Confetti litters the floor. Sweaty bodies meaninglessly sway to an age-old Usher song. Whimsical disco lights occupy every inch of the four surrounding walls. Sparkly miniskirts and silky ties bind. Your heart beats a little faster.
It is time now for everyone’s favorite countdown: 5. 4. 3. 2. 1.
“Happy new year!” the little voice in your head sings. “Happy new year.”
You smile and whisper to yourself. Strangers, friends, strangers who have become friends, and friends who have become strangers, all embrace. Now is a time for us all to accept the past and turn the page, for us to burn the bridges that led to nowhere, to cut the ties that ended in knots. Now is the time for us to whip out the pen and paper, and scribble our personal improvement goals for the upcoming adventure that is 2016.
Now is the time to, once again, make promises to ourselves we have no intention of keeping. But this time, let’s change that.
Here are a few things you can add to the list.
1. Ask “why?”
When we make our list of resolutions, it is imperative that we evaluate and limit them to a do-able amount of things. Before you add something to your list, consider all possibilities. Ask yourself the following questions:
“Is this task or goal reachable?”
“What types of positive effects can this accomplishment have on my life?”
And lastly, “what will be of me if I don’t accomplish this goal?”
Once you have asked yourself these questions, you will likely have crossed off “take a selfie with Amitabh Bachchan” and “climb Mount Everest in stilettos.”
2. Dress the part.
It’s no lie that how we look directly correlates with how we feel. The days I dress like a disgruntled peasant are often the days I feel like one. It is truly important to dress primly, practice general hygiene and time to time, even take some fashion risks. The way we carry ourselves in terms of mannerisms and appearance is a direct reflection of our thoughts and paradigms. So get that spunky haircut and if you’re liking a certain aesthetic, dive right in! Life is too short to dwell in the shadows of who you used to be.
3. Take a trip.
Travel truly opens our eyes. When I toured Europe not too long ago, I realized many things that allowed me to think about life on a more macro level. Traveling lets us test our routines, limits, and ability to accept that sometimes, we just have to go with the flow. Go anywhere: Spain, Portland… maybe even that awesome coffee shop everyone’s been raving about a city away.
4. Tour your town.
Just because your goal may remain the same doesn’t mean your medium has to. If you’re on your way to the farmer’s market on Sundays, as per usual, take a different route. Hit the hotspots in your city you never took the time to visit. Be curious about that vintage thrift shop you see on your daily commute. Go with a friend or go alone…just go in good spirit.
5. Finish those suckers on your bookshelf.
If you’re anything like me, your affection and obsession for books are quite deep. Every trip to Barnes and Noble is like catharsis for me. I can spend hours and hours rummaging through various gems, ranging from science fiction to children’s literature—and perhaps this is why my nightstand has both Malala Yousufzai’s autobiography and an instructional yoga book.
The problem here is that although I hoard books, I rarely find time to read them. Sometimes, I’ll sneak a chapter before bed; other times I’ll wake up to find drool on my copy of “Old Yeller.” This year, relish every book you purchase and dare to lose yourself in the little adventure stacked neatly on your bookshelf.
There is no feeling comparable to the joy of flipping to a fresh page of your journal and pouring your soul out. Journaling, whether little blurbs on the weather or doodles of your devilish ex-boyfriend getting his eyebrows shaved off, is a way to track your thoughts. It is a way to watch yourself grow and open a conversation with your old self, to monitor your progress and channel your feelings—no matter how outrageous or mundane.
7. Do a good deed.
When we get lost in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we often forget about the rest of humanity. Feed your hungry soul by doing a good deed: adopt a sponsor child, refurbish orphanages, or leave roses for the special care unit at the hospital. Do something that’ll serve as an escape from finals, responsibilities, and work. Do something that makes you happy to be alive.
You can never make space for the new unless you rid yourself of the old. So now, clean it all out: your camera roll, closet, spice cabinet, and contact list. Get rid of anything and anyone in your life who has behaved negatively towards you, that you just don’t like having around, or anyone or anything unnecessary that made you feel unwelcome, unwanted, or disrespected. Sometimes, it’s okay to cut ties when people have handed you the scissors far too many times.
So here, dear friend, are things you should not just add to your list, but also, check off on your list of New Year Resolutions. Remember, change is growth, and growth is eternal triumph that shines through even the darkest of voids.