New Year's resolutions tend to fall by the wayside as the year goes on, this is an easy one you can do right now. Text a couple friends and see who wants to take a long weekend jaunt this year! Or set some flight alerts to keep an eye on prices to your dream destinations.
Or maybe this year you want to do a solo trip. Props. It’s baby steps, but this year I want to take a weekday off and go for a long day hike by myself. Then I will reward myself with a breakfast burrito for dinner.
We’re not talking numbers-related weight loss goals here (though if that works for you somehow, cool). Instead, many people I spoke to had broader fitness goals with actionable milestones.
For example, my friend Diego, who works in tech at Counter Culture Coffee, wants to work his way up to a century bike ride (100 miles) by the end of 2019. My neighbor Elliot, who runs super-long distances for fun (sometimes people are weird), wants to qualify for the Boston Marathon. And yours truly, a relative fitness n00b, is signing up for a half marathon! This is not on-brand for me, but I’m going to give it a go.
It’s a lot easier to continue momentum than to suddenly become “healthy”. So start now. Yes, this very day! Maybe join a gym and commit to going two to three times a week, break out those jogging shoes, or, if you’re like me and lack follow-through, sign up for a weekly paid class: That way, you’ll have to go.
A lot of the people I polled had New Year’s resolutions to nurture their creativity: from pottery classes to creative writing.
This can be especially tricky if being creative is part of your job, like Emma Laukitis, co-founder of eco-friendly clothing brand, Salmon Sisters. She told me that she wants to do more “artwork for myself, not my business,” in the new year.
Creative endeavors (embroidery! watercolor! pottery!) are easy to let fall to the wayside, though, bumped because of social plans or workloads. Look for an artsy themed meetup or class in your area, like figure drawing or a fiction workshop. Basically a reason that you can’t not do your creative thing. If you have a little bit more spending power come January and want to learn a totally new skill, maybe give a ceramics class a spin. Bonus: You get a bunch of cool mugs out of it—and gifts forever.
If you’re like “nah” to the whole creativity thing, you could also resolve to support others’ creativity. Buy some art! Pop into galleries and see what you’re drawn to. Go to craft fairs. You probably have at least a few friends who make art, either as a job, a side hustle, or just a passion. Commission them to make something for you and make sure you pay them for it.
You didn’t think you were going to get out of here without a food-related resolution, did you? Here are a few common themes for your resolu-spiration:
This is the hardest cooking resolution of all — but also the one that will have the largest impact on your everyday life. Maybe this is the year you master the sheet pan dinner (psst—it’s really easy). Maybe this year you finally tackle some takeout classics in your own kitchen. Maybe this is the year you figure out that risotto is actually weeknight-friendly!
Bake for parties, bake for your coworkers, bake for your loved ones, or bake for yourself. All that matters is that you’re cranking up that oven and doing it. I’m currently working my way through this home-run cookbook, if you need some inspiration.
Yes, it can (often) be pricier than swinging by your grocery store, but it’s also a) almost certainly better tasting, and b) you can feel great knowing that you are supporting local merchants. Plus have you ever seen the dog scene at farmers markets? That alone makes the trip worth it.
Maybe this is the year you try vegan-uary—maybe you just cut down on your meat consumption, or commit to eating humanely raised beef and sustainably caught fish. If you need some veggie assistance, this book is a good starting point—and here’s your easy intro dish.
My personal food-related resolution is a small but achievable one: buy more interesting condiments. I’m talking lacto-fermented hot sauce from the farmers market, nice jam for morning toast, or something new like yuzu sauce. I love preserved lemons but I never buy them because I’m afraid to commit to a whole jar. No more.
Yes, “self-care” is a very overused term. It’s something we tell ourselves when we spend too much money on pine-scented candles or too much time in the cheese section (hi, me!).
But also it is really nice to give yourself an excuse to do/buy things that make you happy. Especially if those are things enable habits that are “good” for you: a pack of workout classes, a new skin moisturizer, tickets to visit that friend you haven’t seen in way way too long. Maybe a puppy (JK, do not buy yourself a puppy unless you’re ready for the expense and time commitment that is a puppy).
If you don’t want to spend any cash, plenty of self-care actions are available at no cost to yourself: hydrating, stretching, going for a long walk once a week. Maybe this is the year you finally break out that weird floor pillow and meditate! (Maybe not.) Plus, some self-care things actually help you save money, like cooking a week’s worth of lunches on Sunday afternoon.
Self-care can also be not doing things. My friend Calli, who works in local government, wants to be better about setting boundaries come this year. “I want to practice saying no instead of overcommitting myself,” she said when I asked about her resolutions. Because while you might feel kind of sh*#@y when you say “no” to a friend’s invite even though you don’t have other plans, it’s light-years better than flaking because you're super drained (like you knew you would be).
It goes without saying, but there is no reason that January is the only―or best―time to make a new goal or recommit yourself to an old one. Any time is a good time for resolutions.
Hopefully the ones above gave you some inspiration, but if not, you could always follow my friend Ashley’s short-but-sweet resolution: “Chrissy Teigen.” Do with that what you will.
Are you making resolutions for the new year? Let us know below!