I tried—truly—to write about something other than New Year’s resolutions because it’s so overdone. But I’m the type who gets excited for a plain old Monday because it’s the start of a new week. The beginning of a new year—a new decade—is just too good to resist. Apologies in advance to all those who don’t share my passion for resolutions. I’m married to one of you, after all, so no offense taken. 

But I hope you’ll read along and let me indulge in some of my grand plans for 2020. 

In my teens and 20s, I paid a lot of attention to goal-setting rituals. I wanted them to be realistic, measurable, and all the good stuff that experts say is necessary for success. Weeks would go by in perfect harmony until that first inevitable day when I couldn’t keep up with the promise I’d made. That, followed by a few more skipped days, and then the eventual giving up, because what’s the point now?

In a way, it was the sheer attainability of those goals that led to the demise of my good intentions. Not only did I stop going for that daily morning run, but because of it, I also somehow started skipping my weekly yoga class, my monthly book club, and everything else that I had resolved to do that year. To me, failing at just one thing was enough of a blow to throw off the entire equilibrium.

Now in my 30s and quickly approaching my 40s, I have a new perspective on goal-setting. I have embraced the fact that I am an adult with shortfalls, one of which is not always being able to keep a promise. That life is so freaking busy with mundane yet necessary tasks that when given the choice, I don’t want to add to it. My only requirement now for setting new resolutions is: Will I enjoy it while it lasts? 

That being said, here is a sampling of some of my resolutions for the year 2020:

  • Illustrate one short-story book each week. (Last year, I had resolved to do something similar, which was to draw one new picture a day. I made it to 46 consecutive days and unintentionally created a portfolio that I used throughout the rest of the year for work purposes.)
  • Practice French for 15 minutes a day. (Last year’s streak lasted 100 days.)
  • Pick one new fancy recipe to try each week. 
  • Take one picture a day of a task or scenario that’s not considered social-media-worthy.
  • Once a week, visit a place I have never been to before.

With this list, I’m reaching for stars that no one doubts are reachable. My life depends on none of these. And this is precisely what I’m hoping will make me stick with them for as long as possible.

Removing the burden and guilt from the equation, as it turns out, can make the process of setting new resolutions more enjoyable. Give it a try. Even if you can spare just 10, 15, or 30 minutes for yourself each day, resolving to fill that time with something that you enjoy will most definitely lead to other good decisions for the rest of the day, week, month, and year.

Here’s to hoping that silliness, creativity, and fun guide you into a happier and healthier life in 2020. Happy New Year, and may the force be with you.  

CHIKA GUJARATHI is a Raleigh-based writer and author of the Hello Namaste! children’s books. Her work can be found on her blog The Antibland Chronicles.

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